What The Drake/Halle Berry Issue Says About Consent In 2023

What The Drake/Halle Berry Issue Says About Consent In 2023

Why is this still happening?



IYKYK, but in case you don’t, here’s what’s been happening: Drake released Slime You Out, a collaboration with SZA, last week. It’s the first track from his upcoming album, For All The Dogs. And in case you’ve forgotten, Halle Berry got slimed at the 2012 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards, resulting in a pretty iconic photo. This same photo is being used to market Slime You Out



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If you don’t look under the microscope, this seems like a fun and pretty carefree exchange. But Halle Berry’s spoken up, saying that Drake “didn’t get [her] permission” to use the photo. In her own Instagram post, she goes on to say: “When people you admire disappoint you, you have to be the bigger person and move on!”


Others have pointed out that Drake likely got permission from the photographer and/or owner of the image, which could be valid. But Berry’s also responded to this argument, saying: “Cuz he asked me and i said NO that’s why. Why ask if you intend to do what you want to do! That was the fuck you to me. Not cool You get it?”



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A post shared by Halle Berry (@halleberry)


Some people might think this isn’t a big deal. Drake’s using a photo that’s publicly available, it’s not like Berry is in any way nude, it’s not like her reputation is diminished, it’s not like it’s “that big a deal.” But if that’s the case, then why did Drake (or his people) think it was worth asking Berry (or her people) to use the image in the first place? The fact is that there was an initial understanding that they needed her green light on it, and even when it wasn’t given, they went ahead with their plans anyway. Maybe it was because they could, because the laws of the land don’t equate to integrity or morality. The court of society isn’t powered by judges, after all. 


The whole argument is a little slimy. As if we all don’t know what it’s like to see an unflattering picture of ourselves posted on someone else’s timeline or stories. As if not all of us have had an embarrassing experience that our own friends carelessly shared on social media for their world to see. As if we all haven’t uttered the words “no photos or videos!” or “don’t post this!” at one point in our lives.


The discussion on consent has been so hyper-focused on sexual consent that things like this seem to slip out unnoticed. But Berry’s making it clear: this isn’t okay, and she’s going to be the bigger person. 



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A post shared by Halle Berry (@halleberry)


Because if you want to be a good person, you don’t half-ass it. If you want consent, you don’t ignore the “no.” You don’t ask just because you know you should ask, the actual answer be damned—no matter what the situation is. 


So when we talk about consent in 2023, let’s not be simple about it. Let’s not believe it only matters when it comes to sexual experiences. Let’s not pretend that getting a “yes” from one (albeit legal) party is the same as getting it from everyone involved. Time to widen the conversation. 



Art Macky Arquilla

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