Music Thursdays: Drake’s Jodeci Freestyle Autism Controversy


Geek Alabama Music Thursdays

There’s a controversy brewing in the music world, and it involves people who have autism, Asperger’s, or other intellectual disabilities.  Last month, Drake released his latest song titled “Jodeci Freestyle.”  Yes, it’s a rap song so there is some bad language in it.  But one line from this song is making people angry.  Here is the song, click play to listen.

In this song, these lyrics are wrong in my opinion.

Go check the numbers dummy, that’s just me gettin’ started
I’m artistic, you niggas is autistic, retarded
Started, hold your applause

Seriously, I know rap songs are going to contain some bad language, but this is going way over the top!  Currently 4 million Americans have intellectual disabilities, including a disproportionate amount of individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds and/or people of color.  In addition, one in every 88 Americans has a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder.  For a person who has Asperger’s Syndrome, yes, I do have autism.  I find this song as offensive to all people who has a intellectual disability.

Since I have a disability, I already know that there is a massive lack of awareness of neuro-developmental disabilities such as autism and other intellectual disabilities.  Some people likes to focus on deficits and/or stereotypes.  The strengths and positive qualities of those with intellectual disabilities is minimized or ignored altogether in favor of messages that create pity, stigma, and stereotypes.  Yes, this stuff happens in America.  I find these lyrics as hateful, ableist, and discriminatory.   Using terms such as “autistic” and “retarded” as slurs is wrong and should not warrant hatred and insults.

Now, a petition on change.org from Morenike Giwa is asking Drake, J.Cole, and Warner Brothers Records to stop promoting hatred of autistics/people with autism, & people with intellectual disabilities.  It’s pretty simple, there is already a high percentage of co-morbid anxiety, depression, PTSD, and suicidality among youth and adults with intellectual disabilities, at least in part because of how society treats them.  People’s ignorance and cruelty can be far more disabling than the diagnoses themselves.  And the petition is asking for the artists to apologize and to take the time to become better informed.  To sign the petition, go to: https://www.change.org/petitions/stop-drake-j-cole-warner-brothers-records-from-promoting-hatred-of-autistics-people-with-autism-people-with-intellectual-disabilities

Now to promote something good!  Artist Marqui, who is also a rapper, released this song titled “I Am #ABLED.”  This song celebrates diversity and acceptance from all people with disabilities.  And I thought this was a great song, click play below and listen!

Follow Marqui on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/marquiroyalt

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6 thoughts on “Music Thursdays: Drake’s Jodeci Freestyle Autism Controversy

  1. Thank you for this post. I am a parent of two beautiful children with autsim and an individual who is most likely on the spectrum. These lryics made me upset when I heard them, then even more so when I realized that these are the people our youth look up to as role models. In the autsim community, we won’t be able to make the changes we want to see if the ideas of pop culture continue to downplay our efforts. Thank you for speaking out against this, and supporting our community.

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  2. Thanks for commenting. I do believe that there is a blacklash in modern society against Autism and Asperger’s. For example, I have been unemployed for over two years now and applied to over 400 jobs and went to 15 job fairs, still sitting here. The more awareness about Autism and Asperger’s, the better!

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  3. Thank you so much for supporting the petition and sharing it with others. Our united voices have resulted in a public apology from J.Cole for the hurtful lyrics, and hopefully a lyric change is forthcoming! I really appreciate your advocacy and concern for the intellectual/developmentally disabled community. Thank you! Morénike

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  4. Thank you for the positive vibration. I truly appreciate your insight. My brother has been livng with autism for 23 years. Awareness is a step, Acceptance is the key.

    I am #ABLED

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