The Vagenda

I Have Major Feminist Beef With Usher’s Latest Song and This is Why

Usher has brought us some classics – U-Turn, U Got It Bad, Yeah – and I am not ashamed to admit that my sister and I took the time to learn the words and any relevant dance routines to these songs. Outside of his work, he has also gifted the world with his wisdom on the topics of appearance and a woman’s role in his life: “Appearance is something you should definitely consider when you’re going out. Have your girlfriend clip your nails or something like that.

So it stands to reason that I was excited to learn that he had released a new song. An artist of his calibre and track-record was surely going to come up with a banger to listen to in the comfort of a private session on Spotify.

I Don’t Mind” is about Usher’s girlfriend being a stripper. We’ve been here before – Wyclef Jean told us back in 2000 on ‘Perfect Gentleman’ all about how he had to call up his mama to tell her he was in love with a stripper (yo).  T-Pain followed and told us in his, er, dulcet tones that he too had suffered the same fate and had fallen in love with a stripper.

Usher’s message on his version is that he really doesn’t mind about her career choice. Maybe he’s been keeping an eye on the modern feminist movement and wanted to get in on the sex positive action or maybe confidence just isn’t an issue for this guy. All just wild speculation of course, but one thing is for sure – he does not mind one bit. No siree. Not this guy. Or does he?

Shawty, I don’t mind If you dance on a pole
That don’t make you a ho
Shawty, I don’t mind when you work until three
If you’re leaving with me
Go make that money, money, money
Your money, money, money
Cause I know how it is, go and handle your biz
And get that money, money, money
Your money, money, money
You can take off your clothes
Long as you coming home, girl, I don’t mind

Whilst it is encouraging that Usher does know that the money his shawty is making from doing her job is in fact HER money, he feels the need to remind us 3 times in a space of 34 seconds that he doesn’t mind. As this hook is repeated throughout the song, he actually says ‘I don’t mind’ 15 times in total. Thou doth protest too much, Usher?

The ballers in here tonight, they gon’ buy a hundred bottles
As soon as you shake it I know they gon’ make it colossal in here
Cause shawty you thinkin’ them tricks that you do with your body
Got all of these niggas they crowding around you like they seen Beyonce in here
You want your own and you need your own, baby, who am I to judge?
Cause how could I ever trip about it when I met you in the club?
I make enough for the both of us, but you dance anyway
You know I was raised in the A

Of course Usher can’t judge her for the very thing that caused him to fall in love with her! That would be wrong. I’m sure the guys in the A appreciate that. It does seem a shame though, that he has to point out that despite how good (/colossal) she is at her job, he STILL makes more money than her. The struggle is real, Usher. Don’t be that guy.

When you get off of work I’ll be ready to go in the ‘Rari
And when we get home we’ll have us our own private party in here
So I don’t worry at all about the things they do or say
I love you anyway
You can twerk it while in a split, you racking up them tips
Your body rock and your booty poppin’, I’m proud to call you my bitch
They be lookin’, but they can’t touch you, shawty, I’m the only one to get it
So just go ahead and keep doing what you do, do it

Usher’s so chivalrous, picking his girl up from work in his car. His ‘Rari, actually. You know, the super expensive fancy sports car that you can only buy if you earn loads of money. That one.  Anyway, after spending hours on her feet, I’m sure the only thing his bitch really wants is an after party. Usher’s just a great guy, don’t worry about it.

Juicy J has been desperate to chime in up until now, randomly shouting ‘MIND/OKAY/YOUR BODY’ and now is his time to shine with his own verse:

I’m just tryna cut her up, tryna bust a nut
Tryna take somebody bitch, turn her to a slut
Tryna fill my cup, tryna live it up
Throw some hundreds on that ass, walk her out the club
(Yeah, ho) Lap dance for the first date
Bet I threw a few bands, that’s third base
It’s okay if you work late, we can still party like it’s your birthday
We can still party hard in your birthday suit
Knock that pussy out the park like my name Babe Ruth
Shawty she just want a tip, I just want to see her strip
If you fuck me like you love me shawty you might get rich
Have her own cake, her own place, blow her own gas, no role’
When we in the bed she like to roleplay, tell her friend to join in both ways

Cor. I just feel like Juicy’s killing the vibe here. Usher’s trying to show his sensitive side about his bitch’s career choice but Juicy just comes in all brash about it. Maybe it’s that Juicy is also confused about Usher’s position on this matter – even though he’s been told a number of times now that dancing on a pole doesn’t make her a ho, Juicy goes ahead and just straight up calls her a ho. It seems unfair to demand the very thing she does for a living on the first date; but this is coming from a guy that uses a baseball player who’s been dead for 66 years as a point of sexual reference.

