That NEW Adage

A pressure-relief valve about God, and just about everything else.

As John Mayer said, “Keep me where the LIGHT is!”

So, let’s see… In a span of two weeks we have a congressman heckling the President in hallowed halls, Serena Williams gets all un-Jehovah’s Witness on a line judge, and Kanye interrupts a live broadcast to demand a recount.

And now everyone’s lamenting the loss of “civility.” As if it only JUST broke the surface! I was angry at Joe Wilson, ashamed at Serena, and ready to re-break Kanye’s jaw. But these latest incidents are not what we should be decrying. We lost our minds a lonnnnnng time ago! These people are just ratifying what this society has been lobbying for for years.

We wanted fewer restrictions on what was considered “normal” behavior. We wanted to be free to say whatever and hear whatever we wanted on the airwaves. (Remember when, “Frankly, my dear…” was controversial?) Now, you can see a naked butt and have it accurately described at 7 PM. No biggie. In fact, no sexual organ is off limits as to the basest description of it. I’ve heard pretty much all of them. Every few years another of those forbidden words — thirteen of them, I believe — is knocked off the list and available for my three-year-old to perfect. Yeah, I can turn the channel and turn the other cheek, but after a while there will be no channels left, and I’m out of cheeks! And I can’t disappear.

We wanted to be like France, Amsterdam, and other progressive European countries. We got it. We are in the process of being given over to our collective desires. They have legalized drug use and whorehouses set up like Macy’s (I’ve seen them). They have affairs like we have lunch in the afternoon. They have no sexual hang-ups. They have soap commercials with lathered up boobs floating on the water and no one gets uptight.

“If France jumped off a bridge, would YOU?!?”

We’re on our way, though! We have daycares in schools for all the students’ babies, we throw them baby showers rather than counsel kids on the seriousness of the problem they’ve created. Little girls dance like strippers, and every month another leader has to drag his haggard-looking wife in front of a phalanx of cameras to apologize for hooking up with a co-worker! 

 And rather than deal honestly with the growing issue, we laugh at Christians and call them sexually repressed. The deck is stacked.

 

When I was a kid, if we accidentally cursed in front of an adult somewhere, we could expect to get snatched up quicker than the Rapture! Now, kids cuss in front of me and anyone else with impunity. They know their little butts are made of gold. Thanks, Oprah! Your work here is done!

Marijuana and ordinary cigarettes have switched places. Weed is cool, but if you smoke nicotine, folk look at you like you’re fondling a kid!

You can’t tell a child in school his answer is wrong anymore. You can’t even frown at them. You surely can’t spank them! When I was a kid — we used to call them that. Kids — we didn’t have car seats. You put the baby up in the back window, the middle one in the front between Ma and Pa, and the other four or five were in the back somewhere. We could even ride in the back of pick-up trucks (I loved sitting on the hump or the toolbox!)! Now, if you have to get gas and you have more than two children and no debit card, be prepared to haul all those suckers into the Mapco! If Li’l Johnny’s nose starts to run, we rush him to the doctor. They can’t ride bikes in the street or play out of our line of sight.

My point is that we enact surface rules to seem as though we care so much more nowadays, but we poison their minds and make them weak and soft. We give them everything they think they MUST have, but we let them talk to us any way they see fit. (not MY kids!!)

We deify celebrities. They know they are unassailable. They can be on camera in a hot tub screwing around with the wife and the nanny, and it is all good! Cover of “People” magazine the next week! They can leave a heartbroken spouse, shack up with the co-star, adopt a couple of Cambodian babies and be labeled “Humanitarian Power Couple.” We are SO stupid!! They can get married and divorced like we change pants, and we rush to be just like them.

Things which used to be hands-down egregious wrongs, which were debatably errors recently, are now just fine — in fact — laudable! The only sin nowadays is to notice one. We’re eVOLving!

Don’t get me started on that! As if, just because a monkey has thumbs, we used to BE monkeys! Chairs have legs, too! Was my great-grandmama a Queen Anne?!?

