Thursday, October 21, 2004

Pimps, Whores and Everyday Culture...Where's the Dividing Line?

Several years back, I was visiting a Subway in Atlanta for lunch, and I met this 3-year-old girl who had to be the sweetest child I had seen. She was the kind of cute that makes you want to clone her, box her up and sell her to other deserving little girls for Christmas. Truly adorable!

So, while I’m waiting on my food, me and the little girl start to chat. I realized, after about three sentences, that this child was wise well beyond her years. Her conversation was fluent, and her comprehension literally floored me. So, I said, “You are such a sweet and smart little girl. I hope, when I have a daughter, that she is as smart as you are.”

“How old is your little girl,” said the adorable doll-baby.

“I don’t have a little girl yet,” I said, still amazed that we are having such a thorough conversation.

“Oh, so you had an abortion?”

Well damn! Needless to say, my adoration reverted to shock as I tried desperately to figure out how this child, regardless of how well spoken and astute she was, could possibly know anything about abortions…let alone how to use the word in its proper context.

I tried to imagine the world she lived in that would make her assume that the only reason a young woman my age (I was in my early 20s) would not have a child would be because of an abortion. My heart sank at this disturbing lack of innocence.

So, as I was re-reading the post about Snoop Dogg and the other fools that have nurtured the impression that hip-hop culture and full-fledged fuckery were one in the same, this particular situation came to mind. And I wondered to what degree we could blame the innocence lost on our youth on the recent pop culture embrace of pimping and whoring as the new lifestyle of choice.

First and foremost, let me just put it out there that I DO NOT consider these pop-culture numbskulls to be accurate reflections of hip-hop culture, nor are they true reflections of where the culture is headed. They are, in my opinion, an unfortunate by-product of hip-hop music, offering the genre and the music industry no real creativity at all. They are simply puppets who are willing to regurgitate the same messages and themes over and over again.

“I’m the greatest muthafucka out there.”

“All my homies are some bad muthafuckas.”

“We buy all the shit that regular people can’t afford (and we can’t even spell).”

“And we get all the women!”

Those four themes seem to resonate over every mainstream beat that kids dance to these days. And it’s sad.

Now, it’s truly not the responsibility of anybody in the fuckery-rap industry to raise other peoples’ children. There are no laws that suggest that their daily code of conduct needs to be any more polished than the average Joe Blow. However, there is a certain responsibility that comes with the job of an entertainer…the same way every other job has its own share of burdens and obligations. If you’re in the public eye, your standards should be different. You shouldn’t just put out anything you want to for everybody to see. At least that’s what I think.

In other words, you cannot be Snoop Dogg walking two dumb-ass chickenheads down the red carpet of an awards show on dog leashes, with collars around their necks and no real clothing to speak of—especially when you know this award show caters to an audience of primarily teens and tweens. And you cannot take a credit card and swipe it down the crack of a woman’s ass the way Nelly does in one of his shitty rap videos. There really should be a dividing line between porn and the everyday images we see.

And, I’m not just blaming the entertainers. I’m taking my beef to the networks, too, for allowing the shit to dominate their airwaves.

Now, as I type this post, I wonder if my comments place me in the realm of a prude. Yeah, I’m all for free speech, and I even think that sometimes, there is a certain art to porn. I just think there is a time and a place for everything, and that we need to do a better job of protecting our kids from the images they see. And we need to do a better job of demanding creativity and originality from our entertainers, and stop allowing them to just do the same thing album after album and video after video. It’s like buying toilet paper…every damn sheet looks and feels the same.

Since there are so many kids in the world who do not have strong networks at there disposal to show them that the words “nigga” and “bitch” aren’t really terms of endearment, shouldn’t we be demanding more from the entertainment world to protect them? A 3-year-old should not have his/her innocent mind cluttered with words like “abortion.” Kids have their entire lives to experience all the fuckery the world has to offer. Can’t we at least spare them the bullshit when they are young?

So, since I’m admittedly not qualified to come up with an answer to what I consider to be a serious and growing problem, I look to your opinions for assistance. What should be the dividing line between what is acceptable and not acceptable for public viewing on television? What responsibility should entertainers have for keeping their slackness out of the viewing eyes and listening ears of young people? When we catch a 5-year-old girl chanting songs like “Where Dem Dollas At” while popping her cutchie like a Super Ho, should we smile and say, “that’s cute” or knock her on her little ass? Are we going too far in this society with the images we see and accept? And how do we solve the problem of children growing up without positive influences at their disposal?

This inquiring mind wants to know…so holla at me.

21 Comments:

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Rod said...

Sorry it I didn't read your post earlier. The mere size of it intimidated me, but now I know why its so long. I feel the same way you do. I am ashamed of most hip hop music. Being 31 I have had the privilege of seeing the birth of hip hop music, and it was beautiful, fun, thoughtful, and raunchy. But I was never afraid of it ... until NWA. I resisted them for years, until I heard “Nuthing But a G'Thing” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. I know that isn't NWA but I was the first gansta song I couldn't resit. But rap got worse when white America started to accpet it, than it was “Amos and Andy” all over again, accept they have more money. (Wait I'm going off track lets get back to actually answering the questions you wanted answered.)

What should be the dividing line between what is acceptable and not acceptable for public viewing on television?
TV is going to show what people want to see. It is a mirror of society (that's why we stare at it, because we are always trying to see ourselves). They are going to show what makes the most money, and gets the most viewers. I personally think that they should not show most of the stuff they show on TV until after 9pm. At least the kids should be in bed by then.

What responsibility should entertainers have for keeping their slackness out of the viewing eyes and listening ears of young people?
I don't think they have responsibilities, they are just here to entertain. They do a good job of it to, look how pissed off they got us. I will say that I will support and respect entertainers that are more family orientated or at least have some dignity. Will Smith, Denzel, Kanye West, The Roots, Jill Scott, Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, and entertainers like them will always have my support.

When we catch a 5-year-old girl chanting songs like “Where Dem Dollas At” while popping her cutchie like a Super Ho, should we smile and say, “that’s cute” or knock her on her little ass?
My two little blessings from God will not degrade themselves by “popping their cutchie” or “dropping it like its hot”, or act like some “girl gone wild”. Hopefully I will raise them so that they know they are better than that, and that their strength is not in the flesh. And if I catch them or any kids I love acting like they are in some rap video, I will knock all of them on their little asses (if I have their parents permission).

Are we going too far in this society with the images we see and accept?
Yes. We feed our souls candy, chips, soda, and beer; then wonder why we get they shits. Accepting sin is easy, but it doesn't leave you feeling good about life or yourself.

And how do we solve the problem of children growing up without positive influences at their disposal?
Be an upright parent or role model, lead by example, don't let shit slide, fear God, remember what got you where you are, reach one teach one, don't support the negative or weak, and remember the people who love you and act like they are with you all the time (because they are).

 
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