I think it’s safe to say that Usher might not be the progressive, modern feminist he once thought he was. And the worst part? You can’t even dance to it.

- Katie Chodosh

12 thoughts on “I Have Major Feminist Beef With Usher’s Latest Song and This is Why

  1. I think most people would appreciate being picked up in a Ferrari. I’m a dude, I’ve never really been into Usher’s music (to each their own), but even I would hop in a Ferrari with him if he came to pick me up from work. Just sayin’…

  2. You know I have often felt this about most rap songs, but this one is disgusting, honestly. I was horrified to read these lyrics. Why why why isn’t such stuff written about a man? Men like Usher are no feminists – gross.

  3. This has possibly been the funniest thing I’ve read today. I imagine Usher asking Juicy to write a rap “about a lady choosing her own career that I DEFINITELY DO NOT HAVE A PROBLEM WITH to show my soft side innit”, and not listening to it properly before he recorded it and it went public.
    My imagination is usually distinctly different from the truth though.
    But hey ho.

  4. If I have to choose a part of this song I’d rather go for Juicy J – at least he’s honest.
    He’s telling us/her exactly what he thinks instead of trying to make it seem like he doesn’t mind. ^^ This kind of music makes me a little sick…

  5. Despite disliking this song for most of its lyrics, I disagree with the point made about him “earning more money” being an issue. We have no indication of how much she earns – which may be indeed just as much if not more – and I don’t see why it is wrong for a partner (male or female) wanting to provide for their other half out of care. Feminism is about equality. Had the woman offered to provide for her partner I bet it wouldn’t be seen as an issue.

  6. I know. When I heard this song I was pissed. Really, Usher? This article is dead on. I’ve liked a bunch of Usher’s more romantic ballads or R & B songs and he’ll likely distance female fans with this piece of crap. Plus he’s also insulting his girlfriend when he basically says she cannot touch Beyonce looks-wise. What a pig, the song sucks. Great article.

  7. Whilst I’m not particularly a fan of the song, I think being upset at his repeating that he doesn’t mind 15 times is a bit reactionary. That’s the name AND the chorus of the song, its repeating is for song-structure reasons…

  8. why is it that she has to be a stripper to be making money… she can’t be a ceo? and it’s actually her ‘Rari that hes picking her up in?

  9. It most definitely would be a problem because then men would complain about how we would be ‘emasculating’ them.
    For awhile now, adult males and females have very different roles within the family.
    Males = instrumental know getting the money to provide for his family?
    Females = expressive know, the emotional work, caring for her children and husband
    If a woman ever was to mention about how much more money she makes than her (male) partner, PEOPLE WOULD FLIP SHIT.
    *men would flip shit
    Men have so much pride in their ‘manhood’ and to be a man would be to earn more money, supposedly. That’s why men still earn more in the workplace despite legislation!

    Men would be embarrassed if a woman said this.

  10. A lot of people think that this song is empowering for women. They definitely should read this article as it is dead on.
    When I first listened to this song, I was slightly impressed when I heard the first verse since it goes against ‘slut shaming’ and says that career is something a woman can choose and they shouldn’t be judged for it.
    However as I listen on I realised the objectifying nature of this song. However, this is objectifying with a twist – that twist being the illusion of feminism.
    He makes references to her body/appearance a lot, and degrades her in a subtle way (when he casually throws in there that he makes more money ‘lol but I DONT MIND!’) and basically says that he doesn’t mind as long as she fucks him.
    This is modern sexism. Instead of seeing women as sex objects, he is seeing them as ‘sex objects that may have an income’ (*ahem* still making less money than usher, but he doesn’t mind.)

  11. I completely agree especially with your last comments. I feel as a woman feminism today is not making positive changes unlike the feminist movements decades ago. If anything it is creating a lot of hostility.