USC student raises awareness about sexual assault through music

Junior international relations major Anoop Chaganty released a music video to his satirical rap, “It’s Not Rape If I’m In A Fraternity” Tuesday as part of Sexual Assault Awareness month. Chaganty worked on this video with a group of filmmakers from the School of Cinematic Arts to spread awareness about sexual assault on college campuses from the perspective of a fraternity brother.

Chaganty first thought of the title for the song when he was studying abroad in India in January 2015, and thereafter developed the idea for the song. It wasn’t until September that Chaganty began the artistic process. He spent some time reading multiple books about sexual assault. Once he finished familiarizing himself with the issue, he began to work on the song. In only two days, Chaganty wrote the lyrics and produced the music from scratch.

“I was always waiting to release [the song] in April because if there was ever a time for this idea to be accepted, it would be during Sexual Assault Awareness Month” Chaganty said.

Chaganty then appointed his friend, Sean Wang, a senior majoring in film and television production, to direct the music video. After completing their pre-production logistics and assembling a group of actors, the video was shot in two days during spring break.

The video begins with a trigger warning for young viewers or victims of abuse and sexual assault. Following this warning is a collection of short clips showing sexual assault covered in the media, in sexual allegation trials, and at universities. To give context to the rap, a blurred image of a fraternity brother in a white toga screams “We will not go quietly into the night! Do what you will! And f-ck who you must!”

A dark laugh follows the speech, setting the tone for the dark satire Chaganty’s rap embodies. As the rap begins, moving shots of the Row on a Saturday night introduce the viewer to the areas where multiple incidents of sexual assault have occured. Chaganty faces the camera head-on as he walks down the row, reciting his intense rap. His walk down the Row is marked by the presence of intoxicated party-goers and his careless colliding with passersby.

After he reaches the end of the row, Chaganty appears in a new setting, holding a flare to light up the dark and eerie cave he’s standing in. The last lyric of the song, “I f-cked that b-tch and got away with it,” is accompanied by two fraternity brothers dressed in white togas making grotesque expressions. The barbarous archetype of the caveman drives the narrative of the modern day male’s response to sexual “conquests” of females. The video ends with Chaganty solemnly staring directly into the camera, making the statement that sexual assault is not an issue to be taken lightly.

Chaganty smartly uses hip-hop as a means to communicate about sexual assault, to counter the usually misogynistic approach rappers take.

“This song can open the door to conversations about sexual assault … Misogyny and hip-hop go together. No one raps about feminism, you know? This demographic could use some exposure to a topic like this,” Chaganty said.

Although the general awareness of sexual assault is increasing, the problem still remains prevalent on college campuses. Chaganty’s rap challenges the current system that perpetuates these assaults.

“Sexual assault has been going on for as long as men and women have existed, but within college campuses it’s existed for years before I was born … So what can I do? Am I going to change the system? No, that’s not going to happen,” Chaganty said. “But at least in a hip hop song, a message that’s never been in this format could get the ball rolling. I don’t think this song is going to start a revolution or end greek fraternities, but I think that it’s a good starting point.”

Chaganty emphasizes how he’s not attacking the individual, rather the institution, and how he hopes that he’ll be able to attend a fraternity party to observe the scene.

“I’m not saying greek life is bad, there’s just a lot of bad things that come from greek life,” Chaganty said. “It’s a groupthink mentality, and any time that you have something like that, it leads the way for a few bad eggs to ruin the whole batch … Hopefully after releasing this song, I’ll still be able to go to a frat party, just to examine. I’d like to be a fly on the wall and witness what’s going on really.”