Drake has become an undeniable force in music, and the hearts of the millions of fans who find themselves attracted to him. He’s handsome in an attainable and non-threatening way. He allows himself to be extremely open and vulnerable in his music about his feelings towards the women in his life. He really knows how to rock a fall sweater. And his perfect image comes with a hint of danger — his crew was involved in a brawl with Chris Brown’s crew, presumably over Rihanna, and there were rumours that he sent goons to the home of a woman whom he felt scorned him — that makes him interesting. He is arguably hip hop’s James Dean. If you’re into that kind of thing, he is easy to love. I, however, am decidedly not into that kind of thing. So the rise of Drake as a national heartthrob went right over my head.
I found myself shaking my head at some of my feminist friends, like Refinery29’s Arianna Davis and Ariana Romero, for being so enamoured by the textbook, guy code romance vibes that the rapper gives off. I was ready to leave 2017 still unconvinced that Drake was really the man that women need… until I heard about him calling out a man who was groping women during one of his club appearances. It was the moment that saw Drake putting his ass on the line for woman whose number was not in his cell phone, and that meant something. Now, I am ready to publicly state that Drake is alright with me.
Before Team Drizzy (or my two wonderful coworkers) flood my mentions, I am fully aware that my ambivalence about what Drake means to women says more about me than it does about him. My relationship goals are Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa being able to party at the strip club after their divorce because they're such good friends, not Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s family photos. I won’t judge you if you won’t judge me. But despite what men on Twitter ready to condescendingly call me "beloved" have to say about it, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with not falling for every rich dude who doesn’t express an outward hatred of women.
When Drake released “Hotline Bling,” I agreed with the critics who thought it was kind of shady that the Toronto native was so bothered that a girl he liked was having fun. And I, like this writer at The Establishment think that he has a good girl/bad girl complex that is super reductive and well… basic. When I heard that he was collecting Birkin bags for the woman he eventually settles down with, I rolled my eyes. It’s a lovely dowry (Roxane Gay was smart enough to call this what it is) idea, but sheesh, have the class to not talk about it in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter. It’s your wife, not one of five lucky golden ticket winners for Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I have always thought of Drake as the same figure in pop culture as Lawrence is in the lives of women on Insecure: a fuck boy that thinks he’s a good dude.
And that is absolutely not what women need right now. With all of the issues facing women, I am unmoved by anything other than solid action on our behalf. When Drake stopped his own show to hold another man accountable for how he was treating women, he did it. And for that alone, I’m willing to give him a chance. This is the Drake I can believe in.