‘U Have the Right’ sounds the alarm on teen rape

U Have the Right (a CD from the High School for the Recording Arts, 2002) stands any test of time. Created and performed by teens, it is spoken word prose-poetry no less significant or artistically sound than such social commenters as Sha Cage, E. G. Bailey and Truth Maze. To this day, U Have the Right remains a wake-up call.

Importantly, take “It Ain’t Right,” a chilling verse by Mia R. set to ethereal music by St. Nick, depicting a young woman narrowly escaping rape who, in the aftermath, is branded a, shall we say, gardening implement by the time he’s done violating her reputation in school and around town.

“Nobody believed me/ I felt so alone/ I didn’t even feel right laying down in my own home/ Emotional scratches and bruises/ bled more from my heart and soul/ Than my body and face.” Truly, yes, girls amazed by their power of physical allure and crazy to get attention are apt to find themselves in awkward one-on-one situations on which they didn’t count, with which they’re way too inexperienced to reckon.

None of which turns her from a human being into free meat, rendering him unaccountable for his actions. “Because I let him touch, kiss, hold and convince/ It wasn’t considered unwanted force/ But when I said/ Stop!/ Hold up!/ He held me down with the weight of a horse.”

Mom’s key hit the door lock at the critical moment and he ran out the back. “When a women says no/ she means no.” Which goes for every part in the process. It may not be fun to get blocked at the last minute, but that’s the way it goes.

“Sincere Apology” by Lil’ Magic, written with Mia R., flips the script, giving us a young blood who did make the girl give him some — and wound up in prison.

The writing cuts cold to the bone. The music is subtle. Performances are nuanced, powerful, and production values sterling. The message hits home. Hard.


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