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.

I Got A Crib, Ya'll!

Okay…I’m not homeless. In fact, I’ve truly pulled a George and Weezy with my new home. It’s really funny how God works. Just when you think something can’t be done, He pulls a last-minute rabbit out of His hat that completely changes your perspective.

This whole moving thing was one such situation. Everybody knows why I had to move. And everybody knows how pathetic my options were looking all of one week prior to my scheduled move date. Yeah…the situation was getting ugly for a minute, and I was not trying to have to move home to live with my folks again after 30.

So just when I had abandoned all sense of hope, (less than seven days before my move date, in fact) I got a call from one of my best friends. She’s got a crib to die for that she just bought about a year ago. It’s the perfect starter home, especially for a single female. It has four levels, including a finished basement, and plenty of room to grow. The only problem was that none of the units were available. And anyway, I only had one week to find a place and move into it. Every bit of wisdom I had suggested that you just can’t buy a house that fast—especially if you have credit that looks like mine.

But, my friend called nonetheless to report that her neighbor (who lives only two doors away) was moving to the West Coast to take care of her father who was ill…and she wasn’t coming back. Originally, the woman wanted to rent out her townhouse, but the person she was going to rent to flaked at the last minute. At the time of my friend’s call, the woman had less than two days to come up with a solution for unloading her home.

So, I called her.

“Hi, this is Justine, Aldree’s friend. I’m interested in your townhouse.”

“Oh yes! I’m glad you called. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this place. Did Aldree tell you what happened?”

“Yes, she told me. And I would say that I was sorry for your trouble, but I’m actually kind of excited about it instead.” I knew Aldree had given her the scoop on my interests, so I wasn’t fearful she would think I was a smartass by that last comment.

“Yeah, she told me you’d been in love with these townhouses since she bought hers. But I’m not sure that I want to rent mine anymore. It’s just going to be too much trouble. And with everything that I’m going to face when I get to my father’s, I just don’t want this house to turn into a burden for me down the road.”

“I wholeheartedly understand,” I said, now trying to sound more sympathetic and less giddy. “Would you consider doing a land contract on the place? I can’t buy it outright at this moment, but in a year, I could. The land contract would obligate us both.” I was truly winging it because I didn’t know a damned thing about land contracts. Turns out, she didn’t either.

“I might be willing to consider that. Why don’t you stop by so we can talk about it?”

I got to the woman’s place on Monday evening, and brought my mother along to help with the comfort factor. Most people who meet my mother just assume that I have common sense because she’s so grounded. I’ve made it a habit over the years that, whenever possible, to bring Mom along before I settle on a place to live.

Mom and I did the grand tour, although I already knew the place was exactly what I was looking for. After the tour, we went down to the family room in the basement to talk particulars. Mom convinced her that the land contract idea was the way to go, because it would bind both parties on an impending sale. But even though our logic made sense, the woman naturally needed to consult her own network just to be sure.

So, I left the house that Monday evening still with no place to go on Saturday when it would be time to move.

Tuesday, I called the woman to follow up. She had been so consumed with her arrangements to get to the West Coast, that she hadn’t had a chance to check my background and solidify our game plan. So, I went to bed that evening with homelessness still on the horizon.

But then Wednesday rolled around. She was already on the West Coast, but she called to tell me she had completed all the background checks, and was happy to have me as her temporary tenant. She said “temporary” because she would come back in one month to convert the lease to a land contract.

God is truly good all the time.

So I have moved into my new crib and my only problem is coming up with enough furniture to fill it the way it deserves to be filled. I’m in no particular rush, since I’m going to buy the place.

I certainly appreciate the concern of friends like BeautifulTalker who has inquired about my well-being during my prolonged absence from this blog. It has been a rough month, but one that ended on the best possible note there could be (especially since winning a lottery with Oprah money as the jackpot wasn’t an option).

I’m back, BEEYATCH!

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