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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why Hip Hop Sucks, Pt. 2

"...Given their historic indifference to the treatment of Black women, as evidenced by the magazine's nearly pornographic ads and photo spreads, as well as its blind eye towards the remainder of hip-hop misogyny, it appears that Benzino and The Source were fighting for exclusive rights to call and treat Black women like bitches and hos -- no White man was gonna do it for 'em....

"A relative once told me 'Never eat watermelon in front of White people!' His advice was based on the belief that if White people saw Black people doing stereotypical things, it would serve to reinforce racism and somehow justify continued unequal treatment. This same ideology causes me to look around for White people whenever I see Lil' Jon on television, and internally cringe when my White colleagues ask me to explain his antics. Lil' Jon's image, which amounts to postmodern minstrelsy or what Jeff Chang calls 'crunkface,' serves as a brutal reminder of the poverty of Black representation in the mass media. While Lil' Jon is certainly not the first Stepin Fetchit throwback that hip-hop has seen — figures like Flava Flav and Ol' Dirty Bastard can certainly claim OC (original coon) status — Lil' Jon somehow manages to strip his identity of any self awareness and complexity that his predecessors possessed. In place of Flav's musical activism and ODB's Five Percenter allusions is Lil' Jon's lyrically impoverished rants that are just plain 'ign'ant', even under hip-hop standards....

"Some intellectuals have argued that 'pimp' is merely a metaphor that has been appropriated by the hip-hop generation and given a new and redemptive meaning. This wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility if the people historically designated as 'hoes' were refashioning the pimp, as Black people have done with 'nigger.' But how can the very people who enable and benefit from the hateful practices that normalize pimping (in this case, the male-driven hip-hop industry) suddenly decide to separate it from its vicious history? That's like George W. Bush saying, 'Nigger, no longer means what it used to mean to Blacks. Okay niggers?'"

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Booker T. Washington said:

"There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs....There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

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