I’ve been kind of quiet the past few days on the latest hip-hop developments that include the NAACP kicking off a nationwide initiative “STOP,” to end the prevalence of racist, sexist language, images and concepts in the media by holding the industry responsible and by calling for a shift in personal behavior and Russell Simmons’ admonition that the recording and broadcast industries should consistently ban three racial and sexist epithets from clean versions of rap songs and the airwaves…"bitch," "ho" and "nigger."
Now mind you this “national controversy” sparked off because a white man called the Rutger’s University’s women’s basketball team “nappy headed-hos.”
The key words in the sentence above? A white man.
Yes, we as Blacks are still taking our cues from white men.
Let us not forget that one C. Delores Tucker dedicated much of the last few years of her life to this very issue and got nowhere.
She fought against the same NAACP that nominated the late rapper Tupac Shakur for an Image Award. The same Tupac who in his song "How Do U Want It?" on the album All Eyez on Me, rapped "Delores Tucker you’s a motherfucker / Instead of trying to help a nigga you destroy your brother".
As if that wasn’t enough, white rapper Eminem jumped in and criticized Tucker in his song "Rap Game" saying, "I’m all for America, fuck the government / Tell that C. Delores Tucker slut to suck a dick / Motherfuck ducked, what the fuck? son of a bitch / Take away my gun, I’m gonna tuck some other shit".
But what a difference a "ho" makes.
Because now we can see clearly because the white man has pointed us in the right direction.
First of all, this is a conversation that had been going on in Black America long before Imus stuck his foot in his mouth. So to give him credit for getting us all riled up is a slap in the face to people like C. Delores Tucker.
Second, while I am happy that we are fixated on the lyrics and artists that we support, I still find myself asking the question, why do we let others dictate our actions.
We knew this was an issue long before Imus and yet it took him, a virtual nobody to most Black Americans to make it a national issue.
What’s up with that?
Now moving on from Imus and looking at the NAACP’s Stop Campaign.
The targets of the STOP Campaign are the record and television industries, recording artists and the African American community. The campaign asks participants to:
STOP Defaming Our Women… by respecting all African American Women and not describing them in profane and derogatory terms.
STOP Degrading Our Community… by not supporting hurtful images that portray negative images of the African American community.
STOP Denigrating Our History… by not supporting words and media that diminishes our proud history and insults our ancestors .
STOP Accepting Disrespect… by not patronizing companies and artists that put forth demeaning and disrespectful images in our community.
START Standing Up… by standing against anyone who diminishes the capacity of young people.
START the Diversity… by supporting balance and diversity of content in the entertainment industry, urging creation of positive role models for young people and by demanding that more African Americans and other people of color be placed in decision-making positions in the entertainment industry.
Umm hello! I missed the line that should have read:
STOP Spreading Homophobia in Our Community… by respecting all African Americans regardless of sexual orientation and not using homophobic slurs to refer to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Fag and sissy hurt just as much as bitch and ho. If you don’t believe me, ask a gay brotha and he’ll tell you.
So when we attempt to address this issue, we have to address all of it, not just some it.
I’m not trying to hear any of it on the radio.
So while I am happy that the NAACP has taken hold of an issue that resonates with today and the here and now, I am critical in that we can’t just target part of the problem.
In addition, I am not convinced that it’s the record label executives that are at the root of this problem.
Similar to Don Imus, no matter what we do, they’ll still be richer than any of us and still in business.
Targeting record executives isn’t going to get us anywhere.
Let’s target each other. We’re the ones bumping that shit and buying it. If we stopped supporting these artists, therefore affecting the bottom line of these rappers and executives, then maybe we’d get somewhere.
If you can stop enough Little Johnny’s from buying/downloading Snoop’s new album, I think we’d have a better chance of making our point.
But at the same time, we should be uplifting rappers and other artists that don’t use those lyrics as an example that you can enjoy music with good beats and good lyrics that speak to life today.
In all of this hoopla, that’s what has been missing. The voices of the artists who are continually blocked out of the market because they refuse to conform to the standards that are set forth by these record labels. This conversation about today’s lyrics has been going on a long time with artists who constantly get looked over because they won’t sell out.
I mean really, at the end of the day, do you think a David Geffen or any of the other record label executives are giving us a second thought?