The word “Stigma” has been stigmatized. We are ashamed of the word “Ashamed.” It’s wrong to say, “Wrong.” Saying “No” is a no-no.

But we want to have conferences and panel discussions because Serena cussed a heffa out in the heat of battle and denied saying what she said thirty seconds later!

Why should she edit herself (like I do!)? We gave her the license to do it. She re-invented the booty.

Why should we scold Kanye West for running up in an awards show choking a bottle of Hennessey like it was a lifeline and snatching a little girl’s moment away forever? He’s Kanye, fool! He makes the heads nod!

“Don’t judge me!” you all said. And NOW, you wanna judge what these folk did?!? On what basis do YOU judge? Your own  sense of right from wrong? Your own  standard? But don’t you remember, you’ve spent the last few decades stripping away  at that standard so you can say a$$ on teevee! Don’t start trying to make judgements now!!

These folk — and Joe, and Roger Federer,  and the town hall criers and the sexual lobbyists and the teenyboppers on stripper poles and the rest — are but acorns on a giant oak tree of iniquity that threatens to darken us all with its shadow.

Prince pushed the envelope back in the eighties, but now the IS no envelope. We got e-mail… And one heckuva virus!

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September 16, 2009 Posted by | Celebrities, Celebrity, Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, Civility, Culture, Current Events, Glory, God, Joe Wilson, Kanye West, Rant, Serena Williams, VMA's | 3 Comments

What’s so Amazing about “Amazing?”

Why do some people use that word so much? Especially in reality shows like “The Real World,” “The Bachelor,” “Rock of Love,” and any other show where people who don’t know each other and are thrust together for the sole purpose of hooking up while we voyeuristically watch? Celebrities wear it out, too! “The director was amazing.” “This movie was an  amazing experience!” “Angelina was just so amazing that I just had to leave my first wife — who used to be amazing. Not so much now…

Overkill indeed! And it’s always spoken with three “a’s” in the middle of it for emphasis and extra amaaazingness. “I had an amaaazing time.” “You’re an amaaazing woman.” “Your body is amaaazing!” You would think they were juggling chainsaws and baking a cake while breastfeeding twins and bathing a cocker spaniel while looking super-hot! Now THAT would be amaaazing!

It is so awkwardly obvious what is going on. It is the verbal equivalent of buying a woman a drink in a club. As subtle as renting a porno movie.

They can’t ALL be amaaazing, can they? If they are, why are they lined up to do reality shows? If they are all amaaazing, where are the regular people? If every thing, situation, and blonde, and brunette is so amaaazing, why is the world so jacked up? If every parent, every child (mine are!) and every relationship is amaaazing, what do we say when we see a nine-month-old who can read, or a savant who can’t speak but can play Chopin, or Stevie Wonder, or Ben Carson, or that father who pushed his paraplegic son through an entire marathon because of a prior wish? Nope. Can’t call it amaaazing because you guys totally, literally diluted the uniquity — if you will — of that term to make some floozy think you were intense!

Save the superfluous superlatives for superlative situations. (I had to sit back and admire that one! Sorry.)

That goes for “miracle,” and “genius,” too!

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Advice, Celebrities, Celebrity, Culture, Current Events, Food for Thought, Humor, Hyperbole, Language, Relationships, Sex, Sexuality, Shallow People, Show Business, Stuff I Hate, Television, Things That Make You Go Hmmm, Words | 3 Comments

Death Wears Three Shoes. Two Have Fallen…

“Hey, Derrick, we got a possible session comin’ up, and it’s BIG. I don’t wanna say anything yet, ’cause I might jinx it,” my trumpet player friend, Marc Franklin, told me a couple of months ago.

I didn’t press the issue because I’ve had a number of false alarms in the past.

