Archive for Misogyny

The Alan Partridge of Hip Hop

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 5, 2009 by Jack

Alan Partridge

OK, the time has come to say something. Tim Westwood is an embarassment to anyone who supports hip hop and related musics in the UK.

But we already knew that. The man who was literally the role model for Ali G has been derided for a long time. But since BBC digital radio station 1xtra restructured their schedule, he is now on EVERY week day at dinnertime.

Yeah baby! :s

For those that don’t know, 52 year old son of a Church of England Bishop, and former public school boy, Tim Westwood was for many years the only DJ on legal radio playing hip hop in the UK. Where I grew up in rural Scotland his show was the only way to hear new hip hop (no broadband in those days!) I used to listen to his show regularly, but even as an adolescent his persona made me feel deeply uncomfortable.

Put simply, Westwood’s show has always been driven by a really unpleasantly sleazy approach to women. He gets women on the line to perv on them, and celebrates misogynist records at every opportunity.

This picture is just made of wrong

Now there has of course been a long and complex debate about what if any causal relationship you can show between sexist music and sexist behaviour in general. And there have historically been some really reactionary groups that have attempted to suppress hip hop on these grounds when in fact they were motivated by racist or other ulterior motives.

But I’m not interested actually here in the music that Westwood plays-his dinnertime show works off the 1xtra daytime playlist as far as I can see anyway. Im not even writing about his constant harassment of female 1xtra newsreaders.

The reason I’ve been building up to writing something like this for the past couple of weeks is because of the seemingly tireless work Timothy has decided to undertake in favour of violence against women.

Specifically, virtually every day on his show he talks about Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna. Often he’s been doing this whilst on the line with women who have been selected to be chatted up by him/tell him how hot he is etc.

The first time I heard this he used a formula along the lines of “What he did was unforgivable but we forgive him because we have forgiving hearts.” This was accompanied by him talking at length about Chris Brown’s tracks and other things he’s publicly done to try and get back together with Rihanna.

However, this week it stepped up a gear, with Westwood reeatedly telling women on the line about how he dressed up as Chris Brown for Halloween, and went to a party “with a girl who painted a black eye on”. He really was revelling in this.

And yesterday Jimmy Carr, a comedian well known for his class and racial hatred, with constant talk about “chavs” and “gypsies”, joined him on the show, and revealed his love for Westwood’s radio programmes going back to the 80’s. (Why does this not surprise me?) Despite trying to cover himself afterwards by calling Rihanna’s behaviour positive, Carr’s opening comment on the topic was “I’ve been in one of those cars, there’s not room to do much in the back, maybe a back hand slap.”

Westwood then went on to say that Rihanna was only discussing what happened to her now because she has an album to sell.

What’s the point of repeating all this, why don’t I just switch off? Well for one thing I have already decided after last night to completely boycott his show, I’m listening to BBC Asian Network while I cook now.

But the point is that there are no nuances here. Westwood is not “representing” for real social conditions where he came from or anything like that. His show, which goes out to a mass audience every day, is straight up justifying and excusing violence against women, in other words tacitly encouraging it.

In the headline of this post I called him the Alan Partridge of hip hop, because the way he puts himself across is constantly cringe worthy and frankly embarassing to listen to. But althought the Partridge character was definitely a misogynist, if he were real he never would have had the influence and power that Tim Westwood has within youth culture in the UK. Although many regard him as a joke, it doesn’t change the fact that thousands of young men will have listened to his show this week and heard that it’s basically OK to beat their girlfriends.

Celebrity lifestyle news of corporate pop creations isn’t usually what I’m that interested in discussing here. But Chris Brown’s assault on Rihanna in fact has become an important moment for discussion of issues that rarely get talked about in entertainment culture, and the fact that there is by some figures an orchestrated camaign to get Chris Brown “forgiven” can hardly be an accident. Aspects of male social power have been challenged by the whole affair, and some have reacted by closing the ranks. Tim Westwood seems to be leading the charge in the UK.

Westwood on top form

This man has no place in a job where he has mass influence, or a salary paid by the public. Whatever we can do to get him off air (and maybe Ace and Vis, who did a dinnertime show I really enjoyed, back), let’s do it. Positive suggestions as to how we achieve this welcome!

Tim Westwood and the joy of pointing.

Westwood is a twat.