The Problem with Men Like Bobby Valentino and Why It’s More Than Hypersexualizing of Trans Women

By Sabrina Samone

I can’t be the only trans woman this has happened too. You’re out shopping, a handsome man approaches you and starts a conversation. He opens the door for you, and asks do you have kids? How can your husband have you out here by yourself, fine as you are? You tell him you have no kids, or a husband. He continues with his inquisitive approach to figuring you out, while he asks for your number and a date. You can feel him watching you, studying you and if it’s a good day it just ends innocently there. Those other days is when his eyes swells, he stops and takes a step back to really look at you. He begins to figure out  your T (truth)¹, or the more politically correct phrase; sees that your gender identity differs from your assigned birth. Your heart beats faster, and sweat builds. You wonder how this will go. Will you be another statistic, or will this be an educational moment? Then again, could this be the moment you meet your soul mate? The questions, the anxiety, the uncertainty of being trans, but you got this.

Now come the questions like; ‘So you’re trans, I would have never known?’ He begin looking around to see if anyone else is watching him. For the past 30 minutes he seemed to have been unaware anyone else in the world existed, but now that he knows, he acts as if both of you are standing nude in the middle of a giant NFL stadium. The conversation has changed from asking you out on a date, to informing you that he has never been sexually active with a transgender woman before. More often than not the line continues as, but I always wanted to try. Maybe he tells you the first time he saw a transgender porn film, or a nude image of a nude trans-girl and how he was so turned on. Now you wonder did he know all along, as he continues telling you of his fantasies of one day meeting a rare unicorn. Yes you are entering the hyper-sexualized zone of being a transgender woman, and in fact, any woman.

Men are visual creatures, and predators. Before the masculists label me as a male hating feminist, I don’t mean predator in the registered sex offender sense. Predator as in a male’s primal sexual instinct. He enjoys the hunt. As my mother once said, it must not be up to the man how far to go with a woman, because if it was, he’d definitely go all the way every time. It’s up to the female, trans or cis, on how far you will let him go. It is your decision. It’s ok to say no.

Yet,  the case of Bobby Valentine² takes it a step deeper than just discarding this as simple hyper-sexualization of the female body. There is a sense of shame, and entitlement to this trans woman’s body. Men don’t pay for sex, ever. Men pay for discretion, so when Bobby Valentino hit up a transgender escort he was being on the down low, discrete, and not possibly because she was trans. Just possibly because he didn’t want his business on the streets, he has a girlfriend somewhere, as his tweets about his encounter revealed that he doesn’t seem to care who knows he had sex with a trans woman. All somewhat positive points in that regard, but what he did do was refuse to pay the escort he had hired, after having his services. Of course, a professional sex worker would have received payment up front regardless of gender, but this does raise the question of why some men feel that because an escort is transgender they don’t have to pay, or for the girl who isn’t a sex worker, he may feel entitled to have, as if he is doing her a favor.

Bobby Valentino has turned off his comments on social media and says he won’t let anyone steal his joy after he was allegedly outed by the sex worker. Over the weekend, a video surfaced online which allegedly shows the R&B singer quickly grabbing his clothes and running out of a hotel room after he refused to pay for “services” rendered.

Our trans sister, whom we will not reveal her name here to protect her identity, because trans women of color are victims of murder at an epidemic rate, reported that she did not mind putting Valentino on blast because it was her bank account she respected. Bobby ran off so fast that he had left his car keys, which the victim yelled at him that he would not be getting back until he pay the money owed, and to call  about the price.

Bobby wrote, “Say what u want! #imhappy😬people have so much hate in em that they wanna steal someone else joy.. can’t steal mine!😬”

While it’s debatable any joy was stolen from him, he definitely stole promised funds to a sex worker after having his, ‘joy’ with her. The mainstream tabloid media that has been reporting this weekend news, seems only infatuated with the fact the sex worker was transgender, not at all with the character and actions of Valentino.

For most transgender women this isn’t a new revelation. The media, our communities and churches, and even some of the men who claim to desire us often have such little respect or none at all for the bodies of transgender women. It’s a problem seen year after year when we read the names during our International Transgender Day of Remembrance. We see it in the countless attempts to legislate our bodies, and bathroom usage. It’s the in your face bigotry felt thru laws like The Freedom of Religion Acts, that give individual business a free reign to discriminate according to their taste and call it religious beliefs. It’s why nearly any transgender woman arrested and placed in a male prison is almost guaranteed to be raped, and violated, yet are continued to be placed with males. It brings to mind old rape defenses from the 1950’s, ‘she wore a red dress, she must have wanted it,’ or better yet, ‘she changed her gender so therefore she must’ve wanted it.’ A second assault on the victim.

