Hip-Hop 4 Black Unity – WE GOT ISSUES!
Major Components and Issues to be addressed
A) Negative images in Hip-Hop
Nigger/Bitch: An exploration of the terms, the cultural connotations of these terms, their connection to White Supremacy and finally a plan to combat their popular use.
Misogyny, Exploitation of Women: An investigation into the patriarchal and white male dominated music industry and their historical view of women in general and Black Women in particular, the current images of Black Women in Entertainment (Film/TV/Music/Videos, etc), the Historical context of the exploitation of Black Women Rape, Breeding, Slavery, Hottentot Venus, the Historical images of the Black Woman as mammy, jemima, vixen, jezebel. The hyper sexualization of the Black Woman.
Dehumanization and Demasculinization of the Black Male: The Dehumanizing image of the Black Man as a Thug or Gangsta, unfeeling and unemotional, cold blooded killer, absentee father, baby daddy and sexually unbridled are all parallels to the Historically negative images of the Black Man as savage, boogey man, coon, black buck run amuck, and Mandingo. If the Black Man is not dismissed as invalid by his projected uncontrollability and violent nature then he is made unthreatening by a softening process which parallels Black Male Castration. This Demasculinization of the Black Male is why most conscious or intelligent rappers are often ‘softer’ or become so after time. This is part of Acceptability and Mainstream Appeal Ex: The Bohemian projection of Common Sense, the friendly boy next door and non threatening projection of Mos Def, the clothes and hair and metamorphosis of Andre 3000. We can see this more clearly displayed in R&B where there is a certain level of Androgyny and Racial Ambiguity where artists become neither Black nor White nor Man nor Woman Ex: Michael Jackson, El DeBarge, Prince, Cisco.
Drug Use, Drug Sales: How does the glorification of Drug Use influence Black children and impact their decision whether or not to defile themselves by using drugs, therefore exposing them to a high risk lifestyle which could lead to a diminished mental capacity, diminished Health, Disease (namely HIV/AIDS), Incarceration, Death or Zombification (ex: crack or base heads)? How does the glorification of Drug Sales and the high rolling, baller/hustler lifestyle associated with it influence Black children to covet materialism and engage in the pursuit of illegitimate and illegal finances through drug sales therefore exposing them to a high risk lifestyle which could lead to death by violence or incarceration, and contributes to the negative condition of our people addicted to drugs and further supports and perpetuates the system of White Supremacy and the Amerikkkan Government which supplies the drugs as a tool of genocide? Further damage is caused when the fascination in this fleeting lifestyle also shifts children’s focus during their most crucial formative and developmental stages from viable educational and career opportunities and consumes precious time in pursuit of temporary and very risky benefits.
Black on Black Violence, “Beef”, Guns: What is the root of the promotion of Black on Black Violence versus the absence of any outward display or public expression of displeasure, anger or retaliation to the White Supremist Power Structure and Amerikkkan Government which has us in our unpleasant situation? Where is the current Hip-Hop generations admonishing cry of “You’re Headed for Self-Destruction”? What is the motivation behind “Beef” between individual artists as a public display of male machismo and bravado when the cowardice of silence on serious issues is so clear? Why are Guns promoted so heavily in Hip-Hop, why are guns so prevalent in our communities and who is responsible for and benefits from the influx of guns into the Black Community and the promotion of their use in popular music?
Note: I submit that the government has used AIDS, Crack and Guns as tools of genocide and not only created these things and distributed and/or dispersed them to the Black Community but also created horrible conditions and promoted these things through the use of their media (of which the entertainment industry is one component) to encourage their use amongst black people as a means of population control and ethnic cleansing. (In the case of AIDS, AIDS itself is not promoted rather unprotected and/or casual sex is promoted to thereby increase the AIDS infection rate.)
