Pot: Hey Kettle?
Kettle: Sup?
Pot: You’re black.

Y’all have really outdone yourselves this time. You’ve managed to take a perfectly good side chick anthem and make it shameful. I am a huge fan of SZA’s latest album, CTRL, because it feels like she’s talking about my life – all the sassy, sappy, shameful things I would never say aloud – and she’s making me feel not-so-weird about them. She makes me feel like a “Normal Girl,” if you will…

I tend to look at other critics’ reviews when I write a glowing review about an album (as I did this one), and everyone else seemed to love the album, too. It was almost perfect – me and my SZA album, sitting in a tree, B-R-O-O-D-I-N-G. And then, like a dark cloud of party-pooper, I started seeing tweets calling SZA a… **gulp**…thot. Apparently, after people caught wind of what “The Weekend” (CTRL’s sixth track) is really about, they went on a SZA-bashing campaign. You see, “The Weekend” is about “sharing” a man who has a girlfriend. Even though they know he has a girl, SZA and a few other women overlook that fact to have a tryst every now and then. SZA sings, “My man is my man is your man/Heard it’s her man, too,” referring to how the man is question jumps from woman to woman. And with all of this information, the Internet decided that scenario makes SZA a thot.

Single, free-to-roam-about-the-planet, carefree black girl SZA is the one who’s wrong in this situation. Amazing.

Now before you roll your eyes in meninist, let me tell you that I am not about to rant about the double standard that “if she were a man y’all would call him a player and celebrate him.” While that is very misogynistically true, I think everyone is overlooking one fact: The man in question is the liar, cheater, and whore in this scenario. Sex positivity aside, if we are going to go ahead and call SZA a whore for sleeping with one man, we are going to have to apply that to the man as well and call him a MEGAWHORE for sleeping around with multiple women. He’s community d*ck. On top of that, he’s in a whole relationship! SZA, however, ain’t cheating on nobody and is openly writing songs to tell the main chick she don’t even want full custody of him. And somehow in the minds of the Internet, as always, the woman is to blame. Everyone is looking at the “homewrecker” and not the “homeowner.”

Let’s be clear: all the parties in this situation except for old dude’s main need their butt kicked. It is wrong to be a cheater and it is wrong to knowingly help someone cheat because “do unto others,” but my point is that we have misplaced the blame in an even bigger way this time. Not only have we overlooked the hypocrisy that we hear in music all the time (how men can sleep around and cheat and it’s celebrated), but we have also blatantly called out the fact that the man in this song is jumping in bed with every woman he sees. Yet we’re still shaming the women! It’s like women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. We cannot be in the submissive position of being passed around nor can we be in the dominant position of doing the passing without being called outside of our names and looked down upon.

I’m sure I don’t have to go into how society has historically held double standards for women, because the pay wage gap, the “glass ceilings,” and “boys’ clubs” aren’t going anywhere. What I wonder is, what role does a woman have in music, in terms of sex, where she is celebrated? I mean, we have women in music being criticized for holding out and not being “freaks” (à la Kanye telling his girl she’s gotta prove his man wrong), and we even had Ludacris asking to be “paid back” for a girl’s acceptance into VIP at a club. In a world where celibacy isn’t celebrated and neither is sexual freedom, what are the options? In this climate, is it really a wonder that Amber Rose posted a picture baring her vagina on Instagram? Or that artists like Kehlani and SZA are throwing out the traditional idea of a “lady” altogether? It shouldn’t shock you that there are women who are so fed up that they are flat out rebelling.

Maybe you have to be an older artist, like Janet Jackson, to be so fetishized that you can continue to express your sexuality freely in your music without the Internet calling you names. Whatever the case may be, until the music industry and its consumers accept that the genders of the characters in songs like “The Weekend” are easily interchangeable, and that men and women are doing the same things out here in these streets, music will continue to be another painful reminder that we still hold some many of the same oppressive prejudices as the generations before us. Perhaps, our society has not progressed as far as we thought.

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