Amber Rose: Hip-Hop’s Joan of Arc
The feminist activist has come under fire for gold digging-adjacent comments she made, but Rose remains a powerful, rebellious voice in the fight against hip-hop misogyny.
This week, much like every week, was a great week to be Amber Rose.
On Monday night, the primordial “rap guy’s girlfriend” returned to her humble origins at L.A.’s Ace of Diamonds gentlemen’s club. The former stripper, who literally wrote the book on being a bad bitch, didn’t disappoint. From her Rose McGowan-of-South-Philly-esque sheer mesh dress to her rack of singles, Rose even gave Drake, hip-hop’s reigning patron saint of strippers, a run for his money.
But being a boss bitch isn’t all lucrative strip club hostess gigs and boozy brunches with Sheryl Sandberg and Sophia Amoruso. On Wednesday, Amber came under fire for a controversial Time interview, during which the former paramour of Kanye West and Wiz Khalifa explained, “As women, we’re fortunate enough to use our seductive skills in order to be able to get money from our significant others... A lot of women don’t know how to seduce a man. It is extremely easy once you get to that point, and you can get anything you want out of them. And I know it might sound messed up, but once you get to that point, it’s not using. It’s not using a man, it’s literally getting what you want by any means necessary.”
As an exotic dancer who parlayed her roster of A-List exes into fame, fortune, and a book deal with Simon & Schuster, Rose certainly knows what she’s talking about. And while manipulating men might come across as harsh, Rose would be far less of a feminist hero in my book if she’d walked away from her two-year relationship with Kanye West with just the clothes off her back and an unsold pair of Yeezy sneakers.
Critics who are accusing Rose of sending the wrong message to young women seem to be forgetting that this is the woman who brought us Amber Rose’s SlutWalk, and consistently fights against the rampant misogyny within the hip-hop industry. Plus, she might be the only female celebrity to date who’s dared to take on Kim Kardashian one-on-one and lived to tell the tale (Paris Hilton, where are ü now?). So for those trifling haters who need a history lesson, here’s a primer of moments when Amber Rose kicked ass, gave great quotes, and generally ate the patriarchy for breakfast.
When she took Kim Kardashian for a walk around the block:
A little known fact about the Kim Kardashian-Amber Rose feud is that these two fierce ladies were actually born on the same day; also, neither can live while the other survives. As Kanye West’s current wife and future first lady, Kim Kardashian is obviously not so keen on his beautiful ex-girlfriend, Amber Rose. For her part, Rose has publicly referred to Kardashian as a home wrecker, and has gone on record saying that West “can’t be faithful, and it’s not just with one person. He’s just unfaithful with a lot of different women.”
The feud got even dirtier when Rose, BFF to Tyga’s baby momma Blac Chyna, said that the “Rack City” rapper should be “ashamed of himself” for leaving Blac Chyna and his baby for the then-17-year-old Kylie Jenner. Khloe Kardashian quickly rebutted, tweeting, “‘I was a stripper since I was 15 years old,’ Amber Rose told Foxx. Please don’t worry about my sister who has a career & her shit together at ONLY 17. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Next, in a bold move deserving of an Internet-wide round of applause (and ass claps), Rose posted a series of comebacks and memes chastising the Kardashians for slut-shaming her past and putting Kim’s sex tape into play. She even went so far as to tweet, “I’ll be that lil whore to support my family like ur older sister is a whore 2 support hers. We’re even.” Amber Rose, ladies and gentlemen.
When she got slut-shamed, then got right back up:
The Kardashian-Rose beef took a turn for the vom-worthy when Kanye West decided to defend his wife with some next-level, misogynistic vitriol. When asked about Amber during a radio interview, the all-around class act insisted, “If Kim had dated me when I first wanted to be with her, there wouldn’t be an Amber Rose, you know what I’m saying.” The self-proclaimed inventor of the leather jogging pant quickly added, “By the way, it’s very hard for a woman to wanna be with someone that’s with Amber Rose... I had to take 30 showers before I got with Kim.” But while Kim clearly had her hubby go out and do her dirty work for her, Rose was happy to take out the trash, gleefully tweeting, “Do i also need to add that kanye was texting me 2 night before you’re ‘big wedding’ lol.”
When she reclaimed the VMAs:
The 2015 VMAs were many things: the best day of Nicki Minaj’s pastor’s life, the passion of Justin Bieber, and a really bad time for Miley Cyrus to debut her new dreadlocks. But the most clear-cut victory of the night went to Amber Rose, who, despite being nominated in no categories, won all the props for her insane outfit: a dress covered in all the slut-shaming social media slurs she’s been virtually accosted with. Rose rocked her dress alongside Blac Chyna; the two buzzworthy celebs are rumored to be starring in an upcoming reality series together. Because you can’t spell body confidence without body-con.
When she organized her own SlutWalk:
Rose truly put her money where her feminist mouth is this fall with her own SlutWalk, a personalized twist on the worldwide protesting phenomenon in which women come together to reclaim their bodies and their choices. The event, which was advertised as a way to express “outrage toward issues of sexual violence, gender inequality, derogatory labeling and victim blaming” took L.A. by storm, filling the streets of Pershing Square with activists holding up signs emblazoned with slogans like, “The Way I Dress Does Not Mean Yes.” Rose, who brought her own “Strippers Have Feelings Too” sign to the showdown, gave a passionate speech, explaining that she was 14 and a virgin when she was first slut-shamed, and offering an olive branch: “I wanna forgive Kanye for what he said about me. I wanna let all of that negativity go,” she said. “I also forgive Wiz. Wiz actually apologized to me already, so I have forgiven him.”