It turns out that it IS happening. Tomorrow, August 11, we are (were) scheduled to play behind Anthony Hamilton and other notables on the soundtrack of the upcoming movie, “Soul Men” directed by Malcolm D. Lee, Spike’s cousin,  starring Samuel L. Jackson, the late Bernie Mac, and the — Lord, help us — late Isaac Hayes! I didn’t even have a chance to be happy about the whole thing because Marc had played everything so close to his vest that I didn’t even know that I was to be part of the music to the movie. I was fired up about the chance to shoot my shot with r&b artist Hamilton.

It hurt to hear about Bernie Mac simply because he was so genuine and funny. I always loved that dude. I didn’t even know I was working on his LAST FILM!

And then today, as I was at my folks’ house trying to get my usual Sunday afternoon nap (since I don’t ever go to sleep on Saturday nights anymore), I heard Kathy screaming from the distance and getting ever closer to where I was. “Isaac Hayes just died!” I sat up.

“WHAT?!?”

“They killin’ all the black people!!” she lamented. “First Bernie, now this! I can’t take it! Who next?!?” She was pretty upset.

You know they always say these things come in threes.

So, needless to say, tomorrow’s session is cancelled. See, Isaac is in the movie, too (unbeknownst to me), and the guys who played on the “Shaft” score with him, Skip Pitts (wa wa guitar) and Willie Hall (all those drums), are in the group that I often play with, and they are doing this project. They were at the studio when they got the news, and it was, I’m told, not pretty.

Isaac is the icon of Memphis music. He was one of the pioneers who got out and did it BIG. I can say with honor that I have played with him a few times and have spoken with him. Cool dude! Truck Turner in the flesh!  And, as I found out, he was a real musician who knew the music.

I was playing in the horn section at a NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) event a couple of years ago (nearly eerily where I met Morgan Freeman). We were honoring hometown Stax Records and Memphis musicians, among them William Bell, Justin Timberlake (when he was still with Cameron Diaz), and Isaac Hayes.

At a rehearsal, he came in to check out the band. We were working on a song of his, and one of the charts had some funny voicings for the horns. Isaac came over with a smile and asked us to play what was on the paper. I was like, “Man! Isaac Hayes is right in front of me listening to me play! Don’t mess up!”

We got into it, and I thought I was killin’ it when he stopped us…

“Play that again. Just the horns,” he baritoned. (“Wow! Sounds jus’ like hisself! I kin dig it!”)

We played the section again, and he looked at me and stopped us again. “Gimme your chart.” Cool as butter.

“See this ‘B’ right here? Play a ‘B’ flat. ” He basically re-voiced the whole chord. But I thought, “Naw. That ain’t right. He must have mis-read it. This is like major, and that note ain’t even in the key. It’s gonna clash, and everbody is gonna think it was me. He IS kinda old. I’m ‘on play a ‘B’ natural.”

So we played it again. See, I’m trying to impress Isaac Hayes with my abilities.

“Stop. Did you play that ‘B’ flat like I told you?”

My black face turned red. On the inside. “Aw. My bad. I musta missed it.”

He was still smiling at me.

So we hit it again, and I played the ‘B’ flat. Man, that chord rang out as pretty and altered as some Miles or some Monk or something!!

I looked up at Isaac and he had a grin on his face wider than an Atlanta expressway! I couldn’t do anything but laugh! We spoke no words, but here is what we said:

“Isaac! Maaaannn, you know yo’ stuff!”

“Yeahhh, young buck, they ain’t just invent music five years ago. I’m thru wit’ stuff you ain’t even heard of yet!”

“I’m impressed! My daddy got your records, but that whuppin’ you just gave me raises you waaay up in my book! I ain’ gone never forget this lesson! (I break verbs an assault adjectives and murder modifiers in my thoughts.)”

“You keep on playin’. You gone be all right. Just listen to the old heads.”

All that with a glance and two smiles. Isaac Hayes is — was — thorough! And now, he’s in the hands of the Lord.

Death hurts. The living as well as the departed, maybe the living hurt more. It is cool to have a few memories, but the pain of all this is a memory, too, and they kind of all go together. Otherwise, it would be like watching the first thirty minutes of a movie and leaving before the end.

