By Brittney Chieng
Who knew cultural ignorance could lead me to a bigger picture?
Earlier this year, I threw a violent hate fest whenever I heard Justin Timberlake on the radio–dramatic huffing of nostrils, switching of stations and spitting of spite. suit n tie? sh** tied???! s*** n **IT, JAY-TEE, s*** n S***!!!! I was infuriated. Infuriated at how Timberlake croons about ‘love swinging in the air tonight’ but seconds later, says to his lil missy, “Get off your seat, hoe.”
This is where my ignorance comes into play. After a mini Beyonce/Jay-Z phase two weeks ago, I realized Jay-Z announces himself in a song by calling himself HOV. Lo and behold, it’s after JT’s “Get off your seat, Ho(v)” that Jay-Z rappity rap raps.
corner of shame
I didn’t know this earlier in the year. Spare me, you sassy people. For some inexplicable reason, I targeted JT and his song (extreme reverence for words and this [overplayed] song melding into my life at the same time.. blah blah..) Naturally, I inquired about it with my peers. Perhaps I was too passionate in my spheel but there were times when people confirmed JT said, “hoe,” yet I received empty stares, apathetic shrugs, an end to conversation and that was that. There was one afternoon exception. Expressing myself too loudly in class one day, girls sitting behind me detected the beloved JT name and piped up in curiosity. I turned to them with my question, “Does JT really say hoe before the rap part?” to which they gave it some thought and nodded. Confirmed again in my belief, I shared what I thought was obvious repulsion, “…How dare he call her love one moment and hoe the next… right??” Without missing a beat, one mumbled dismissal while the other asserted, “So what? He’s hot.”
He’s… hot? Shocked, I didn’t know what to say or think. I reoriented back to staring in bewildered disbelief at my desk.