It’s the constant message that our bodies are less valuable, that it doesn’t’ matter as much that trans women of color are being killed at an alarming rate, in the eyes of the Black Lives Matter movement. We battle TERFs for inclusion as women in women areas, and have sex offender Republican legislators, regulate our bathroom usage and create fear about our bodies to cover their indiscretions. The message the media has sent over the weekend, laughs at the revelation of Bobby Valentino’s sexual encounter with a trans woman, making comedy tabloid as the focus of the story. There is no debate or concern of the violation of the agreement broken by a wealthy high-profile celebrity and near homeless Atlanta sex worker. There is something deeper than just hypersexualization, and scandal here. It is shame, and a disregard for the safety of a trans woman’s body and it’s another example of how hip-hop, tabloid media continues to be an accessory to the murders of transgender women of color year after year.

Earlier Sunday afternoon, the victim released a  live video. She reports  receiving a lot of negative feed back for outing him. Revealing that the victim continues to be criminalized and further violated. Even throughout social media, gay men even joined in accusing her of using her “transness” to out a man, as if outing was the only issue at hand here, and implying that he may not have known she was trans. This is a constant message by cis men, gay and straight, that implies no one knowingly would be with a trans woman. The struggle for black trans women, even among black lgb, recalls to mind a line from The Color Purple; a black woman’s life is from can’t do to don’t.

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  1. My T: Slang for revealing that you are trans, or it being revealed. usage They got my T. (meaning they figured that I’m transgender).
  2. Bobby Wilson better known by his stage name Bobby V is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He has charted three No. 1 albums on Billboard’s U.S. Top R&B Chart since 2006. V’s first major single, “Slow Down”
  3.  International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurs annually on November 20, is a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
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MzzAmirraO: The Hardest Working Sister in Hip Hop

Whatever comes to mind when you think of a trans-female rapper, forget what you’ve heard, Amirra Daye Smith aka. MzzAmirraO is breaking down all misconceptions, and glass ceilings with one lyrical rhyme after the next. She’s not afraid to step out of the clones of ‘video vixxens’, and be the strong lyrical stylist she’s becoming known for. Her rhymes says it all, “walk through with a shoe so vicious swag on a thou and the crew all vixxenz, sit so pretty but we came here to dance, we came to get loose grey goose.”

Last month I had  the pleasure of chatting with another member of her crew, Nicki Andro¹. Together they have collaborated on tracks that are growing a fast fan base. What makes these rappers stand out from the others in our community, is that they aren’t afraid to share the stage. They realize to make it, it will take a team, a community, and teams get noticed. That’s exactly what’s happening with MzzAmirraO, and her crew at SMG group.

I’m a lover of music, and I appreciate a good rhyme with meaning, but that’s not what caught my attention by these two artist. Years ago when I popped my first premarin pill, a wise mentor once told me that there is something that money can’t buy and every t-girl needs to posses. Hormones will not deliver it, a man, job or surgery can’t fix it. You either have it or you don’t, and it’s called class.

It’s time my friends of TMP meet the classy, talented, strong, and the hardest working trans woman in hip hop, Amirra Daye Smith aka MzzAmirraO.

 TMP: You’re becoming known as the hardest working trans-rapper out there. What’s the motivation behind your music, and drive?

Amirra Daye Smith:  My main motivation is the youth, so that the young trans girls/boys, can see that yes, we can be rappers too.! I wanna break that door down, and break the stereotypes of transgender women all together. I like to make music for all people. Music that anybody can relate too. My VixxenZ & Vix Fans, keep  me motivated. My Trans sisters, and brothers keep me motivated. They all wanna see me make it, and not just for myself but for all of us. I don’t want to let them down. The world needs to see that there are positive minded, and talented transgender people. We need to be respected.

 TMP: Like many leading hip-hop labels, their crew collaborate together. I’ve noticed a lot of collaborating on your part with other trans-hip hop artists. Who are some of the artists you’ve worked with recently?

A.D.S.: I haven’t really worked with any artist this year besides, Nicki Andro. After putting out my mix tape, I started working on the EP, and there was supposed to be other artist involved, but it didn’t work out that way. Nicki Andro, is the only collaboration that’s on my new EP.² I’m looking forward to working with other artist in 2016. I’m also working with the first artist on my own. I wanna have my own label and start grooming my own artist.

TMP: I’d like you to tell our readers, in your opinion, why it’s so important that we support trans  hip hop artist?

A.D.S.: It’s important that people support transgender women, men, and the youth, because we are people just like everybody else. There’s so much hatred, and ignorance out there in the world, so when we get support, it’s genuinely appreciated. You lead by example, so when you support a transgender person, it opens up the eyes of others. No one should be judged by their race, gender-identity, or sexual orientation. As human beings, we have no limits, and we shouldn’t be limited simply because we are trans.

