Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Is Lil Wayne Actually Teaching Us How To Love?

2118241158 by yardie4lifever2

For the second time in as many months a video of a song has completely changed my perception of a song.

Enter Lil Wayne’s “How To Love”.

On Wednesday, Lil Wayne premiered his video for the song “How To Love”…a song that I’m not sure I could have hated any more than I did on that Tuesday. However, I sauntered on over to The Smoking Section and saw the video and a short write up that caught my attention. What I saw next blew my mind. Somehow, Lil Wayne managed to turn a terrible song into a video that very accurately (at least we assume) described what happens when a young woman is robbed of choices in life by never being shown how to receive and/or give love by the very people who are supposed to instill that into her: her parents. Or lack thereof.

And yes, this entire post needs a spoiler alert.

We’re treated to the entire lifespan of a child who turns into a girl who turns into a woman searching for love or something and constantly finding some semblance of it in all the wrong places. Which, let’s be real, is the crux of the whole single black woman trance and fascination that has taken over America. Nearly every story that we get from women revolves around some bad choices. Of course, those bad choices were crafted well before the young woman even knew she’d be in a position to make them because she never learned…how to love. In this video, the girl’s entire life was filled with a mother spending her time dealing with no good men because she just…didn’t know how not to.

But in a twist, Lil Wayne’s video (complete with the most unnecessary Birdman cameo ever) ALSO show’s what happens when that same little girl’s mother makes a decision to remove herself from a bad situation and somehow ends up married (okay, it can’t ALL be realistic…we know Black women ain’t getting married…ants have a better chance of beating magnifiying glass sunrays than Black women have of getting married…viva Aleutians) to a man and is then able to teach her young and impressionable daughter…how to love.

How to love.

That’s such an interesting concept to me. The truth is, it’s one of the most vital components to any of our lives. Without a paradigm on how to show affection and express love, its virtually impossible to know what constitutes actual caring. So many women and men spend their lives running after some elusive version of what love and happiness looks like, without even realizing that it actually is. You can blame some of the media for that but at the end of the day, even the richest of the rich struggles with sharing. Just being there for somebody everyday can set a positive trend.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how I’d rather be a father than a husband. And while everything I said is true, I do have one regret about my situation with my daughter’s mother and I. In this video, at the 4:08 mark, when the mother and her new husband are getting married, they cut to the little girl watching her mother kiss her new step-daddy. Something about that look, and her seeing what that type of love and affection looked like shook me. I will always regret that decisions I made robbed my daughter of witnessing her mother and father showing each other the kind of love that I hope she is able to find. Granted, her mother and I get along and are respectful and spend time together so that she can see her parents together. But that scene…hurt.

Guilt might be too strong a word, but I’m scared for my daughter and that’s because I’ve seen how many women (even on this site) struggle with love and what it looks like and means. I want her to be able to see real affection. I want her to see somebody love her mother so that she can see it in her household. I’d hate for that to be a foreign concept to her when she’s 22 years old like it seems it is for so many women out there.

But that’s my burden.

What this video illustrates is how choices affect your future. Especially when you have a child. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction and children are the living and breathing manifestation of this fact. Just as you get to correct your own mistakes through your children, all of your faults get magnified when they go unaddressed.

Hyperbolic as it may seem, in this video, the choice to leave a bad situation with a bad man resulted in a better life for her daughter. The way these two story arcs are illustrated and how vastly different the end results can be is very…deep. Especially given that according to the director, Chris Robinson, Lil Wayne came up with the entire story line.

The fact that the video touched on promiscuity and HIV (yes, Lil Wayne worked in social issues) is almost as dumbfounding as the original song. But here we go again with another video that’s way better than the song. But in this case I’ll take it. Maybe it just hits close to home. Me no know.

All I do know is that, video or not, learning how to love is actually probably the single most important facet in the life of a child. Knowing that love exists and what it looks like can actually be the difference in the choices a child makes, especially a girl as she grows into a woman (not sure if that sounds sexist or not, but so be it).

