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3 comments | Sunday, April 15, 2007

The entire country is up in arms about Don Imus and the slanderous comments he made against the women of the Rutgers Basketball team. I'd heard about Imus after GLAAD included him in their hall of shame last year, but like many people in the African -American community Imus was not on my direct radar. Imus has since been fired from his jobs at CBS and MSNBC due to his racially insensitive remarks. But the biggest debate to arise out of this scandal is the offensive and derogatory language used by rappers to refer to Black women in our own community.

So if Don Imus can't call us "knappy head ho's" then why is it acceptable for us to refer to ourselves as such?

I was sent the most disturbing youtube video of three young white rappers freestyling in the vein of 50 Cent and The Game, and what I saw was the result of hip-hop falling into the wrong hands. In under 10 minutes the three "rappers" used the n word over thirty times. It rolled off their tongue as if the word was not tied to years of oppression. But as I continued to watch the video I began to realize that we (Black people, rappers) have commercialized the word and given white men a pass to call us the very word that was spoken to dehumanize us for centuries.

The hyper-masculine thug persona of hip-hop has embedded itself in the minds, speech, and fashion of men all over this country and is considered the acceptable definition of manhood by many. The lead rapper in this video even has the word "Gutter" tatooed on his stomach and wears it like a badge of honor. I couldn't help but recall Tupac's famous "Thug Life" tatoo in the same place.

I'm still finding it hard to believe that they think it's okay to use the N word and post it on the internet for the entire world to see. Have they not noticed that Eminem's widespread acceptance amongst other Black rappers is because he was smart enough not to use the N word?

We live in a country where free speech is embraced, but hate speech is a totally different thing and should be censored. I'm glad the discussion is turning away from Imus and towards the bigger problem of harmful lyrics in hip-hop. After all it was the lyrics that we sing along too and bump in our cars that created the shameful display in this video .


<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

I am terribly afraid that we are falling into the trap that has been set by the mainstream media. This most recent incident of racial insensitivity and sexism has managed to focus the light of racism back on black people. As if we are responsible for racism and misogyny in America. While I in no way condone the lyrics many rap artists use and choose not support it in anyway, it is clear to me that they are not the cause, they are the effect. The images that rap lyrics depict are a snapshot of the reality of the artists and the communities they come from. Art has always imitated life. Art throughout history has always been a reflection of the culture. For centuries societies have tried to blame artists for moral decay when it was the artist who were bringing the moral decay to the attention of society. Instead of society dealing with its issues, it has always chosen the easy way out; killing the messenger. There is no doubt that the black community needs to do a little house keeping of our own. To that I will also add that the images the rap artists depict are not the reality of all Black people. But, we are not the cause of racism and misogyny in America and we never have been. Black people are not even the primary financial supporters of HipHop, not are we the profiteer. This idea of blaming rap for the problem is unthoughtful and bankrupt.

April 16, 2007 1:34 AM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

If we can say the word "Nigger or Nigga", THEY CAN USE IT TOO! I have no problem with that at all!

April 16, 2007 1:48 PM

<$BlogCommentAuthor$> said...

For the first time, I agree with The Captain.

April 18, 2007 1:51 PM


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