Rape culture in the United States is a toxin that is visibly tearing the country apart at the seams. According to RAINN, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds and one out of every six women have survived an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. While the #MeToo movement has served as a reckoning in Hollywood, there are still so many places that struggle to believe women and hold the men who have harmed them accountable for their behavior.
Right now, the world is watching as the FBI undergoes an investigation on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh following Christine Blasey Ford’s decision to testify against him in court for a sexual assault that was committed decades ago. Despite the spectacle of the hearing and all of the lies that have been told, the White House continues to endorse its support of Kavanaugh.
But Amber Rose will not be silent about these issues. Anyone that has been following the platform of this model, actress, activist, and entrepreneur is fully aware that Muva (also known as Captain Save A Hoe) refuses to back down from the fight for women’s rights. This weekend, Rose will host her fourth annual SlutWalk in Los Angeles. What started as a one-day event in the heart of downtown LA has transformed into a massive movement.
The initial purpose of the SlutWalk is to “uplift, empower and enhance the platform of women across the globe,” but the overarching mission is about raising awareness about sexual injustice, domestic violence, gender inequality. Scroll down to learn more about Rose’s ongoing mission ahead of the event in this exclusive interview.
How has the SlutWalk has evolved since you first started it in 2015?
Initially when I wanted to start the SlutWalk I wanted it to be more than a walk. I wanted it be a festival as well to celebrate women and also have speakers and counseling and vendors and all kinds of different emotions that day. I had my mind set on that and I would say initially I called everyone I knew that was rich and asked them for money to start it off. I literally just scrolled through my phone and it was extremely grass roots. I tried to just get the money up and thank god for my fans. They donated 10 dollars, 15 dollars here, we got it off the ground.
There was about 2,500 people that showed up the first year which was a success for me, I thought it was great. The next year was 11,000 and then the year after that was over 20,000 people. So it has grown tremendously the past three years. Obviously, this year a lot more people are coming out. We’re really taking a stand and we’re not dealing with the bullshit anymore. It’s becoming more and more important.
Do you have plans to potentially expand it beyond LA at some point or make it more than one day as you’re taking it year by year?
Yeah. I would say the hardest part is that it costs a lot of money babe. We depend on donations, we depend on the sponsors to come in. We spend the most money on security because we wanna make sure everyone is very, very safe and a safe environment. Staging, gates, just to pay the city of Los Angeles to let us have it there it costs a lot of money. I would love to expand. If I could, I would, but I feel like you gotta do what you gotta do. You gotta start somewhere and that’s what we did.
Was there a specific moment for you that made you realize that you really needed and wanted to be an advocate for issues regarding sexual injustice, domestic violence, and gender inequality?
I’ve experienced all of those things. The crazy part about it is that I didn’t even realize it for such a long time. I gradually turned into a feminist when I didn’t even know what feminism was. I look back and I’m like “Wow, I always have been this person, I just didn’t know what to call it or how to try to make a change.” I sat with a lot women and feminists and I was like “Wow, this is really my life’s work.” It’s my passion, I wanna help women. The misconception about SlutWalk is that I make money from it. I don’t. I put my blood, sweat, and tears into SlutWalk. I don’t make a single penny from SlutWalk at all. It’s really just my life’s work. I try to help any way I can, you know?
Hearing you say that you didn’t know you were a feminist until you got the definition reminded me of this one time in college when I asked my mom why she didn’t teach me about feminism. She was like, “What are you talking about? I always raised you to believe in equality and to treat everyone the same. That’s what feminism is.” I think sometimes people don’t even realize they identify with certain terms because it wasn’t necessarily spoken.
For sure and it’s so simple. We just want equality. That’s pretty much it. With our SlutWalk, it’s inclusive. We do incorporate the LGBTQ community. Whatever gender you identify with you are accepted with open arms. We have a zero tolerance for bullying. If anybody does come to the Slut Walk because it is free, and they try something, they’re gonna get a rude awakening because we don’t play that shit at Slut Walk. It’s a safe place for you to come and learn a lot as well. You learn a lot at Slut Walk for sure.
From where you stand, how do you think things have been improving regarding a lot of these issues, if you think they have at all?
