Last night an altercation broke out at The BET Hip Hop Awards. You can read all the details at our sister-site by clicking: 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards Recap.
Once again a joyous celebratory event is marked by a few knuckle heads acting up.
Gangsta rap started in the late Eighties from the West Coast of America. It was rap’s seamy underbelly and very different from the conscious educating mind enhancing Public Enemy and Grandmaster Flash. As child of the 1980’s I was quiet aware of the “black problem and issues”. Growing up in a minority neighborhood watching the crack epidemic rip the heart and soul out it, is pretty much a journey that one never forgets. Rap music was a voice of that generation. It voiced the frustrations of poverty, profiling and struggle.
Now it is all swagger, promiscuity and outright noise!
Cable channels show rap videos of young, primarily black men swaggering, pack-like, through grimy estates, pulling imaginary triggers with their fingers. Young men who perceive violence as cool. Marketing executives, who grow rich from the sales of the brand-name hoodies. Real hip hop impresarios such as T.I. , Lupe Fiasco and even the formidable Jay Z have moved on to realms where respect is carried on without idiocy.
Many in the industry are starting to see it too!
This music is preaching bone-deep dislike of authority and provides support to antisocial behavior. This behavior plays out at award shows, streets, venues and wherever else it is necessary. How many brawls will be necessary to prove that “you are a man”? Why is the first response of to throw up your fists? Black crime and violence are accepted as perfectly natural, even appropriate, responses to the supposed dehumanization and poverty inflicted by a racist society. Seriously? Do we just cop out and accept that this is how we are destined to live? These grown men no longer live “in the ghetto”. They no longer struggle paycheck to paycheck.
One of my favorite rap lyrics came from a track “Self Destruction”:
Back in the sixties our brothers and sisters were hanged/ How could you gang-bang?
I never ever ran from the Ku Klux Klan/ and I shouldn’t have to run from a black man
There is something truly sad and tragic about the fact that blacks have become the main agents in disseminating debilitating, racist images of themselves. Many hip-hop defenders pull the “others do it too” trick to justify their “creativity”. They point to the Godfather movies or The Sopranos as proof that violence and vulgarity are widespread in American popular culture, so that singling out hip-hop for condemnation is simply bigotry. Yet such a defense is pitifully weak. No one really looks for a way of life to emulate or a political project to adopt in The Sopranos. But for many of its advocates, hip-hop, with its fantasies of revolution and community and politics, is more than entertainment. It forms a bedrock of young black identity.
Nonetheless, it seems we’re doomed to keep talking about the shows that do end in battery and police calls because we are becoming the butt of our own jokes.
Do you agree ?
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