Rihanna

drakememe

Tits and Sass is a Rihanna blog. This is a sound editorial decision Caty and I made a long, long time ago, and so far it has served us well. Tits and Sass has never been a Drake blog. Which isn’t to say we’re anti-Drake, we’re just not explicitly pro-Drake the same we are, say, pro-Rihanna. Recently, it came to our attention that Drake loves Rihanna, and we love Rihanna, so, therefore, we reluctantly give space to Drake. In any event, this is the internet, and you can’t just ignore something on the internet, because the internet will not allow it, the internet will force you to talk about it. So, here is the post in which we feebly acknowledge that Drake is opening a strip club. That’s right, you heard it here first, folks (actually, you probably didn’t).  Drake is opening a strip club. This is our post about it. [READ MORE]

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Rihanna playing X-Box. (Photo by Gamer Score Blog, via Flickr)

Rihanna playing X-Box. (Photo by Gamer Score Blog, via Flickr)

2015 was a year in which hip hop and R+B continued to produce excellent soundtracks for the hustle. Here’s my shortlist of the cream of that crop, in no particular order:

Trap Queen-Fetty Wap

Fetty Wap’s infectious “Trap Queen” was technically first released in 2014 online and independently, but only really blew up this year with its major label release, ultimately peaking at number two on Billboard‘s Top Ten. The ditty happens to fall into my favorite hip hop subgenre: two members of the lumpenproletariat in lurv. Fetty Wap enthusiastically enlists his stripper beloved in his drug operation and immediately treats her as an equal and partner-in-crime after he teaches her the zen of cooking rocks. The video features a totally desexualized, smiling Black woman in jeans and a hoodie (what an accurate take on the dress code for a dancer’s day off!) diligently counting their shared money while Fetty Wap clowns around with his buddies, occasionally checking in to give his trap queen an affectionate kiss. (Accurate again: it’s the woman who takes care of business, and not much drug dealing actually gets done if you leave it to the boys.) Fetty and his bae illustrate how two heads are better than one in the hustle as they make financial plans together: “We just set a goal/talkin’ matching Lambos…” Maybe I’ve got a soft spot for the drug dealer-sex worker power couple as depicted in pop culture because of my own history, but you’ve got to admit the track is also just unstoppably cheerful—the antithesis of grim gangster rap, perfect for any psyche-yourself-up-and get-ready-for-work playlist.

Bitch Better Have My Money-Rihanna

Rihanna’s revenge ballad might be aimed at her cheating accountant, but its no-holds-barred titular sentiment is one any sex worker can identify with. “Don’t act like you forgot/ I call the shots” is a bottom line we all have to make sure our clients remember when they try to haggle with and lowball us. And their excuse filled whining in reply just sounds like “blah blah brrrap braaap” to us. All controversy over the graphic video aside, this is another excellent choice for any pre-work playlist. “Pay me what you owe me!”—doesn’t it all come down to that? Plus, brava to Rihanna for making it clear that men are the biggest bitches there are.

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Comments we received yesterday on our post about SWOP-Phoenix's campaign against Project Rose's diversion initiative (screenshot)

Comments we received yesterday on our post about SWOP-Phoenix’s campaign against Project Rose’s diversion initiative (screenshot)

After the arrest of activist and sex worker Monica Jones, we’ve decided to keep a close eye on Phoenix, Ariz.’s Project R.O.S.E. program. Just a hunch, but it seems a few Project ROSE-ers are keeping an eye on us, too! A big thanks to Project ROSE for reminding us that we should be oh-so-grateful to have the option of forced rehabilitation over arrest.

Red Umbrella Project,  the S.H.I.N.E. Project of the Community Health Network, and Persist Health Project will be hosting a Day of Sex Worker Health and Wellness, including a drop-in workshop on medical services  and free, confidential sexually transmitted infection testing for those in the sex trades on November 19th at 7pm, at 147 Prince Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201. This event will be free and open to the public, but it is especially designed to meet the needs of people in the sex trades.

Our own Tits and Sass co-editor Josephine helped compile a list of the best recent online nonfiction on sex work for Longform.

A new draft of bill AB640, currently stalled in the California Senate, would not only mandate condom use on porn sets for both oral sex and intercourse, but would also instruct employers to provide performers with protective eyewear to avoid ocular contact with semen. (In fact, there are unenforced laws on the books right now that demand these safety measures as well.) We’d like to leave this at that with no additional commentary besides “WTF?”, but since one of us once made a sheepish visit to her local clinic after her boyfriend’s spunk flew into her eye, we have to add that we know firsthand how low the risk of STI transmission is through that route.

