Refined and Fly

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Peace to all! I build everyone is in the best of health mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. There's been quite a bit going on in the news and world (as always). A couple comments on the latest controversies...

Of course everyone's heard about Imus and the "nappy-headed hoes" incident, and his subsequent dismissal from his popular show. What do I think of Imus? Well, he's a 66 year old White dude who was given the forum to voice his racist, prejudiced, sexist views. He's been around for a long time, having lived through the Jim Crow era and the Civil Rights Movement so he obviously still has some shit embedded in him. I will make this comparison: A large part of the problem is that he is a representative of a large demographic of White males who think like him...otherwise, the show wouldn't be so popular. If he didn't have a base and support, which included ratings and advertisers, he wouldn't have had a leg to stand on. In Hip Hop, a lot of the criticized artists represent a demographic of people who think like them, relate, and purchase, download, and shake their collective assses to their music (shame on the guilty, I've done it too, and still do occasionally...come on I'm from the Bay, one of the homes of some serious pimp culture...No, that doesn't make it right...I know). I don't purchase the music, but then again, I don't really purchase any music. I'm just not moved to spend $15 on this shit anymore, but that's another story.

Now Hip Hop is the latest scapegoat and folks are trying to attack our use of terms that degrade women and project violence. Here's the link to the Town Hall on the Oprah Show if you missed it In my opinion, they didn't really get anywhere, but all in all, it's just a one hour TV show. To be real, Hip Hop that is primarily projected through mainstream mediums is pretty wild. I will stick to my guns and say that Hip Hop has always had a mixture of controversial messages. Bitches, hoes, sexism, misogyny and gangsta shit ain't nothin new, however, the issue is the lack of diverse messages on the radio and in videos. Now, instead of gettin it in 2 out of 10 songs, it's more like 8 out of 10. I don't wanna keep turning off the radio or breaking down some song lyrics when I have kids in my car.
On the flipside though, I also think it's important for sisters to step up and take responsibility for our role in projecting these images as well. Without our willingness to be put out there like that, these rappers would have no token models in their videos to flaunt. I know some sisters may have it rough and see their ass as their only assets, and many like myself grew up admiring "beautiful" women I saw on TV and wanted to experience that, so you coulda seen me in a video (although not degrading myself) had I not changed my priorities, focus, view about myself, and self esteem. I got INTERVENTIONS...something that a lot of young girls don't get. Someone sat me down and talked to me about this shit and my understanding came in time. Work needs to be done on all fronts, but I always stress EDUCATION, CULTURE and OPPORTUNITY! Otherwise, you'll always have young men and women willing to sell their ideas and ass for money, no matter what is censored, banned or boycott.

Hip Hop needs analysis and a critical eye, but music is only a manifestation of what's going in society. The music isn't going to change until society changes. Censorship is not the answer, but those of us who who are offended and want to challenge Hip Hop should build with those responsible for projecting negative images. The problem also emerged when Hip Hop became a career path for a lot of folks, as my God consistently emphasizes. So if you starvin, got kids to feed, whatever, and the only talent that you see within yourself is rappin, you will rap about whatever makes you money, thereby paying less attention to "preserving the art" and being socially responsible. Now all the images we see perpetually reinforce themselves and that's what we see and hear over and over again cuz people BUY the Cd's and WATCH the videos, making money for of course, you keep reproducing what makes money. That just seems to be how the game goes at this point. If you want to see the rappers' message change, then the conditions of said rappers have to change. You can't ask somebody to rap about that which they do not know or have not been exposed to. The issue is with the value systems people are growing up with, so the problem isn't the music, it is society, and the music is just a reflection of that. Work to positively impact some youth so they change their values so as not to support misogynist sexist music (cuz the young girls like it just as much, if not more than the young boys). I wouldn't recommend Calvin Butts or C. Delores Tucker's strategy. That will just repel you further from rappers and the young people who listen to them. Be critical, but it's going to take building with those who perpetuate messages you don't like, not necessarily attacks.

Misogyny, sexism, racism, and violence are embedded in the fabric of American culture. It is what this country is founded and built upon. We so-called Americans have such short term memories. We, and old school civil rights activists also have to remember that in their generation, rock and roll was what was criticized as "the devil's music." They're doing to us what their parents did to them. We'll probably do the same thing to our kids, further promoting a genrational divide, unless we consciously remain connected to the youth in a meaningful influential way. Otherwise, as some Christian folk say, "We're goin to hell with gasoline drawers on"...and I ain't talkin bout after you physically die!