I never got the chance to even wonder what it would be like to talk to Bernie Mac at the premiere. And the fact that I have interacted with Hayes makes his passing even more poignant.

It’s just not right to be speaking of these men in the past tense.

August 11, 2008 Posted by | Bernie Mac, Celebrity, Current Events, Death, Hollywood, Isaac Hayes, Life, Movies, Music, News, Show Business, Soul Men, Work | 5 Comments

A Few Words About the WORD…

Last week, on that feminist staple, “The View,” a big dust-up broke out about the use of THE “N” WORD. The thick-tongued titan of civil rights, Jesse Jackson was caught saying it in an off-air moment. The black cast members of the show were trying to explain to the white ones why there is an acceptable double standard in the usage of that fully loaded word.

Off the subject, are we still looking to Jesse for guidance? For what to do or NOT to do? That’s like me trying to get my butter from the milkman. I was through with him when he went on Bill Maher’s show and talked about “the mythology” of the Genesis account of creation!

I have a few hairs I have to wax off my chest…

Who is really surprised that some — many — most — black folk use it in their speech? Is it really that , “OMG! I can’t believe the Right Reverend would stoop to say such a vile thing!”? Or is it that, “If HE says it, why does the world stop when someone white says it?”

I posit that it is the latter. By a landslide.

The truth — that only God (and I) know — is that many white folk use the word, too. At the very  least all those white kids who buy up all the hip-hop can’t help but use it! More on that later. White folk, represented here by Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Barbara Walters, imply, “If YOU use it, why can’t I?”

I will tell you why, and in the foregone words of my parents, “Don’ asss me no moe!” I’m tired of this!:

The reason you can’t say that word is the same reason you can’t come into MY house and call My kid ugly. (My kids ain’t ugly!) The reason is that there are certain things that can be said in certain environments by certain people at certain times that are unacceptable for others to say. That’s the way it is, and you know it! There are certain things I would say to my own that YOU had better not say. They are the benefits of having a shared experience. People who have been through the same stuff have a fraternal bond that anyone outside that group cannot share. Football players, holocaust survivors, Italians… That is life.

Listen, people are crude. All of us. That’s why we need a Jesus. We do and say rough things. Two old friends greeting each other after a long separation; “Hey! Howya doin, ya tub a’ lard?!? Who’s ya’ barber? God?” Guys talk to each other like that when they are close and are sure of the affection of the other guy. That is key!

Women regularly use the infamous “B” word, a word almost as loaded as that other one. I used to work for the blues singer, Denise LaSalle. She used the word in reference to her self on her album cover. But had I called her that (I love her, but she used to make me really angry when we would stop for her to eat an hour away from home on a twelve hour trip!), I’d have been fired like a Saturday Night Special! Like a cop’s gun in the ghetto. Too rough? I haven’t been what she is, and I haven’t suffered what she has. And I don’t sit and freekin’ long for the right to call her a female dog!

Women can call each other, “girl,” “honey,” and “sweetie” without issue. A man can’t. I’m cool with that.

There are disparaging terms for every racial group. Who sat and thought up these words? The popular ones? Ask yourself that one… And every racial group has within it people who regularly employ those terms in reference to each other. To NO offense! I have heard it, and so have you. I don’t cry about why I can’t use them.

It is funny that the most innocuous racial terms are the ones used in reference to white folk. Shoot, you can still hear them clear as day on Nick at Nite, for goodness sake! “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family”… Incidentally, the word, “cracker” is NOT a reference to white folks’ skin color. It refers to the fact that in slavery, the white man was the “whip cracker.” Dig that! That makes it a whole ‘nother kind of slur.

When I hear Barbara Walters ask why she can’t say the word, I ask myself why she would want to.

This is what black people have to do; When we meet white people, we have to figure out whether they are genuine or not. When we get overlooked in a store, the added element of, “I wonder if it is ’cause I’m black, or are they just absent-minded” always factors in. We have to add an extra step to most of our inter-racial interminglings. That’s the way it is. And when white folk whine about why “the blacks get to say it and we can’t,” it makes our Spidey Sense tingle. It makes us wonder “You mean, ‘the blacks get to say it, and we can’t in public’, right?”