Eric Barry tells HuffPo about his difficulties finding a job after outing himself as a former escort on his podcast, Full Disclosure: “I’ve stayed true to myself, and I can say unequivocally I have no regrets about that. But rent looms.” We feel you, dude.

Two new studies on Australian and Thai airports reveal bizarre biases in custom officials regarding whom they stop under suspicion of sex work or being a trafficking victim. Packing lingerie, being Asian, and whether or not the purported victim cries are apparently key factors.

In a story we missed last month, South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma pledged his continued support for the decriminalization of prostitution. Decriminalization will remain on the agenda of the newly appointed SA Law Reform Commission.

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Bibiane Bovet, Montreal municipal candidate and out trans woman and former escort (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Gazette)

Bibiane Bovet, Montreal municipal candidate and out trans woman and former escort (Photo courtesy of the Montreal Gazette)

Some British GLBT organizations and trade unions are taking the excellent example of their African counterparts, standing in solidarity with sex workers’ rights organizations like the English Collective of Prostitutes and the Sex Worker Open University in their campaign against proposals to institute the Swedish model of criminalizing clients. Sign the Collective’s petition against the End Demand model—Rupert Everett will thank you for it.

One of Montreal mayoral hopeful Mélanie Joly’s hand-picked candidates for a municipal position, Bibiane Bovet, is a trans woman who used to work as an escort in order to finance her bottom surgery. Joly knows about Bovet’s sex working past and—gasp!—doesn’t care. In fact, one of Bovet’s escorting clients, another municipal employee, advised her to run for the position in the first place, and Joly went on record praising Bovet’s integrity and saying she has her full support.

File under The Headline Says It All: “Groups ‘rescue’ Thai sex workers, whether they want it or not.

SWOP-Phoenix is protesting the Project ROSE Prostitution Diversion Initiative, in which Phoenix police and students from the ASU School of Social Work team up twice a year to arrest local sex workers and have them “choose” between a six month diversion program or criminal charges. SWOP-Phoenix’s position is that diversion programs “ignore the fact that many people who work in the sex industry are not victims in need of rescue, but consenting adults who should not be arrested, coerced into diversion, or incarcerated for working.”

While on a vacation in Thailand last month, Rihanna took in a “ping pong” strip show in Phuket, tweeting afterwards that she was “traumatized” by the “live bird, two turtles, razors, darts and ping pong [balls]” pulled from the performers’ vaginas. In a pretense of shock they’ll be sure to keep up till they get their next bribe, the Thai Police shut down the club and arrested the owner, no doubt also throwing a few of the club’s performers in jail along the way. Riri! Don’t make us sad. After “Pour it Up”, we thought you were Good for the Strippers. Now it turns out that you are (inadvertently?) Bad for the Strippers. Stop getting second world sex workers arrested, Rihanna, that’s a REAL faux pas. Next time just use your celebrity tweeting powers to get the Thai equivalent of a humane society to spirit away those birds and turtles from non consensual vaginal spelunking.

Melissa Petro tells the xojane reading public what escorts already know: “Most Dudes Have Probably Bought Sex At Least Once.”

With so many Tamil men dead or missing after three decades of civil war, with southern men filling up the jobs in the north’s building boom, and seeing as how widows are traditionally seen as inauspicious and unfit for remarriage, many women in female headed households in Sri Lanka’s North are engaging in survival sex work to subsist.

We covered SWOP-NYC’s letter to the Columbia Institutional Review Board reporting Dr. Sudhir Venkatesh’s wildly inaccurate and insulting research on New York sex workers in an earlier Week In Links.  (One blog entitled the fiasco “When Your Own Research Population Organizes Against You, New York Sex Worker Edition.”) Now, our own Tits and Sass founding editor Charlotte Shane eviscerates Venkatesh’s historical amnesia, insistence on reinventing the wheel without acknowledging the work of sex worker researchers before him, and his approval of police abuse of sex workers in The New Inquiry.

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pouritup2Big news this week! Pop superstar extraordinaire Rihanna has changed careers. She’s finally going to pursue her true passion.

Rihanna became a stripper.
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