When I started my SlutWalk four years ago, I couldn’t get a fucking interview for shit. People were like, “Ew, gross. Slut walk? Are you serious?” I’m like, “Yeah, I didn’t start SlutWalk. Slut Walks are going on all over the world. I’m just using my platform to protest against sexual violence and injustice, and gender equality.” Four years later, there’s other feminist movements and we’re all basically shouting from the rooftops that we’re tired and we’re ready to speak up. We all ultimately have the same goal, we just go about it in different ways.
How do you think that we can go about dismantling rape culture when it continues to be so covered up across industries? There’s no golden solution, but I was just curious to hear your perspective on it since you’ve been very vocal about it.
It’s very difficult and I’ll tell you why. I personally battle with it because there’s a lot of men that are in powerful positions. There’s a lot of men that aren’t in powerful positions, they’ll just threaten your life if you say anything. We get scared. We have children, we have families. If you’re not a celebrity, you don’t have security if you’re the average person. A lot of people and women don’t want to speak out because they’re scared and I understand that.
That’s a thing that we battle with at SlutWalk because there’s a lot of girls that come up to me and they’re like, “I wanna say something, but I live in an apartment building with my daughter and I’m a single mom and I feel like someone will hurt me.” What do I say to that? I can’t force her to go and get the justice that she deserves because her life is on the line at the same time. In certain situations it does become very difficult and that’s what makes it really hard.
We need to constantly speak up about it and not shut up about it. I feel like I haven’t shut up about it for the past four years. I definitely feel like everybody that volunteers at SlutWalk and everybody that works there, we definitely made a difference where we can.
What do you think are some effective ways that men can also help? Women have always been doing the work and carrying the weight, but men need to be involved too.
I think first and foremost a lot of men just don’t know what consent is. They just have no idea. Culturally, a lot of men are raised to boast and poke their chest out with pride if they have sex with a lot of women or do things and not necessarily understanding. I feel like a lot of men have raped women and not even know that they raped women. That’s a discussion that as parents we need to have with our children. As women we need to talk to men more and let them know exactly what’s really going on—what’s fair, what’s not fair, what’s right and what’s wrong, and what consent really is. I have a lot of straight, male feminists that come through Slut Walk and they just fucking get it and I love it. I tell them, “Spread the word, bro.” You have to sit with your friends and be like, “No, this is not cool. This is how it’s supposed to be.” Have those conversations for your sisters, moms, aunties, friends and stuff like that.
Switching gears a bit, you use SlutWalk as an event for people to learn more about voting and registration. What steps have you taken over the years to educate yourself more on politics? What has your personal experience with voting been like?
I feel like I’m still learning. Politics isn’t the number one thing that I focus on in my life, but now [with] everything coming to the forefront and seeing so many people trying to be in office that have sexually assaulted women – obviously Trump getting into office – I learned a lot about politics. Before, I didn’t necessarily pay attention. I feel like that’s a lot of us. This year I am sitting with people and they’re teaching me how to look these things up, how to get the information that I need to make the right choices as far as voting. I’m still learning… We have voter registration at SlutWalk and in my Slut Box as well.
This might be a little too deep, but what do you want to be known for? What do you want to be associated as your legacy?
That is a deep question. You know babe, you gotta understand, I deal with a lot of scrutiny, a lot of trolls, a lot of naysayers. I deal with that thrown in my face every single day. For me even if its a little change in the progression of bringing awareness to the equality issues we deal with, I’m cool with that. And being a good mom. I don’t really think about those things because I live every single day trying to be a better person. I don’t really think about what people would think about me when I’m gone.
Will you be dressing up in a costume again? Will we be seeing Captain Save A Hoe or is there a new character?
I have a couple ideas. I really enjoy trolling people that don’t get it, to start a bigger conversation. When you do things conservatively I feel like people don’t usually talk about it as much, but I think what happens with Captain Save A Ho-this is gonna be a bigger conversation. This year I have another idea that I might actually go with. It’s just gonna be a surprise.
Can we expect a return to the podcast or talk show world anytime soon? We desperately need you…
Thank you. I’m not doing “Loveline” anymore, but I’m actually doing “The Amber Rose Show” on PodcastOne. I started my new podcast with Dr. Chris on PodcastOne. It’s just called “The Amber Rose Show with Dr. Chris.” I really want my own talk show, but I feel like when it comes to networks, it’s like they’ll give me an executive producer credit, but they won’t let me speak freely. They kind of make me say things that I don’t wanna say, and I can’t live that. I’d rather not do it at all. I’m able to say whatever I want on my podcast.
Head here for more info on how to take part in Amber Rose’s SlutWalk.