And when I hear Mrs. Hasselbeck suggest that no one be allowed to use it, I say that if you are saying that on the basis that all crude speech is wrong on a Christian level, I agree. But if you are saying that I cannot, by your edict, refer to myself or a member of my “family” in a certain way, you are out of your yard and need to hit the brakes. Black folk didn’t invent the word anyway. I submit that it is not wise to go around trying to tell those at the bottom of the pile what they can and cannot say.

To be honest, that word is a rope that pulls every bit of centuries of shed blood, broken families, hacked-off limbs, raped women, forced labor, disconnected heritage, “Christian” hypocrisy, castrated bucks, burned and lynched bodies, subjugation, segregation, disenfranchisement, misrepresentation, beating, terrorism, third class education, and intimidation with it, and rather than deal with it, many would simply wish it away than hear it.

White people, in spite of the rantings of The Angry White Man, have all power — Obama notwithstanding. And just as television makes the daddy the buffoon and comedians make endless jokes about politcians, the person on top has — or should have — thicker skin due to having all the control and all the privilege. Black folk have pig knuckles and chitlins ’cause that was all that was left. All the little people have is a joke or two. Do you have to say the word, too?

It is the same reason that it is more acceptable to mock a white person’s vocal inflection than a black, asian, or Mexican’s way of speaking. They have more likely had the benefit of a high-caliber education. It is hard to slur someone who has all the stuff!

And all that stuff about “we took the pain out of the word” is a bunch of Bug Snot! (Can we still say bug snot? ) That word still has pain. Black folk never had a meeting and said, “How can we take the pain out of that word? I know! Let’s take it from white folks and use it among ourselves all the time and on records and in various media, and soon it won’t hurt no more and white folks will have no power!” The fact is that people often say rough things. That is why folks aways want to learn the curse words when visiting a foreign-language-speaking country. The “N” word is no different. There was no conscious effort to take the sting from the word.

The entertainers and rappers I her parroting this nonsense make me as angry as the folk who want to say it do! It is a cop- out. A one-legged rationalization! (No offense to all the one-legged folk out there…) You say it because it is fun to cuss, and that is all. There is no artistic, scientific reason behind it. Quit trying to be DEEP! (Richard Pryor was a genius, I think. He took authentic black life, language and all, and made it political satire)

I am ashamed when I hear the word used around white folk. And with the devolution of hip-hop, we have critically injured ourselves artistically and are probably being laughed at by many of those who hear it. I am a musician, and I think that hip-hop is very close to being the black face, Jim Crow minstrelry of the new millennium! Being a musician, I can say this without repercussion. I’m in the group…

A lot of times when black folk see other black folk engaging in embarrassing behavior (house shoes and rollers in the grocery store) that word is uttered in shame. “They makin’ it hard on the rest of us!”

A lot of the white folk who use it in secret will say that they only use it in reference to those who make trouble, King, Malcolm, Sharpton, Jackson, Ali, etc. In other words, those who holler when they get hit! In still other words, black folk they see!

Interesting dichotomy.

My kids will be taught not to use that word. But on the basis that God doesn’t accept crude speech. Not because it offends white people.

I wish the word didn’t exist. I wish rappers would stop using it. I wish that I didn’t KNOW that some of my neighbors mutter it when they see me outside. But I also wish that leaves wouldn’t die and that milk didn’t turn sour.

July 22, 2008 Posted by | Barbara Walters, Black Life, Celebrity, Civil Rights, Culture, Current Events, Entertainment, Race, Racial Reconciliation, Racism, Rant, The N Word, The View, Whoopi Goldberg | 18 Comments

“What about if…if ya FAMOUS???”

…Uttered that well-known bigamist songster, Dewey Cox, in “Walk Hard.”

Those words must have been also said by R. Kelly upon being charged with videotaping sex acts with a minor child. We are a culture which deifies our celebrities.

