The “ride or die” script is not a positive role to play and we should be wary of this trope. It hurts us in the long run.
By BRITTNEY MADDOX
“All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend,” raps a young Jay-z in the 2003 hit “03 Bonnie and Clyde.” Beyonce sings the hook and goes on to talk about the things she would do to prove her unwavering loyalty. This was played a lot during my childhood along with countless other songs that I remember with this recurring theme of “the ride or die.” The woman who always had your back. She was fly, loyal, and would never snitch. She was an ideal that many sought out or would strive to become.
While at first, it may seem charming to be a woman who fits this archetype, this character often seen in hip hop has its consequences. It fosters a culture that normalizes mistreatment of black women in romantic relationships, where their bodies are in the crossfire of an anti-femme and anti-black climate. Where harming us seems like a punchline.
The older I get, I become more concerned about the ways black women are mistreated and how it’s normalized. There are countless media sources that use misogynoir as a vehicle to justify violence against black femmes. It's so commonplace that we have internalized these messages.
The “ride or die” female archetype commonly seen in hip-hop is constantly sought out due to her loyalty and a high tolerance for abuse. We are unsure who coined the term, but the origins can be traced back through songs. In the “You're all I Need” by Method Man and Mary J Blige, the two talk about their fatal attraction. The chorus laments this “loyalty ‘til death” mentality. “You're all, I need to lie together/cry together/I swear to God I hope we fucking die together.” Method Man says his woman is down to carry his weapons and engage in criminal activities. Charlie Baltimore sings "Cause I'm your bitch, the Bonnie to your Clyde/It's mental, mash your enemies," so the woman in question often has to exhibit a level of trust to put her life on the line.
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