TMP: Our community, especially our sisters of color, have experienced an unprecedented rate of violence towards us. How much of a positive impact on the African-American community, in particular, do you feel could be achieved for trans society if a trans hip hop artist were to reach the level of popularity, and acceptance in music, as Laverne Cox has done in film?³

A.D.S.: There would be a major impact in the African-American community, to see a transgender woman or man, set the bar high when it comes to hip hop. Some people will never change their opinions of us, and that’s fine too. Also, being a hip hop artist gives the transgender community a voice in hip hop, and would definitely change the way some folk see us.

TMP: Do you feel that if more trans-musical artists were to collaborate creatively that, that would or could bring more visibility and acceptance of all trans-musicians?

A.D.S.: Yes! More collaborations, and more unity is very much needed to help with the acceptance, and visibility of transgender people. There’s power in numbers, and there’s a war going on right outside our doors. More of us will have to stick together if we wanna survive it. At this point, it’s not about competition, it’s about unity, and perseverance. If we wanna make an impact in this industry, we have to stick together. If we wanna make an impact on the world, we must work together, and put differences aside.

 TMP: Music itself can be a political force. We witnessed it in the 80’s, which led to the wall in East Berlin to be taken down, the fall of communism, and great humanitarian relief efforts. Do you feel that could be possible with trans artists, and the plight transgender people face today?

A.D.S.: Yes!! I completely feel that way. Music is very powerful, and is easily shared around the world. The hip hop culture is big on coming together, fighting for what’s right, and what’s fair. It would be great for a group of transgender artist to come together, and do a record together simply to say, ‘Hey we are here, and we just wanna live our lives in a way that makes us happy, and comfortable. Be free to follow our hearts, and not be killed for it.!’

TMP: Did you ever have any concerns about entering hip hop vs. any other genre of music considering the hype of masculinity, and the domination of it by men?

A.D.S.: My mom use to always say, ‘why rap?’ Of all music, why would you wanna try to be a hip hop artist.’ I’d tell her because they say I can’t. People always told me I would never be accepted in hip hop, and I say they don’t have to accept me, but they gonna have to deal with, and respect me, because I’m not giving up. Trans-people are very strong people, stronger than most rappers. Rappers run around pretending for the most part, we on the other hand, actually have to live with the toughest skin, and we are the one who are actually fearless.

TMP: Could you tell our readers about your latest EP, and are there any scheduled performances that we could catch?

 A.D.S.: My new EP, which is titled ‘The Prototype’, can be found on Reverbnation.com/MzzAmirraO. This is my first EP, after releasing four mix tapes. I titled the EP ‘The Prototype’, because I look at it as a blue print for trans rappers. It’s an all hip hop project, that reminds you of 90’s rap, but still sounds like nothing you’ve heard before. This is the original copy that will also be copied by many. The style, the swagger of the album has never been done quite this way by any other trans rapper. It’s a hood album, something the streets can rock to, and the people in the suburbs can rock to at the same time. Seventy percent of the EP, is produced by trans-rapper/songwriter/producer, Nicki Andro, also with Tracks A Team in North Carolina, BBK Productions, and Pootie Moe. There’s an instrumental also done by ATL’s producer KO. I write all my own music, and it was an easy ten records to write. It explains how I’ve been feeling the past few months, yet is still just a sample of what’s to come in the future.

TMP: Where do you see trans-rappers acceptance in the hop hop industry a year or two from now?

A.D.S.: I can definitely see some movement happening as fan bases grow. More people are starting to come around and at least tolerate our community, but we still have so far to go. A major record label would have to pick one of the girls up to make a bigger impact. Once a machine is behind me, there’s no stopping me. I don’t really know what the future holds, but what ever happens I’m ready.

TMP: I like to ask my guest here at TMP, if you could tell the world something unique about MzzAmiraO, and you knew everyone would hear, what would you like them to know about you?

A.D.S.: Something unique about me is that I don’t watch television, lol. I don’t really have the time to dedicate to any shows, but people find that weird. I’m not just a songwriter, I can write anything. I wrote a screen play for an animated TV show when I was 15 years old. I would love to get into film, television, and books. I have a very creative mind, and I’m gonna make that work for me. My community, and anyone that’s entertained by it. 

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISCUSS THIS OR ANY OTHER TOPIC ON OUR SITE, PLEASE JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON  THE TMP FORUM


  1.  Nicki Andro, is a South Florida native music producer, writer, and hip artist. She’s one of the first trans musical artist to collaborate, and bring together countless trans hip hop artist. She has worked with MzzAmirraO, King Giselle, and Lucas Charlie Rose to name a few, through Nicki Andro Productions, and Harlekwin Productions.
  2. MzzAmirraO’s Latest EP is ‘Lady in Amirra’, the success of which has brought about countless radio interviews, and the release of the latest single Dat Gurl.
  3. Transgender entertainers have moved into nearly every media in the past few years; modeling, film, and comedy. Hip hop, has been for decades a very hyper-masculine field, and the music industry in general remains one of the last frontiers for trans artist to emerge on the main stage; resulting in cross-genre fields of music through collaborations, that are quickly changing the landscape for trans musicians.
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