Anyway, a Lil Wayne video actually made me think. Go figure. What about you?

Did you see the video and if so, what were your thoughts? And on a larger scale, (I know we touched on this a few weeks back with my post) but just how important is learning how to love to individual growth and success in relationships?

Is it possible that Lil Wayne ACTUALLY provided a significant cultural talking point in Black love?

Somebody call Will and Jada.



Panama Jackson

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. He used to ship his frito to Tito in the District, but shipping prices increased so he moved there to save money. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. Most importantly, he believes the children are our future.

  • Naima

    I did not like the video. I also don’t like the song.

    I understand the point is that if one is not taught “how to love” then it can lead to terrible decisions in the future. However, to me it just perpetuates the idea that women who have issues with men have “daddy issues.” The whole idea of the video is that success in life is someone linked to having a successful love life. And WHY does the girl have to get HIV? I mean, it felt like Precious Lite.

    There are people who come from perfectly normal families who end up stripping and making bad life decisions. This does not have to mean that their parents failed them. Maybe I’m just bias because I feel like the song can’t be salvaged. I just think it send the same kind of tragic narrative that we criticize the White media for perpetuating.

  • BisforBrittani

    I saw the video and it definitely made the song waaay better because I hated it before. The only thing I didn’t particularly care for is the end because she just gets pregnant and you don’t know if she got married or anything…but its still s good video. Learning how to love or having examples (good and bad) I think are very important in relationships because you’ll know how to give and receive love and what you will and won’t accept.

  • http://NA VSB Lurker

    Personally impacted . . .no words

  • Curious Capital

    My “How to Love Story”:

    Clicked on the twitter link and there were talking cockroaches. Hmmm, how is Wayne gonna spin this one. Oh wait, that was just a Raid advertisement. Hospital bed, screaming woman. This might be deep. There’s a baby. Oh no, jail? Damn, sexy school time. Waitt, is this player’s club? Fcuk, the money is on the table. noooooooo, the HIVA. (wait, am I tearing up?). ooooo, it’s going backwards. Yes, a ring, I see a ring. Smiles and books. Oh snaps, it is a Different World.

    End Story.

    Do I know how to love? For real, I don’t even know, but this video really did take me through all those changes.

  • Aleyah the Great

    saw the video. i was very surprised that something with a message came from lil wayne. learning how to love is probably one of the most important things to do, because as the video shows, it affects everyone around you.
    i don’t think he touched on something cultural though. something about it, even though it carries a message, just reads…typical. i don’t know how to explain it.

  • TheAnti-Cool

    I can’t believe you got me to watch a Lil Wayne video. That I didn’t end up hating. I even like the song a bit now and will be going to sleep humming it. Have I finally learned how to love?

    Damn you Panama Jackson. Damn. You.

  • Malik

    Not a surprising Weezy song. The video was too melodramatic and eyeroll worthy for me though. I don’t mind the actual song though, and I can understand why it touches some of my peers.

    Parental love is important to observe because it’s the foundation for relationships that you see around you. Unless you live in some sort of group family or commune, they’re the first and pretty much only adult relationship that you’re around on a constant basis until you’re also an adult.

  • ChaoticDiva

    I like this video. Why? Not only because of what you said, but also for those girls that may already be seeing these negative things and acting out in these negative ways, that there is hope for them, and they can go down two different paths.

    Many of you may not agree, but that’s the other thing I got out of it.

    Like I always say, when Lil Wayne is sober, the man’s quite talented. It’s those coked out moments that piss me off.

  • Nappy Mind

    I still hate the song. I found it ironic that the video implies that stripping is a poor choice for a woman while in his real life, Lil Wayne is well known for tipping astronomical amounts of money in strip clubs.

  • Naturally Alise

    I guess I can kinda see why you like or got something from the video, but to me it is heavy handed and loses its strength bc of the artist. It is hard for me to separate. However, to the whole learning to love thing I can’t really speak on it. I have learned not to speak on things I know nothing about. Les sighs.

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