Black on Black Crime: Not only is Drug Use and Drug Sales glorified and promoted through Hip-Hop but there is also an overall endorsement or acceptance of a variety of criminal behavior, Assault & Battery, Theft, Rape, Underage Sex, Car Theft, Extortion, etc. While these types of behaviors are problematic in and of themselves what is even more troubling is that these activities almost always have Black People as the victims of these crimes and Black People as the perpetrators of these crimes. It is stereotypical to continue to promote Black People as a criminal people and furthermore factually baseless as historically we were the creators of Law and Justice and Morals and Ethics while Europeans were the practitioners of Crimes even going so far as to establish guilds and unions for illegal activities.
B) Racial Hypocrisy, Inconsistencies and Contradictions
Nigger vs. Cracker, Kill Niggers vs. Kill Whitey: Clearly Nigger is a word very heavily used in Hip-Hop. In comparison negative terms used to identify white people such as cracker, devil, ofay, honkey, are almost never used. This is clearly one more example of Mental Slavery; it illustrates the affects of Racism & White Supremacy and points out Institutional Amerikkkan Hypocrisy and Double Standards. It has been established in industry practice that the discussion of the killing of ‘niggers’ is fair game for Hip-Hop music; conversely the killing of white people is not. This contradiction must be addressed and corrected.
Race in Hip-Hop, White Supremacy in the Industry: With the current co-optation of Hip-Hop ala Jazz, Blues, Rock & Roll what role does race play in the creation/origin of Hip-Hop, the practice of Hip-Hop and the business of Hip-Hop? Who are the white people and the corporations who control and own the mechanisms through which Hip-Hop is processed? What is the personal History and Politics of those white people and what is the History of those corporations and do their policies and practices indicate a particular position either for or against Black people.
Music as a tool of Black Liberation/Black Power in Hip-Hop: How can music be used as a tool to edify our people, raise our collective consciousness, challenge our practices and encourage and nurture our future development? Can Hip-Hop be used as a weapon against the enemies of Black People and simultaneously be used as a healing and instructional vehicle for Black People?
C) Industry/Economic Development
Financial Irresponsibility: Young men from impoverished backgrounds with limited world view and education and no frame of reference or training are suddenly thrust upon new found wealth and expected to behave in a fiscally mature manner when there is no process to prepare or train them. The effect is that these individuals not only spend their own money frivolously but also encourage others to do the same who may not be in the same position by promoting bad spending habits and unsound financial practices by spending large amounts of money on rims, furs, jewelry, liquor, etc.
What to do with money?
1. Personal Financial Advice; That advice which is offered to the individual to improve their own quality of life so that they are able to better provide for their own family and self.
2. Political Involvement/Charitable Donations/Revolution Funding; save your people; With the combined wealth at the disposal of just Hip-Hop entertainers it is reasonable to say that Black Entertainers and Athletes could collectively solve some of our peoples problems such as Starvation/Famine/Drought in Africa and could have a huge impact on current deficiencies in education and health for instance funding independent AIDS research for a cure.
The Promotion of Products that do not benefit our people: Items such as Champagne and other liquors, Clothes and Cars are all items that artists promote in Hip-Hop through their endorsement of those products just by mentioning them. Hip-Hop artists have a great power to influence fashion and behavior and we must be wise about this. Constantly Black Artists promote products of White Corporations for free for no personal benefit and often are not respected or liked by these companies which they are rescuing from financial ruin in some cases. What has Hip-Hop done to impact the sales of products like Mercedes Benz, Lexus, BMW, Cadillac, Hennessey, Courvosier, Cristal, Moet, Adidas, Nike, Kangol, Lee, this must be investigated and these companies need to give donations to the Black Community or a designated Trust Fund based on these impact findings and the fact that they have received what amounts to Free Advertising and Free Entertainer Endorsements which is a very lucrative industry in itself.
