Lil Wayne’s “How to Love” from forthcoming “Tha Carter IV” is the rapper at his most emo. And now Weezy’s launched an official music video that matches.
The slow-jammer is a lamentation that a “beautiful” girl has never known love; and because she hasn’t, our protagonist in the video endures abuse and rape; signs up for an abortion and then skips out; she “dates” evil men, becomes a stripper and then has sex for money. SPOILER ALERT: she gets HIV.
Then the scenario gets a rewind. It begins again and ends in rainbows.
It’s a moral tale, one hardly even approachable in under five minutes, and I’d argue it’s one that Weezy is unfit to present.
My problem with this patronizing garbage is that simplifies the cycle of abuses toward women into one aching, arching worst-case scenario. And at the center: if the woman had originally learned “how to love” from her mother (read: had a healthy marriage to a man), none of this would have ever happened. The central character’s self-worth was regularly degraded by her departed father, her abusive boyfriends and by men who only view her as a sex object.
And in the alternate scenario, you can tell the woman’s become a good girl because she gets an education, gets married and has a baby (note: sex for reproduction).
It’s offensive not because I don’t thing people can’t see past the pageantry, but because it’s simple pandering and to detrimental effect. Serial objectification and a ritual tearing-down of women is a regular feature in pop culture, and there are many, many Lil Wayn songs that treat women as mere sex objects (hell, I like Lil Wayne songs, and that’s for another day…). But the moralizing would have been more honest if Wayne “sang” his little song from the front row of that fateful strip club — considering that’s where he’s localized his other tracks — as opposed to his sad-sacking from a dark hallway next to a guitar.
Or maybe I’m just missing Lil Wayne’s point: if the lady had known a good man like him, she wouldn’t be in this mess. Because Lil Wayne knows how to love. Even then? The acting sucks.
“Tha Carter IV’ is out on Monday.