Dear will.i.am: Women Having Condoms Isn't Tacky

Why the Black Eyed Pea is dead wrong about condoms.

Posted: 05/02/2011 03:55 PM EDT
Filed Under AIDS

Seems like will.i.am, Black Eyed Peas lead man doesn't seem too keen on condoms—unless he is the one who is buying them. In the May issue of Elle Magazine, will.i.am shared some interesting sentiments about women who are empowered enough to own their own condoms.

 

ELLE: If you walked into a woman’s house, what one item would convince you that you weren’t compatible?

 

W: If she had condoms in her house, that would just *&%@^$ throw me off. That’s just tacky.

 

ELLE: Well, okay, I could see if she had a candy bowl full of them on the coffee table. But if she’s got a few in a drawer, wouldn’t that simply suggest she’s health-conscious?

 

W: I just think, like, if you’re into someone and you guys get to that level, then that’s something you should converse about together and say, “Hey, maybe we should get some.”

 

Sigh. These views make him seem like he is on Team Palin rather than Team Obama.

 

For someone who prides themselves on being politically conscious and socially driven, it's utterly surprising that he would have such old-fashioned views on sex and gender. A woman who wants to own condoms isn't a slut or "tacky"; obviously she is someone who cares about her health and isn't waiting on a man to dictate whether or not they will have safe sex.

 

What's also incredibly out-of-whack is his belief that this is how having sex plays out: Man and woman reach a certain "level", man initiates conversation about sex, man and woman go out and by condoms, man and woman have protected sex.

 

This is 2011, not 1956.

 

How many times have men and women got caught up in the heat of the moment—a one-night stand or a committed relationship—and the man doesn't have any condoms? How many times have women asked men to bring condoms, and instead they show up with nothing but a smile, saying, "I'm sorry babe, I forgot"?

 

If people don't have condoms and find themselves in sexual situations, a lot of the time, they end up having unprotected sex. And given the current state of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in this country and the increase in STIs, there are serious repercussions for having unprotected sex, especially in our community.

 

AIDS is the No. 1 killer of Black women ages 24 to 35. Black men who have sex with men (MSM) have the highest HIV rate among all racial groups of MSM. Overall, while we make up a mere 14 percent of the overall U.S. population, we account for more than half of all new HIV infections that are diagnosed each year. And to make matters worse, we are more likely to be diagnosed with HIV and AIDS at the same time than any other racial group, meaning they're less likely to get tested until they're very ill.

 

Nowadays, more and more women need to be prepared, because our lives depend on it.

 

And with that being said, I do agree with will.i.am that people need to have conversations before they have sex. But not as a means for the woman to appear less loose or for the man to give his seal of approval to them picking up Magnums at Walgreens. The types of conversations I am referring to are ones where people are getting on the same page about condom use and the importance of having safer sex. Because unlike will.i.am's dating utopia, not everyone likes to use condoms or has each other's best interest in mind.  And people need to be able to make a decision if that's the kind of person they want to be sleeping with.

 

In the end, I know that I won't be taking outdated and irrelevant advice from will i.a.m. I have no plans on throwing out my overflowing stash of condoms and lube for the sake of appearing respectable. But given their power to change the minds of the more impressionable, I wish that more celebs like him would think—or have their publicist's approval first—before they speak. Because they never really know who is listening.

 

To learn more about HIV/AIDS, go to the Centers for Disease Control or TheBody.com's African-American HIV/AIDS Resource Center.

(Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images)

From Our Partners