“You can’t pee on a fourteen-year-old child, Mr. Kelly.”

“You can’t have sex with young girls, Mr. Kelly.”

“You can’t marry them either.”

“What about if… if ya famous? What if you write songs that make people think they can fly? What if we did it for love, with a Chicago two-step groove? What if… if you write bumpin’ tracks that make booties shake? Ain’t nuthin’ wrong wit a little bump and grind! Even if the grindee is fifteen. Age ain’t nothin but a number. They be feelin’ me in tha hood, feel me? I re-invented Ronnie Isley, n’umsayin’?! I created the twelve part song/video! I got a movie deal for the idea now.

“Ain’t nobody gone convict me! I’m gifted! My lawyers will delay this thang so long that all the witnesses will be in the AARP by the time we go to trial! And those who do talk won’t have nothing to say. A little Velveeta goes a long way! Besides, that wasn’t me! I don’t care if the cops came in and caught me in mid-stream… Deny deny deny! Nope! Wuddn’ me! That was my brother or somebody… I got a mole. He don’t. He ball headed, I got a afro. You can’t grow moles and afros in eight years. What? My history of having ‘relations’ wit all them other minors is immaterial! (Learned that one from my counselors) The wheels of Justice turn slow enough for me to get out the way first, playa.

“I’m famous. We get off. On tape and on trial. Where my parade at?”

I guess it’s NOT illegal, then. I tell you what… Bett’ not be MY daughter!

June 14, 2008 Posted by | Celebrity, Culture, Current Events, Entertainment, Music, R. Kelly, Show Business | 2 Comments

Let Me Vent For A Moment.

What defines a worthy expense of a life? Do you have to cure a disease, or feed an entire nation? Do you have to build a corporation from scratch, or save lives weekly? I don’t know that we have to succeed to that degree, but what I do know is that, Nicold Richie, Perish Hilton, Lindsey Lowhand, Brittly Spears and their entire ilk define the WASTE of life!They are no different than skid row, train-hopping, M.D. 20/20* drinking, trashcan burning, spare change begging CRACKheads! Only, the crackhead peddlers are at least TALENTED enough to create some of the most astoundingly convincing lies ever uttered.The fact that these “ladies” have money makes it worse.

More can be accomplished with such resources. More than endless, mindless parties, wrecked Bentleys, rehab stints, and sex videos. More than shopping sprees, license suspensions, photo ops with “dogs” that make rats look adorable, and tv shows that make me feel worse for watching than if I licked the floor of a biker bar at closing time!

It’s WAY bad enough that ”woman of the eeevening,” Li’l Kim**, and other “tough” hip-hop performers gain acclaim after run-ins with the law, and after doing time, but now we have socialites, rich, spoiled little divas, sparking world-wide frenzies doing the Perp Walk!! There is an entire segment of the cream of society that spend their whole lives doing heroin, doing cocaine, doing the club circuit, doing multiple partners, and doing nothing!

I see their disciples all the time at the frat parties I occasionally work. I hate it! These kids are catatonically drunk, often racist, and sadly, soon to be the pillars upon which our shriveling hopes rest.

Their conversations are frustratingly vacuous (“That pink blouse is HOT!”), their interests are superficial (“Oh, my God!, is that a Fendi bag?!”) and their thoughts don’t appear to be deep enough to douse a match! (“Yeah…, someday I wanna, like, feed all the hungry babies in Africa, end all the wars, and, like, such as, save the Arizonian rain forests!”). And these are adults!

Yet we immortalize them, we ”celebretize” them in tabloids and on gossip tv shows. We follow their every action, we appropriate their standard of beauty, we adopt their attitudes and their speech patterns, we ape their hairstyles, and we buy their “products.” (Why does every celebrity inevitably, boringly, launch a line of clothes, or some acrid fragrance? Or model? Or try to sing!?)

If these people are the “cream,” I’ll be content down here at the bottom of the glass with the seeds and pulp! They have so much influence, and all they use it for is to help drag down the standard of behavior for our entire population.

