Popular rapper Eminem and the musical group Odd Future both made headlines this week, spurring debates over the portrayal of domestic violence in the media, specifically through lyrics and music videos.
Music Video Prompts Worry
Eminem released the video for his latest single, “Space Bound,” online June 27. The video takes the viewer through the escalation of anger into violence and eventually murder as Eminem copes with discovering that his girlfriend cheated on him. Having realized what he’s done, Eminem commits a graphic suicide at the end of the video.
The new single also presents aggressive, violent lyrics including, “I’m trying to stop you from breathing/I put both hands on your throat […]‘ til I snap your neck like a Popsicle stick.” The violent imagery and lyrics have prompted outcry from Mothers Against Violence, a British nonprofit, who have called publicly declared the rapper “evil” and “selfish.”
The song’s producer Jim Jonsin defended the video to the press. “People kill themselves, people get killed, they kill other people,” Jonsin clarified to MTV News. “When my kids watch it, I like to explain to them in that manner: ‘It’s like a movie, ya know? He isn’t really killing himself.’”
Eminem has earned negative press before with his previous portrayals of domestic violence. The video for the 2010 hit song “Love the Way You Lie,” in which Eminem collaborated with Rihanna, featured a similarly hostile and abusive relationship between Dominic Monaghan and costar Megan Fox.
Festival Selection Mobilizes Chicago Activists
Pitchfork released the line-up of their summer music festival on June 22th, which includes controversial California-based indie rap group Odd Future. Odd Future has been condemned by several anti-domestic violence and LGBTQ groups, especially since the release of frontman Tyler the Creator’s crude album Goblin earlier this year. With lyrics deemed too vulgar for The Late Show and multiple Twitter feuds with various musicians, Odd Future has garnered a lot of criticism.
Pitchfork’s endorsement of Odd Future has empowered Chicago-based domestic violence groups to voice their concerns. Between Friends, a domestic violence agency providing counseling, court advocacy, prevention and education efforts, has announced that they will be present at Pitchfork Festival to provide another perspective to concertgoers about the content of Odd Future’s music.
Between Friends issued a statement (full message available here) regarding their July 17th protest intentions. “While we don’t agree with this, it is their art, and we’d like to offer a counterpoint and continue to help people that are being affected by the violence they describe.”
Between Friends has printed 5,000 cardboard hand fans featuring educational information about domestic violence and resources to get help. The group described their goal as the following. “The result will be a sea of fans cooling down concertgoers while, hopefully, getting them discussing the issue and knowing where to turn for help.”