Well damn. This indeed was a tragedy. This guy was definitely a disaffected youth who had poor socialization skills. Check for some pics and video (if you haven't had enough already). For all ya'll bullies out there that pick on the kid with floodin' pants, dirty tennis shoes, thick glasses, and buck teeth, I got one message...LEAVE THEM THE HELL ALONE! You never know what a person's tolerance level is or what's going on inside of their minds. You could be planting the seeds for a very disturbed personality, and what is in the mental will manifest in the physical in some way, shape or form. Everybody doesn't have great coping skills or someone to talk to about their feelings. Children can be very cruel. Shoot I was teased for a few years growin up, and I seriously wanted to pummel those kids till they were bloody...shit I still remember their names (you bastards better be glad I was a well adjusted person). Had it not been for my Old Earth (my dear mama), I could have had some serious self-esteem issues. You might have ended up seeing me in one of those pathetic "Look At Me Now" Jenny Jones shows where they bring on their childhood bullies after 15 years to tell them how great they're doing. Meanwhile, the bullies don't remember your names. Save yourselves the embarassment and find another way to get closure!

In all seriousness, another point on this matter is how Americans are so self-centered. Why? Well, not to sound unsympathetic to the situation but, this shit happens EVERY FUCKIN DAY in Iraq since we started bombing them. Could you imagine bombs and gun shots and death every day in your life... If Virginia Tech or 9/11 happened every day? You don't see a whole bunch of candlelight vigils for all of the innocent Iraqi men, women, and children, oops, I mean, "insurgents," who are murdered every day due to the U.S. takeover, ooops, I mean intervention. Do the knowledge:

"In Iraq, universities struggling to operate in the midst of a war zone have been struck repeatedly by bombings, shootings, assassinations, and abductions that have left behind hundreds of killed and wounded, victims and forced thousands of students and professors to stay away, or even leave the country.

On Monday, the same day as the Virginia Tech mass shooting, two separate shooting incidents struck Mosul University, one killing Dr. Talal Younis al-Jelili, the dean of the college of Political Science as he walked through the university gate, and another killing Dr. Jaafar Hassan Sadeq, a professor from the Faculty of Arts at the school, who was targeted in front of his home in the al-Kifaat area, according to Aswat al-Iraq.

In January, Baghdad's Mustansiriya University sufferred a double suicide bombing in January that killed at least 70 people, including students, faculty, and staff. A month later, another suicide bomber struck at Mustansiriya, killing 40.
Kidnappings of students and faculty are another all-too-common occurrence on Iraq's campuses. Members of the univerisity community have been abducted and murdered for sectarian reasons, or simply held for ransom. At a Baghdad University, one student reported to Slogger that he was abducted by sectarian thugs working in cooperation with the National Guard Forces who were supposed to be protecting the campus.

In January, students reported that violent events had threatened students and that attendance rates at Baghdad University had dropped to six percent.

Earlier this month, the Dr. Qais Jawad al-Azzawi, head of the Geneva-based Committee International Committee of Solidarity with Iraqi Professors said that 232 university professors were killed and 56 were reported missing in Iraq, while more than 3,000 others had left the country after the 2003 invasion. "

This Don Imus and Virginia Tech controversy sure did take the attention off of the brutal murder of Sean Bell by New York's finest, the Duke rape case, and Shaquanda Cotton, the 15 year old Black girl in Texas who got seven years for pushing a teacher or hall monitor. Fortunately, she was recently released.

If you have not seen this documentary, please go find it. It's a great piece on the origins and evolution of the Bloods and Crips from the Black Power Movement, and the main person narrating is an Athens Park Blood. It was On Demand, but try Blockbuster, Netflix, or your local public library. Please show it to some youth if you can, especially if you know children who live in gang territories or claim sets. Most of these kids have no idea how these groups started and once they learn, they'll probably think twice.

Yo, for real, I'm feelin krump dancin. I recently watched this documentary "Breakin vs. Krumpin," where Shabba Doo (Ozone from "Breakin") got 5 of the best B-Boys in the world and Todd Bridges (yes, Todd from "Different Strokes") got 5 of the best Krumpers and staged a battle for a $5000 prize. I support both art forms as genuine expressions of emotion, release and a certain level of beauty, but on the real, for me, watching the krumpers was just amazing. Their energy is so raw that you're drawn to it. They kind of remind me of the Tazmanian Devil from Looney Tunes with the speed and force of their movements...but in a good way. The breakers did a lot of great moves, acrobatics and such, but I was drawn to the emotion and feeling that the krumpers gave off. It was really like they were releasing all the pain and anger of every day life in these dance movements. Go watch it On Demand or check the Krumpers out a E.ducate A.ll C.hildren E.veryday (PEACE!)
I Medina Peaceful Earth


Post a Comment

<< Home