Wedding trends come and go, but dancing is a wedding mainstay that’s never going away. There are few experiences more joyful than busting a move on the dance floor with all your college friends. But sadly, the adage that insists “All Your Faves Are Problematic” extends to wedding playlists, too.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the time has come to purge songs that promote, normalize or minimize rape culture. Your wedding is meant to signify a loving and equal partnership between consenting adults. That’s a beautiful thing! So, keeping consent in mind, we prepared a list of seven songs to delete from your special day’s soundtrack.
1. “Remix to Ignition,” R. Kelly: This 2003 hit is infectiously catchy, and a playlist mainstay since its release. You probably danced at your prom, and odds are you’ve had at least one make-out session while this was playing at a toga party. In the past, this tune was the most reliable way to lure millennials onto the dance floor. However, if Spotify (albeit momentarily) deemed it necessary to remove R. Kelly from playlists in light of the history of sexual abuse allegations against him, there’s no excuse for your wedding playlist not to do so, too. If your wedding was designed as a symbol of consensual love between you and your bae, music by R. Kelly’s gonna get in the way.
2. “Summer Nights,” Grease: “Summer Nights” is a wedding playlist standby with intergenerational appeal. Grease is a classic movie musical your aunts probably loved in their youth. And there’s a fair chance you dressed up as Sandy for Halloween when you were like nine, like Kate on This Is Us. If only this iconic song didn’t contain some of the most casually rape-y lyrics in history. At one point, Kenickie explicitly asks Danny if his girlfriend Sandy “put up a fight” during physical intimacy. Sadly, no one calls Kenickie out on his rapey ways, and the ensemble keeps on singing. This number normalizes Rape Culture by putting a — literally — upbeat spin on sexual assault. Just play a song from Hairspray instead!
3. “Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke: When it was released in 2013, “Blurred Lines” was so popular it was perpetually on the radio. And before we feminists popularized our critiques of its lyrics, “Blurred Lines” was a favorite at weddings, birthday parties, and even children’s Bar Mitzvahs. On a personal level, Robin Thicke the person has been under fire for groping a fan while posing for pictures. On a professional level, Thicke’s music promotes unacceptable attitudes towards consent. Right down to a title that suggests ‘no’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no,’ “Blurred Lines” is a troubling anthem. Woke wedding planners shouldn’t touch this pop song with a 10-foot pole.
4. “Stronger,” Kanye West: We might miss this one most of all. “Stronger” is an anthem, one we millennials played to motivate us while cramming for exams, or training for a half-marathon. It occupied a place of prominence in the soundtrack of our collective youth. For more than a decade, no party felt complete until “Stronger” was played. But the time has come to put a pause on giving Kanye West those Spotify checks. The recording artist recently told TMZ he believed slavery was a choice for African Americans, which is an objectively incorrect — and horrifying — opinion. One hallmark of the institution of slavery was unrelenting sexual violence perpetrated by their white oppressors. Saying slavery was a choice is tantamount to suggesting all that sexual abuse was consensual, too. Sorry, Yeezus. We hope you change your mind on one this soon!
5. “Your Love Is My Drug,” Ke$ha (Produced by Dr. Luke): Songs with the word “love” in the title are the best weapons in a wedding DJ’s arsenal. Who hasn’t played “Name That Love Song” at their third cousin’s second wedding? But “Your Love Is My Drug” isn’t just an innocuous song about a girl who’s caught the feels for someone. No, this pop hit was produced by Dr. Luke, the man Ke$ha alleges sexually assaulted her throughout their working relationship. Ke$ha claims the reputed predator repeatedly drugged her, raped her, and sexually harassed her. Later, Dr. Luke refused to let the singer out of the contract she’d signed with him, and a lengthy legal battle ensued. Don’t let Dr. Luke continue getting rich off a woman he allegedly abused. Instead, sample songs from Ke$ha’s new album, Rainbow. It features a musical buffet of songs about women’s empowerment — and the best part is that none of them were produced by Dr. Luke.
6. “Hello,” Lionel Richie: We appreciate Nicole Richie’s fashion sense as much as the next people, but this song by her dad is super sketchy. Richie made this love song famous in 1983, with a video that portrays him stalking a woman living with visual impairments. The upshot is that Richie can see her, but she can’t see Richie as he follows her through the hallways of her school and to her aerobics classes. “Hello” features such lyrics creepy lyrics as, “I wonder where you are/ And I wonder what you do.” It’s 2018; let’s not romanticize stalking. Please remove this song from the slow dance portion of your playlist post-haste.
7. “Blame It on the Alcohol,” Jamie Foxx: Even the title is problematic! It’s about a sexual predator lying in wait at the club. The protagonist bides his time until a woman who doesn’t want to sleep with him becomes intoxicated, at which point, he plans to take advantage of her. The song is whacked because, obviously, It’s 100 percent not okay to prey on people who are too drunk to consent. If you don’t want the dance party portion of your wedding to normalize the rape of intoxicated women, delete, delete, delete! Consent is sexy; play songs that honor the concept instead of undermining it.
Did we miss a song? Tell us at @britandco!
(Photos via Getty Images)