In the spring of 2000, Jay Z released his hit single "Big Pimpin'", the song which would become an anthem for professional and aspiring pimps everywhere. But a decade after he penned the poster song for the glorification of pimp culture, Jay Z has expressed serious regret at exactly what his song might be promoting. In a interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jay Z reflected on the lyrics he has written throughout his illustrious music career. He said,
Some [lyrics] become really profound when you see them in writing. Not "Big Pimpin." That's the exception. It was like, I can't believe I said that. And kept saying it. What kind of animal would say this sort of thing? Reading it is really harsh.
Like many mature artists reflecting on their early success, Jay Z has a point. They lyrics of "Big Pimpin'" are both harsh and animalistic in their treatment of women, especially women in prostitution. The song is perhaps the epitome of the glorification of pimps, the eroticization of a man who owns and completely controls a woman, and the normalization of pimping and abusive prostitution as integral not only to hip-hop culture, but mainstream American culture as well.
Jay Z now has the chance to bring hip-hop back to its roots of celebrating freedom and stand against pimping and exploitation by donating the proceeds from his pimp anthem to one or more organizations serving women and children who have been abused, exploited, raped, sold, and trafficked by pimps.
As you may know, over 100,000 American children are forced into prostitution each year, the vast majority of which are sold and controlled by pimps. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the average age of entry into prostitution in the U.S. is now 12 for girls and 11 for boys. Pimps sell children over the Internet, at truck stops, out of brothels, and on street corners around the country. Child sex trafficking and the pimping of children is becoming an epidemic in the U.S., and it's an epidemic you can fight.
Music that glorifies pimps and pimping, degrades women and girls, and normalizes abuse in the commercial sex industry makes it easier for pimps to recruit and exploit tweens and teens out of middle schools and high schools. As a popular and talented artist, your music has a direct effect on those listening to it, and can either contribute to or combat the sexual exploitation of children by pimps.
I'm asking you to stand up for America's children and their right to be free from rape, exploitation, and abuse in the commercial sex industry. Please make a commitment to donate the profits from "Big Pimpin'" to an organization which fights the abuse and exploitation of children by pimps. Then, please write a song which focuses on empowering young girls and women to achieve outside of the commercial sex industry.
By doing these two things, you can help protect children raped and abused by pimps across the country and prevent more kids from falling victim to the same fate.