Action Bronson vs. The City of Toronto

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PHOTO — Jeremy D. Larson

Ariyan Arslani, more commonly known as Action Bronson, is a Queens, New York rapper that has been turning heads lately, with both his major-label debut album, Mr. Wonderful, released in late March, as well as a not-so-recent song entitled Consensual Rape, released in 2011.

As you guys may have heard, Bronson was scheduled to headline one of NXNE‘s traditional Yonge-Dundas Square performances in mid June and was challenged in late May by Erica Shiner, a Torontonian and apparent grammar cop with a petition made on Change.Org, a petitioning and signature-gathering website.

When I first heard of the petition, my initial reaction was to laugh it off. I thought that there wouldn’t be enough signatures to escalate the situation because the song being challenged was way too old to be relevant and that his show would be 100 times better because of it. I took to Twitter to check Action Bronsons page for a comment on the matter and was greeted with this:

A few days later, I was watching the news and was presented with a follow-up story about the Easy Rider rapper. Intrigued, I kept watching until eventually, my smile faded into a straight face: The petition made by Ms. Shiner gathered 30, 000 signatures, urging NXNE to bow down and pull Action Bronson from the bill of their free artist showcase at YDS.

How could the city of Toronto—a place so enriched in flavor and hip-hop culture—allow something like this to happen? Look, I get it. A segment of Bronson’s lyrics from Consensual Rape, the track under fire, seem kind of fucked up. However, the lyrics hardly “glorify” gang rape and are simply a fictional chronicle constructed for the sole purpose of entertainment. To say that Bronson “glorifies” gang rape is the equivalent of saying that Dance With The Devil by Immortal Technique glorifies incestuous rape (listen to it and wait until the end, you’ll know what I mean).

In order for one to truly label the Acting Crazy rapper as misogynistic, one must first research him and envelop themselves into his work, studying it closely for any other instances of “hate speech.” It goes without saying that Action Bronson has matured and grown as an artist, as well as a human being. Being an avid listener of five years, I can attest to this.

Something that’s even more frustrating than Action Bronson’s 2015 performance being axed is that Bronson is no stranger to NXNE. In the summer of 2012, the Queens native took the very stage he was scheduled to rock in June and was met with no uproar or hint of detestation. I can’t comprehend how he was allowed to perform here before (just one year after releasing Consensual Rape) but is not allowed to perform here, yet again, on the same stage in 2015.

Action Bronson is a man that’s nothing but respectful to women, as seen in his many interviews. He’s a man that’s integral to the confidence and demeanor of many long time fans, including myself, spreading body positivity through songs like Ronnie Coleman, a song about his eating habits and how he’s come to terms with them. He’s handed out thousands of dollars worth of electronics at his Christmas-time performances such as iPads and full 50″ television sets.

Action Bronson throwing a flat screen television into the crowd at one of his performances.

Action Bronson throwing a flat screen television into the crowd at one of his performances.

Sure, Bronsoliño’s raps may offend some, but it comes down to a preventative measure that’s as simple as avoiding his music and twitter feed while you’re on the internet, as well as not attending his performances if you don’t like the way he acts. I will remain an avid listener of Bronson until the day I perish and I hope that anybody that’s never heard of Bam-Bam before this entire ordeal does some unbiased research on him before forming a concrete opinion. Listen to some of his more current music, try and see a show if you can, and watch some of his interviews to get a better idea of who he really is. Watch him spread good body vibes via a pre-performance speech before performing Ronnie Coleman live, below:

1 comment

  1. TKTK

    Dude, no. You use every lame argument in the book. It’s embarrassing.

    ‘the lyrics hardly “glorify” gang rape and are simply a fictional chronicle of sorts constructed for the sole purpose of entertainment’

    You are under the impression that people who don’t like him don’t understand music? The concept of rape culture isn’t people assuming all media about rape is going to make people go out and rape, or is based on true events, but that it’s normalizing sexual assault and misogyny, both reflecting and reinforcing it in culture (which, if you’ve been paying attention for the last 30 years, is Toronto culture).

    ‘NXNE scrapped his spot on the bill because of a public uproar, yet the same people have no issue with the staff of NXNE hosting a contest in which you can win a fleshlight modelled after and signed by porn star Lisa Ann (who, for the record, has done the same things on camera that Bronson rapped about in his controversial song, Consensual Rape). ‘

    The irony here is that you can’t seem to understand consent. It’s a bit like the release after NXNE. The flipside of, say, assaulting and murdering a woman isn’t feminism. This sin’t an agree to disagree thing. And a woman consenting to someone – in her own voice – is not the same as being used as a prop.

    Also, saying that other people are just as bad or worse? Not a great argument, ever. Not even for the Pope.

    ‘Why not channel all of this motivation and energy into creating awareness and taking action about some of the major issues facing Canadians today, there are so many worthy causes. ‘

    Dude, this is maybe the worst one, because it gets trotted out all the time (and always by the people in power). Rape culture and misogyny ARE real issues. They permeate every aspect of women’s lives. Just pause and reflect for one second what it’s like for women in Toronto (and everywhere) this past year. I for one have heard over 100 stories of assault and workplace harassment, thanks to the Ghomeshi case. And the FHRITP thing the other week, and some juvenile reactions to it? More proof that women’s lives come last, compared to a stupid joke, or a lame song. Because art!

    ‘Action Bronson is a man that’s nothing but respectful to women, as seen in his many interviews.’

    Yeah, this means nothing. Absolutely nothing. There is actual, like, super great evidence that he’s not respectful to women. He’s even made some songs and videos to support it! We don’t even have to read his diary. If you simply mean that he doesn’t beat women (and wants a cookie), well, I don’t know what to say. Maybe true? He certainly delighted in humiliating a trans woman, on his Instagram, so there’s that. Perhaps he is a feminist through and through, and his art says otherwise because… reasons. But here’s a hot tip: Most abusers don’t hit you on the first date. Being friends with a guy, as another guy, doesn’t mean you know him. Watching an interview with him certainly doesn’t mean shit. That you would suggest that it does makes this terrible piece that much more laughable.

    Honestly, look at what you’re clinging to. Reflect on why this means more to you than women’s wishes and fears and real lives. And try to figure out when you last supported women’s voices, rather than pointing to something more important they should be concentrating on.

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