Will Jay Tackles Toxic Masculinity with His New Song “Gangsta”

Will Jay can sing. He can dance. And he can challenge traditional ideas about masculinity while doing so.


Earlier in 2017, I attended a panel discussion on the negative effects of toxic masculinity. I know that sounds kind of daunting and not the kind of thing most people do in their free time, but I promise it was one of the most enlightening experiences of my life.

One moment that has stuck with me is a portion of the evening where we were all invited to write adjectives about “what it means to be a man” on a blackboard. Words like “strong,” “fearless,” and “tough” were written… but then erased. In mere seconds, we all realized that all we had to grasp at were stereotypes. And tired ones, at that. These descriptions weren’t bad things by any means, but were they what, in essence, it means to be a man?

Will Jay‘s latest song “Gangsta” asks the same question, but answers it way more confidently. Do guys have to put up a strong front or brag about being smooth with girls to be seen as “real men”? Does talking with your hands or showing emotions take away from a guy’s masculinity?

The answer is of course, no. Confidently carving your own path, regardless of others’ expectations, displays so much more strength, fearlessness, and tenacity. Sorry, there are those words again – but do you see how their meanings have changed?

With its infectious beat and hot choreography, the artist’s new music video will keep you entertained. If you’re like me, you’ll want to dance along, and realize you just can’t keep up. But when you pay close attention, you start to realize that Will Jay is proving all the points he set out to make. There may be no set of fixed qualities that make a man, but there is great quality in what this man makes for himself.

Give Will Jay’s “Gangsta” a watch (or twelve) above to see him kill it the way only he can, and leave us your own reactions below!

Kristine Hope Kowalski

Written by Kristine Hope Kowalski

Kristine is a writer and celebrity entertainment news journalist with a specific obsession with Nickelodeon + Disney Channel shows, boy bands, K-Pop, Broadway, and international series dramas. If she's not writing or tucked away in a good book, she is most likely traveling the world and spamming her friends' Instagram feeds with photos from her adventures. Kristine has a BA in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University (2011), and an MA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Thought from NYU (2013). She is currently pursuing her second Master's in Journalism at Harvard.