Big Pun's Wife and How Sexism Runs Rampant Through Your Vericose Vains - The Jose Vilson

Big Pun’s Wife and How Sexism Runs Rampant Through Your Vericose Vains

by Jose Vilson on August 5, 2009

in Jose

Indulge me. Watch this video and tell me what’s your first reaction.

If your first reaction to this video was “Girl, get a job!”, whether you’re a woman or man of any color or stature, you’re enacting on sexist behavior. Yes, I got this from rapradar.com and also saw it on another website. While I thought Rap Radar did an effective job of just putting this in the fore, the other sites I’ve seen it on already turned their heads on Eliza Rios, who doesn’t even sound remotely desperate. Yet, the minute people saw the screen shot of a dark Puerto Rican lady with twists in her hair and a Bronx-tinted accent living in a shelter, they’re already willing to tell her she’s no good.

That, my friends, is sexist.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in my formative years reading a little bell hooks and Audre Lorde (frankly, not enough), but I understand the intersectionality of the -isms we place upon people, and how quickly we’re willing to turn on people who we consider ourselves a part of if they don’t fit the criteria¬† in another group we’re a part of. For instance, let’s say we have a group of middle-t0-upper class women all in the room sharing in these activities, but one happens to be Black. Regardless of her esteemed attributes and her acceptance into the group because of her stature and sex, her race makes even things like her cooking unacceptable to the other members in that group.

In the same way, I found many of the commenters who probably live in her same neighborhood, drink the same things she drinks, goes to the same clubs, grew up around or in the same situation she did, and loved the same man she did for years on end (for completely different reasons) extremely critical of Ms. Rios, maybe even BECAUSE Big Pun admittedly physically abused her. For many of the people I read, that in and of itself was a non-issue, a sure indication that they don’t think physical abuse of the mother of one’s children is relevant to why she feels in the slightest way entitled to whatever he said he’d provide for her and their children. In other words, sexist.

I can already smell some of you saying, “Why doesn’t she get a job? She looks lazy, slovenly, like she can’t do for self. She could use an education.” People really have a hard time differentiating between seeing people on their screen doing a TV interview and what actually do day-to-day. Secondly, she said, even with the six-figure sum she was paid when he died, the bills accumulated higher because the man couldn’t provide at that point. I don’t believe that the woman always has to be the caretaker in a marriage; that’d be sexist of me. However, I believe that’s the role she chose; Big Pun’s talents were the bread, the butter, and the whole table setting (check his record). She no more could have predicted his sudden death than any of us.

A large part of me feels like it’s because Big Pun was a phenomenal MC and not just a regular dude in the hood that she’s being maligned or disregarded as such. Then again, even on The Maury Povich show, people more often than not pull for the guy to not be the father just to see him dance than the child to have a father and at least have him be financially responsible for what he helped produce. In no way am I saying that women shouldn’t also feel some sort of responsibility. Not-so-big secret: I too was raised mostly in a single-parent home for all intents and purposes, and my mother helped make something out of me. But statistically, I’m an exception. Statistically, I beat the rather ominous odds, and so did all these other bougie fools typing their comments from their Sidekicks trying to hate on Ms. Rios.

In the last part of the video, it’s easy to see that she’s not looking for someone to come in and swoop her from her situation. She fully understands what’s going on, and frankly, was too conservative about the way Fat Joe and everyone else who’d fed off her husband’s gifts (mis)treated her along the way. I guess if we can’t put the women in a g-string on top of a car or showering them with money, then they get relegated to the squalor of home, never to be seen or heard from until something tragic happens.

Yet, something tells me everyone who already wanted to oppress her made their judgments before they played the video. Sexism feels comfortable for those who need to elevate themselves as such.

Jose, who can’t wait for what you might have to say …

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

elle August 5, 2009 at 12:36 am

Just read your tweet… you were not too harsh.

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Mel August 5, 2009 at 12:38 am

I saw someone mention this earlier, but had yet to form an opinion on it. I’ll never understand why folks think that just because people are famous that they don’t have the same problems that we have. Fame doesn’t mean that they have everything they want or that they are above the issues that we as “regla” folks face on the daily.

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MarcyWebb August 5, 2009 at 1:01 am

I think it’s very easy for people to place judgement on those they deem as “the other.” People of color are just as capable of demonizing people of color as anyone else. Especially if they don’t fit their idea of what is “normal”. It’s just that when the demonizing is committed by Whites towards people of color, it is much easier to identify.

Domestic violence remains, in the minds of many – women and men alike- the “fault” of the woman. When a woman is abused, it somehow must be her fault. Which of course, is sexist.