On the other hand, now that I think about it, they DO serve a purpose! They exist to make me feel better about myself. Thanks, Paris!

*A cheap, potent potable, if you will, liberally imbibed by the more darkly-hued discriminating  inner-city drunk.

**A stripper, prostit,  rapper.

August 29, 2007 Posted by | Britney spears, Celebrity, Current Events, Entertainment, Fame, Humor, Immorality, Li'l Kim, Life, Lindsey Lohan, Morality, Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, Rant | 1 Comment

I’ll Love You Forever. Right Now…*

A Married couple cannot “drift apart” if they are in the same boat!

                                                                                   Derrick L. Williams

*Or: “For Richer or For… WHAT?!?!”

August 28, 2007 Posted by | Celebrity, Commitment, Common Sense, Divorce, False Prophets, False Teachers, Food for Thought, Humor, Juanita Bynum, Life, Love, Marriage, Morality, Paula White, Pulpit Pimps, Quips, The Battle of The Sexes, Thomas Weeks | 5 Comments

TURN LOOSE THAT MICROPHONE!

TOO MANY PEOPLE HAVE A VOICE

Everybody has a forum today, and many of them don’t deserve it. And, yes, I DO taste the irony in my mouth… Everybody has a mic in his mouth and a camera in his face speaking his opinions and attitudes and predilections to the world, changing the idea of what is acceptable.
We — Blacks– are marketing a version of ourselves to the world that is distorted and degraded. We aren’t ALL about sangin and daincin and runnin and jumpin, which IS beautiful. We have surgeons and mechanics and pilots and programmers. But prison, gang life, and “skrip clubs”* are the prevailing images we present. We appear to be childishly materialistic and distressingly carnal.
We, like all cultures, have a well-rounded array of attributes to offer the world. Sadly, though, our entertainment-obsessed society refuses to be distracted long enough to notice anything except all the “Mantanning.” Just as the internet was immediately commandeered by porn-peddlers and identity thieves, hip-hop, once upbeat and promising, has been given over to the basest of human behavior in a relatively short time. As the beats got better, the content got darker. And I don’t want to hear that, “lt’s no different than ‘The Godfather’ ” argument! Marlon Brando never got into a fight with Robert DeNiro at the Academy Awards. John Wayne’s security never shot Kirk Douglas’ “manager” over some beef about who was the baddest fake gunslinger. Theirs was truly just MAKE BELIEVE!
Okay, you have a forum, now. Don’t use it to glorify the aspects of ghetto life that everyone generally wants to escape. Why is that not a fair request? Drug infestation, sexual irresponsibility, high crime, illiteracy…. What is good about any of this?

”If I wasn’t rappin’, I’ll probly be in jail.”

Nowadays, with the glorification of prison life I don’t see where that would be seen as a bad thing! Why not be in the midst of that which you glorify? Sagging pants, tattoos, untied shoes, ”down-low” brothahood, all these trends are said to come from jail. Prison chic. Whoda thunk it? What do you expect, though, with more brothers in jail or on probation than in college?
Let’s just get this straight: Ain’t NUTHIN cool about jail. If you wanna do something that proves how hard you are, join the Marines or go to Africa and kill a lion with a knife. Or marry the girl you impregnated, and stay there and raise freekin’ citizens! At least then, you wouldn’t have to worry about getting shanked in the throat or being raped or being forced to braid hair in a halter-top!
Another thing, everybody “on lock” ain’t a political doggone prisoner! Some people in jail actually did it! They ain’t all heroes or victims of racism (some are, to be sure). Let’s worry about rehabbing and returning to society with a positive story to tell. Prove to your people that you didn’t deserve to go, or that you regret what you did. Then you would be truly respected. As it is now, I don’t want my kids being role-modeled by some cat with a prison mentality.

“lf l wasn’t rappin’, l’ll probly be climbing through your window.”

