When sometime rapper Fabolous — whose peak fame was back in the late 1990s and early aughts, and wasn’t revived until his longtime partner Emily Bustamante (also known as Emily B) was on the inaugural season of Love and Hip-Hop: New York — was caught on camera threatening his long-time partner with a gun — in front of her father and her brother no less — people thought that he would be confined to the pariah heap with the likes of folks like Chris Brown, R. Kelly, Woody Allen, Harvey Weinstein, and other men whose toxic masculinity resulted in them feeling the justified wrath of a collective Time’s Up and #MeToo movement that have ended their careers.
Yet, the “Holla Back” rapper is somehow enjoying a newfound level of success and is even getting rewarded with a whole galvanized online movement that has rushed to his defense.
The Grapevine reports that Fabolous has been charged with aggravated assault and making terrorist threats after TMZ’s video featuring the altercation went viral. In the video, Fabolous can be seen screaming at Emily B (who tries to run away several times and lets out blood-curdling screams each time) as a child screams and cries in the background. Emily’s father, who came to the house after his daughter asked him to remove some guns from the home (as, evidently, she was afraid that Fabolous was going to use them on her), can be seen telling the rapper that he is a “coward” and to “get away from his daughter.”
Fabolous, in response, brandishes a gun in Emily’s father’s face while swearing like a sailor.
Just off this description alone, folks, what is there to defend Fabolous against? How can these actions, alone — let alone as part and parcel of a larger picture of a system of violent domestic abuse — merit any sort of defense from any sort of online cabal?
— Fabolous (@myfabolouslife) December 19, 2017
The Grio goes one step further, pointing out that Fabolous hit Emily B so hard, and so many times, that he knocked out her two front teeth. He also ran after her with a baseball bat and even threatened to kill her (though he later clarified his point and said that he “didn’t want to go out like that,” it remains to be seen what the “like that” is referring to).
And he capped this entire horror show off by telling Emily — the mother of his children, and in front of said children — that “there was a bullet with her name on it” in his possession.
What “other side of the story” do you need to hear?
Writing for the Grio, Dustin Seibert takes extreme exception to the online cabal of Fabolous defenders, pointing out that unless Emily B was coming at Fabolous with a flame-thrower, there was no reason he needed to knock her teeth out, let alone do everything else that he’d been threatening to do. What’s more, it defies logic to know that people sincerely believe that Emily B is “orchestrating” this entire “takedown” of Fabolous for money, even though Fabolous hasn’t had a hit record since Sidekicks were a thing, and even at his peak, he was a country mile away from the wealth that the likes of Diddy, Jay-Z, and 50 Cent have all amassed.
“Fab is built like Captain America before the Super Serum, but he still has grown-man strength that shouldn’t be wielded toward a woman unless she’s coming at him with a weapon with an expressed intent to maim or kill. If you wonder where you’ve encountered this cognitive dissonance before, it was nine years ago when Chris Brown threw fists at Rihanna in a vehicle. Even if Rihanna did swing on Brown first, there was precisely zero justification for him to use his full-a** man-strength to rearrange her face. But Brown apologists looking for a reason to keep listening to his music still ask, ‘But, what if Rihanna hit first?’ Like, grow up, fam.”
— Emily B (@EmilyB) November 1, 2013
Writing for Very Smart Brothas, Damon Young goes one step further and points out that the people defending Fabolous don’t necessarily like the rapper — they just hate women in general, and women of color in particular.
It didn’t escape this writer’s notice — and neither did it escape Young’s notice — that, in addition to trotting out the anti-feminist “gold-digger” trope against Emily B, many of Fabolous’s defenders were quick to claim that “Spanish chicks be crazy, B,” thereby not only insulting Emily B’s LatinX heritage, but justifying Fabolous’s disgusting acts of violence (that, it bears repeating, earned him a terrorism charge — putting him, in the eyes of the law, on the same level as the 9/11 attackers).
And these attacks all stem from misogyny and toxic masculinity.
“The people who are in Facebook threads defending Fab or on StubHub buying tickets for R. Kelly shows are invested in a system that requires women to be devalued. We should know by now that this system exists in symbiosis with a system that requires black people to be devalued. And we should know by now that ‘Let’s wait for the facts’ and ‘We need to hear both sides’ and ‘If she’s in danger, why doesn’t she just leave?’ are euphemistic ways of saying, ‘That b***h deserved it.'”
— Fabolous (@myfabolouslife) November 26, 2017
It’s time to stop doing somersaults in mid-air to defend men who beat up women. It’s time to stop supporting a system that devalues women in general, and women of color in particular, with your hard-earned money. It’s time to stop the “what about”-ism, the “why doesn’t she just leave”-ism, and most especially the “b***hes be crazy, fam”-ism that’s pervasive in modern pop culture. It’s time to stop making claims that men are “so gangsta,” yet mere words are enough to provoke violence — that’s not “gangsta,” that’s punk. It’s time to stop condoning and excusing toxic masculinity.
It’s time to stop defending Fabolous, and men like him, once and for all.