In a carefully worded interview with’s Tim Sanchez, Oakland rap veteran Todd “Too $hort” Shaw, 45, responds to the ongoing controversy he sparked with a disastrous video in which he instructs middle school boys to skip “trying to get kisses from girls” in favor of “turning them” by pushing them against walls and inserting a saliva-covered finger into their vaginas to “watch what happens.”

In the Q+A headlined “Too $hort on Righting Wrongs and Rapping Relentlessly,” Shaw describes a breakthrough discussion he had with journalist and activist dream hampton:

Dream Hampton [sic] explained to me about how this is a time when women are fighting for their rights, and here’s a video that describes an assault. I’m actually a very knowledgeable brother, but Dream [sic] schooled me in the conversation. It really opened up my eyes to something I had not known about. She told me that if we were kids at a pool and I ran by and yanked her top down, it wouldn’t be a joke or a prank to her—that would be a traumatic incident, and it is along the lines of sexual assault. As little boys, we’re running around tapping girl’s a**es like it’s funny, but they’re really victimized by it. I learned that it’s not a joking matter. I feel like I needed that education because had I not, I could’ve continued thinking that it is a joke. Even with my music filled with misogyny, I still have morals.

The rapper, who will release his 19th album next week, also criticizes for what he deems faulty framing and calls the incident a blessing in disguise:

At the time, I thought [the video] was something of a comedy nature. As they released it, it was put up in such an irresponsible manner. They just put up a headline without any type of real description of its intended nature. It’s been a blessing in disguise, though, because as the negative reactions poured in, my first reaction was to just be like, “it’s just a damn joke.” It took a moment though to understand what was really taking place here. Initially, I was being nostalgic about my situation growing up with games like “Hide and Go Get It” - you know just doing stuff as bad little kids. That goes from learning to how kiss to a lot more than that.

Citing karma, Shaw says he will support organizations that fight sexual violence:

It’s definitely on my agenda to make myself available to some worthy causes where I can be of some help—or do whatever it may take to help. I believe in karma. If you put that bad energy out, it’s going to come back unless you put some good energy out.

Next up: Holding him to that pledge.

Click here for the entire interview, and here for my take early today on how journalists who cover hip-hop can combat sexual violence against girls and women of color.

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