Action Bronson’s set was recently pulled from Canada’s upcoming NXNE festival (North By Northeast), thanks to a petition of over 40,000 signatures showing disdain for Bronson’s often sexist and violent subject matter. As an avid Action Bronson fan and a woman, I agree with this decision.
His songs often have much more than a bar or two about women serving him food and sexual favors, so it makes sense why some Toronto residents don’t want him performing at a free, government-funded, all-ages event.
A woman named Erica Shiner started the petition to remove Bronson from the line-up due to his violent and sexually abusive attitude towards women. The NXNE directors and the city of Toronto quickly jumped on board, canceling Bronson’s set due to a responsibility to listen to the desires of the community.
Representatives from NXNE said this in their official statement:
“We are heartened by the community engagement that has been taking place around this YDS show. This debate continues an important conversation about violence against women and its depiction in art and culture that is long overdue.”
As a woman, it’s hard being an Action Bronson fan. It’s hard sometimes being a fan of any rapper, for that matter.
Are all of his songs on all of his albums over-sexualized, violent, and sexist?
And being someone that fell in love with rap’s lyrical concepts and complexities, I appreciate the diss tracks, the unapologetically lavish persona Bronson presents, the Queens accent he raps with, and the signature food metaphors he cleverly weaves into each track.
But Bronson’s lyrics, while smooth, poetic, and humorous, are too vivid. I can appreciate lyricism as a craft, but as a woman I have to draw the line when he raps literal depictions of rape, explicit sexual acts, and other violence toward women that most other rappers only imply in their songs.
In the past, rappers like 50 Cent and Rick Ross have had their true personas exposed, showing the whole world they’re not the violent gangsters their songs claim they are. But Bronson’s lyrics feel different — there’s something about the seriousness in his delivery that makes me wonder if he means it. I wonder if the real Action Bronson is the repulsive, threatening, woman hating creature his character as a rapper represents.
I can’t help but cringe at songs like “Consensual Rape,” where Bronson drops lines like:
“Then dig your shorty out cuz I geeked her up on molly/ Have her eating dick, no need for seasoning/ If seven dudes are in the room then she’s pleasing them/ Like a trooper/ Hit her in the pooper/ Throw her in the shower, then I take her out to Lupa.”
The fact that he named the song “Consensual Rape” is a perfect display of his hyper-literal approach to presenting himself as an artist, but an approach even some of the most ruthless, demeaning rappers in the game haven’t even jumped on board with.
Being an Action Bronson fan and a woman is sometimes conflicting. While I appreciate artistry in its most honest forms and don’t believe in censoring creative expression, I find it hard to support someone who so overtly perpetuates the continual subordination of women.