And if l heard you, you’d probably be getting shot! Just kidding. No, l ain’t. So, your point is…? That if it weren’t for us giving you platinum chains, 22 inch rims, and a boat, you would just take what WE have? What makes that a cool thing to say? How does that make me wanna say, “Ooh, l gotta go get that ‘Gangstafied’ cd, cuz he so HORD! I gotta keep him paid so he don’t jack nobody.” So, you get it from us one way or another… l admire strength and power, too, but l want to know that a person has some artistic integrity before l go out and spend what l earned on him. People spend their food money on a lot of this trash, and all they get in return is a mind full of rotten potatoes and used baby diapers masquerading as art.
Kids who can barely speak (toddlers AND teens) quote this musical iodine like Scripture, talking about pimpin’ and stripping techniques and drug transactions and prison sentences.
But they can’t write a sentence!
The videos are so explicit, that I feel I need to put a trench coat on before I watch them. I’m not a Puritan, or a prude, but sex belongs in a context – a category – and a music video is not it. I don’t go to “skrip” clubs, or solicit prostitutes, or violate my marriage vows. Not because I’m so good and pure, but because I’m tethered to a Standard way higher than my own ability keep from to slipping and falling prey to my weaknesses. Stop pouring grease on a wet floor!

”If I wasn’t rappin’, I’ll probly still be sellin’ drugs. Thass how I paid f’ my firss album.”

Well. That’s cool to know. Selling drugs. At least you’re not perpetuating any STEREOTYPES and making it hard for me to, say, drive my nice car through a White neighborhood! Matter of fact, l can’t even BUY the car l like because that’s the one the ‘dope boys’ drive. What you do now is no different than selling drugs, anyway. The wanton, glorified violence and irresponsible sexuality you peddle is probably more insidious. And it is just as addictive and generally devoid of hope and purpose.
The “Not My Problem” rationale you employ so lamely is the same as the dealer’s:
“Iss the parent’s responsibility.” lt’s so obvious you heard somebody else say that.
“If you got a prahlem wit it, turn the channel.” To what? it’s everywhere! I can’t even watch a sitcom without hearing cursing! And every month, a new word gets admitted. Pretty soon, the only reason to watch pay TV will be to see snuff films and executions. Am I to be expected to walk through life blindfolded to keep from being offended? Is it now MY responsibility to sidestep your un-scooped poop?
“If l wasn’t givin’ it to ’em, SOMEbody would.”
But, why does it have to be YOU?
Well, take your ample share of the responsibility and wear it proudly. Wear proudly the fact that in so short a time, we have gone from martyrs in a righteous cause to the office joke. From glowing accomplishments to debauchery, from jazz to sequenced ignorance, from scatting to Ebonics. Be proud that in a community on the precipice of collapse, where practically NO one has a father, where children learn nothing in the way of discipline and order, where all they learn from the outside world is of the excess and permissiveness of the majority, where their souls are hemorrhaging at the brink of extinction, be proud that rather than help stop the bleeding, you instead rummage through their pockets taking what little hope they have left. The lessons they learn, YOU teach them, for you are all they hear. Your foul lyrics are the words to their too short life stories. “Selfish” is way too soft a word for what you do to your own people, your FAMILY, in a sense. And don’t bother thanking God for your “Shake it Like it’s Hot Up in Here” award, unless you mean to thank Him for not smiting you for producing so much gabbage! Don’t say you love Jesus for your material blessings, because HE said that,”What you do to the least of these, you do to ME.” Marinate on THAT!
And now ain’t the time to talk about what the White Man did. The White Man didn’t cause the over 70% out of wedlock birth rate or the outrageous murder rate. The White man didn’t tell you to drop out, or to not read a BOOK! He didn’t force the production of gangsta rap or the glorification of thug life. Nope, the Blame the White Man peg, sometimes justified, won’t fit in THIS hole. We did this one to ourselves. Deal with it. Change it. And GIVE that durn microphone to somebody who has something to SAY!

*Strip Clubs

July 2, 2007 Posted by | Art, Celebrity, Fame, Gangsta Rap, Hip-Hop, Music, Personal Responsibility, Race | 3 Comments