BTW: Thank you for the mention. :)

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talda August 5, 2009 at 1:46 am

my first thought? that she’s just trying to get what’s due her children. do i fault her? no. i would do the same thing in her shoes. especially if he was the sole breadwinner and, under normal circumstances, the children would have profited from their father’s success anyway. i think any mother would do the same. never mind the fact that 116k isn’t that much when you were possibly pulling in millions. whether she has a job or not isn’t the point. the point is his kids have a legal right to what their father worked hard to sow. i’m sure that is what he intended.

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Sugarlips August 5, 2009 at 6:08 am

I have a few different thoughts going through my mind:

1) She’s a bright woman, a strong woman, a brave woman. So many people who have been through abuse might take the stand, “oh f**k him, he was a good for nothing a$$ who beat on me” but she saw the situation as much bigger than just a raised hand – a decent man with a troubled mind and heart who didn’t know how to deal with his pains any other way than through abuse. It’s very rare to see people so open-minded to see the bigger picture.

2) I feel bad for her struggles now after Pun’s death. Obviously he was the breadwinner and she was the caretaker and now without the bread, she tried to do the best she could but unfortunately (and we don’t know the whole deal) but it seemed like maybe she was counting on those royalties to keep coming to help continue to give her kids the life Pun built for them. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way and maybe she realized it too late (hence the shelter situation now). I’m sad to hear there isn’t other family or anyone who could help keep them out of that – I don’t like to hear of anyone struggling, regardless of being the wife/kids to a celebrity.

3) Another sad story of a talented artist being “raped” by the industry and not given what’s rightfully due. I’m tired of hearing of people who are obviously popular, worth their weight, who end up signing their life away to execs because maybe they don’t fully understand the contract or feel without already being famous they don’t have room to negotiate… and end up broke & famous. Blows my mind every time I hear it.

After reading your blog, I see where you’re coming from. I hadn’t read/heard any of the comments you speak of, but it doesn’t surprise me. It pains me when I hear people scream that women who bear these celebrities’ children are nothing but gold diggers. I’m sure there are some out there, but just because you’re talking about $50M vs $50K salaries, doesn’t make celebrity life much different than any one else’s. Like everyone jumping on Kelis for getting that sort of money from Nas. Why does she have to be a gold digger? You don’t know what sort of pre-nups they may have agreed upon before the nuptuals, and you don’t know their life. If they are used to a certain lifestyle why doesn’t that child deserve that lifestyle just because the parents aren’t together anymore? If they were still married he’d be paying that much a month. That’s what the lawyers and judge deemed fair. It sounds like big money to us but obviously to them it’s not, if that’s indeed how much they spent a month.
And the whole “b**ch get a job” remark… if she’s not already exec material she couldn’t even put a dent into the bills and mortgage Pun left her, and with the death of her children’s father, I’m sure she tried her best to keep some semblance of normal life for them – same house, same lifestyle, etc. She’s just trying to the best she can under her circumstances. But why is it expected that she and the kids should just move on as if he never existed, their life pre-death never existed? Sort of takes me to your Maury comment… why is everyone on the man’s side that it’s OK for him to not be there for his kids? The woman’s a lazy gold digger if she thinks he should put in his fair share. He helped create the child, it’s his responsibility not just financially, but spiritually, emotionally, and every other -lly to put his child first, just as the mother is doing (hopefully). She can sacrifice every aspect of her existence for kids, but heaven forbid anyone lawfully demands a father to do the same.
Pfft.

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Joann August 5, 2009 at 9:56 am

Haven’t read any of the comments above.

What people who have NOT been in an abusive relationship DO NOT understand is that no matter how much support, how much information, how much light one has been given — low self esteem, mental/physical/emotional abuse — is EXTREMELY hard to come out of.

Ms. Rios looks to me like she is holding her own pretty damn well considering. Her first priority right now are those kids and keeping them sane and undamaged by all that has happened is not an easy thing to do. Especially when she herself has not had time to heal. Not lashing out at Joe and all the other “friends” of Puns probably brings her some sort of sanity. Sometimes you just had to let go and let God.

I know deep in my heart that she and her children will be ok w/or w/o Pun’s earnings.

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Maura Alia Badji August 6, 2009 at 2:41 am

I remember being apalled at the vehemence with which certain elements of the hip-hop bloggerati were spewing vitriol at Big Pun’s widow when she put his medallion up for sale on ebay. Word was, she was somehow defaming her dead husband by putting the spotlight on the fact that he had not provided for her and their 3 children. I was most angered by comments on one site, which shall remain nameless, triggered by discussion of Pun’s abuse of her. One brain trust declared that she probably deserved the abuse, as she was “dumb, ugly, and fat”. I responded to the comment with a futile attempt to school the miscreant on the nature of domestic violence. My comments were ignored as subsequent posters layered ineloquent attacks against Ms. Rios. Blame the victim. Lionize the abuser. Sexist? Damn straught.

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