Was Danny Brown sexually assaulted on stage?

This story is pretty all around gross. Trigger warning for grossness, k?

Because we’ve yet to hear from Danny Brown on the whole incident, aside from his bragging on Twitter, it’s hard to say exactly how everything went down or what the context was for Brown getting a blow job from a fan, on stage, at a recent show in Minneapolis, MN.

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The story’s getting a lot of attention, not just because it’s kind of a, let’s say, “salacious” story, but also because rapper, Kitty Pryde, who is on tour with Brown and witnessed the incident, is “mad as hell” that people aren’t calling it “an actual sexual assault.”

Some further context (this is an account from someone in the audience):

I was right behind the girl and saw everything it was scaring: Okay so this is how it all went down, I was near the front row and all night Danny had been going up to the crowd and having random girls touch his d*ck through his pants. Then this girl in front of me starts flashing him and he goes up to her and grabs her t*ts. Then all of a sudden gets up close pulls his shirt up a little and she start blowing him. Then I’m behind her and I start getting pushed against her by the crowd shifting. It horrible and i hope you guys will be donating to my future therapy sessions but also i came back with a story. He rapped the entire time during too.

In case you aren’t a hip-hop fan, or haven’t heard of Danny Brown, he’s not exactly the most pro-woman of rappers. And I know that isn’t necessarily saying much… There is, unfortunately, a lot of misogyny in hip-hop (just like in the real world, whaddya know!)… But I think it’s reasonable to say he’s something of a misogynist, in lyrics and in life. (Full disclosure: I included one of his tracks, “Grown Up” in my not-famous-or-even-remotely-something-anyone-cares-about-but-me-and-maybe-two-of-my-friends top ten hip-hop tracks of 2012 list, before I saw this conversation between him and A$AP Rocky and decided to leave him off next year’s list…)

Now. I understand, full well, that men can be sexually assaulted. Even misogynist men. Like women (though at lower rates), men, too, are raped (by other men). I’m not saying that Danny Brown isn’t “assaultable”. That’s not my point.

If I were Kitty Pryde, and I was the opening act for another rapper and had to witness him getting a blow job on stage, I would be pissed too. Livid, in fact. But her reasons for being angry about the incident confuse me a little.

She says that her friend, Danny Brown, “like anyone else… wants to be respected as an artist and a human.” Ok. Sure he does. He doesn’t seem to have much respect for women, as “humans,” with lyrics like “Fuck a bitch mouth until her fucking face cave in,” but whatever. They aren’t important. Danny Brown wants our respect, so we should give it to him. Pryde says, specifically, Brown wants to be respected “as a man.” And we all know what that means, don’t we? To be respected “as a man,” particularly in hyper-masculine, pro-misogyny environments, means treating women like holes that dicks go in.

Pryde also says she’s mad that “when two dudes pulled my pants down onstage, other people got mad too, but when it happened to Danny the initial reaction was like one big high-five.” So ok. I’m mad, too. I’m mad that this is part of hip-hop culture and I’m mad that this kind of thing gets Brown props. I’m mad about all the ass-shaking women do for Diplo, too. In general, I’m mad about the way women are marginalized and relegated to being either ornaments or groupies in so much of hip-hop. But I also understand why, when two dudes pull down a woman’s pants on stage, versus what happened to Brown, the reaction would be different. So, what Pryde is “mad as hell” about seems misplaced to me.

If the accounts are true, that Brown was having random girls touch his dick, through his pants, throughout the night and that he grabbed the breasts of a woman who flashed him, and, if you look at the photo of the incident, you see Brown’s hand on the back of the woman’s head and assume it’s a semi-accurate depiction of what went down… I don’t know… I feel like the context for this incident, in comparison with a situation where two men pull down the pants of a woman on stage, is quite different.

I don’t agree that people should be performing sexual acts on strangers without their consent, obviously. And I do think that a culture wherein men are supposed to enjoy it when this kind of thing happens, because they’re men, and they’re supposed to want it all the time, is really, really awful and dangerous. But to be all up in arms that people either don’t care “because a girl did it to a boy” or that people aren’t calling this rape or are unwilling to say that what happened at that show is the exact same thing as two men ripping the pants off of a woman on stage or sexually assaulting a woman on stage seems a bit off base to me.

Brown uses women as objects to prop up his own masculinity — in his lyrics and at his shows. He brags about not missing a beat as a woman blows him on stage. He holds the back of her head as she’s doing it. Is that the same thing as a man raping a woman? And is it true that we “don’t care” because the gender roles are reversed? It’s times like these where I feel that context is important, and that perhaps Pryde doesn’t quite understand the significance of that context.

Now, if Brown comes out and says, you know, “that photo is manipulated and I bragged about the incident in order to protect my masculinity but actually I felt violated,” fine. Maybe we can have a different conversation. But at this point I’m uncomfortable simply switching out “man” for “woman” and saying “it’s the same thing.”


Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist from Vancouver, BC. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, Quillette, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and is now exiled in Mexico with her very photogenic dog.