Applaud Angel Haze for Rapping About Her Rape

October 25th, 2012

(Photo: John Ricard / BET)

By Arielle Loren

The first time I heard Eminem’s “Cleaning Out My Closet,” my stomach churned a bit as his anger, incensement and fury poured into each of his lyrics. That was almost ten years ago, and now my stomach is responding the same way to rookie rapper Angel Haze’s remix of the track. Explicitly laying out the countless times that she had been raped since she was 10 years old, the MC has catalyzed an intimate relationship with her listeners and created a space for an important dialogue.

Haze was violated in every way from forced sexual intercourse in both her vagina and anus to fearing her rapist so much that she would give him oral sex upon request. She details the way she would some times bleed in her lower parts and how the horrific sexual relationship impacted her future relationships. Fearing men, she gravitated toward dating women, but felt the need to neglect her appearance so that she wouldn’t be attractive or attract any additional unwanted attention.

Unfortunately, when her family did find out about her rapist, they didn’t do much. Thus, the hip hop artist suffered and had to facilitate her own healing. Speaking of which, the graphic nature of Haze’s “Cleaning Out My Closet” is an opportunity for listeners who have also experienced rape and other sexual violations to know that their stories are important and that they have done nothing wrong. If hip hop is about storytelling, then Haze has taken it to the next level, putting her truths out there and using it to help other victims heal and tell their stories.

At the very least, Angel’s story has captured the attention of the hip hop community, and continues to go viral to more listeners across the web. But I like to think that her bravery, outspoken lyrics and clear talent to transform a life shattering experience into art are what deserve the applause. That and the fact that she’s still standing after repeated violation makes me a fan more than ever, even if she never makes a song this deep again.

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