*DIAMONDS: Special Attention should be given to the case of Diamonds which is beyond a product and instead an entire industry and also, unlike the aforementioned products, Diamonds can be directly linked to the Theft of Africa’s Resources for the benefit of White Corporations and heavily contributes to Africa’s perpetual poverty and political instability fueling wars and causing the deaths and amputations of hundred of thousands and even millions of African Men, Women & Children. This may be the most crucial issue facing the Hip-Hop generation today. It is the ultimate Black on Black crime and speaks to the core of White Supremacy and the African Holocaust. We only need look at companies like DeBeers and locations like South Africa and Sierra Leonne to see the seriousness of the matter.
The Next Generation of New Artists
Much like in Black leadership and activism, one problem we face in Hip-Hop is that we have not prepared those who will come after ourselves. We must establish a mechanism to nurture, support and develop new artists. The artists who are out now cannot be expected to do it all. Some artists may not want to risk their own safety of comfort or their family’s future, which is realistic and must be respected. Everyone can not be expected to make the ultimate sacrifice. What we should expect though, is that a way needs to be prepared for those who are willing to put themselves on the line in order to advance our people and for those who are formulating messages that can speak to our liberation. Groups like Public Enemy, X-Clan, Poor Righteous Teachers, KRS established a certain level of quality and commitment in expressing an alternate view. Today beyond Dead Prez, there is virtually no Hip-Hop artists who could be seen as a Black Nationalist or Revolutionary, there is very little detectable influence of the Nation of Islam or 5% Nation teachings or Afrocentric Studies in todays Hip-Hop. We must dedicate ourselves to the promotion of new artists who will produce the future conscious classics that can continue the work and have the same type of impact that groups like PE in particular had on the minds of a people at one time (remember Fight the Power in Do The Right Thing?)
Black Business Initiatives
Creation of Black Business to exercise control over our product and implement a system to benefit financially from the creation of our own Art.
Discuss the feasibility of Entertainment related businesses and begin planning for their creation.
Black Distribution Company? Could there be a distribution company which could be under Black ownership and control which could provide a fair rate to Black artists and take away our financial contribution to White industry and the accumulation of White wealth built on the creations of Black people.
Black Record Label? Currently there are only 7 or 8 actual Record Labels and none of them are Black Owned. “Labels” like Bad Boy, Death Row, Roc A Fella are not record labels at all, but rather they are glorified Production companies which have sub-contracts with real Record Labels and outsource Distribution.
Black Media Conglomerate? Master P, Roc A Fella, Def Jam, Puffy, Snoop, Ice Cube and others have all broken into related avenues of Film, Television, Internet, Radio, etc. Currently White corporations like Viacom control supposedly Black companies like BET. Def Jam is no longer owned by Russell Simmons. Could we join forces and resources to create a better representation of Black Culture as an alternative to the White Controlled Entertainment Industry that uses some Black People to exert control and influence on other Black People? Could we create an entertainment vehicle that does not promote negative images, creates cutting edge programming and incorporates a cultural component of Edutainment to undo what has been done?
Hip-Hop Union? Could we establish some sort of economic pool to develop a retirement fund for Hip-Hop pioneers, a loan program for up and coming artists who may want to be 1st time home buyers or need business loans, a credit union of some kind, a national Hip-Hop archive or museum, a Hip-Hop theme restaurant chain, could we buy the catalogues of Hip-Hop artists
Network? Establishing a network and directory of Artists, Websites, Magazines, Independent Record Labels, Promoters, DJs, etc who can unite under the umbrellas of Hip-Hop and Black Unity
Bootlegging? Can bootlegging be coordinated, controlled and regulated so it serves as the frame of a grassroots distribution network. There are several Continental African People involved in the Bootlegging Black Market as well as Black People from here who bootleg as a Street hustle. These people must be contacted and encouraged to unify in order to increase production and quality and legitimize bootlegging, transforming it from a vehicle that further robs our artists into an alternative to mainstream and white-controlled distribution.
D) Preservation of Culture
In Recognition of what has happened to Jazz, Blues, Reggae and most notoriously Rock & Roll, we stand to ensure that yet another creation of Black People is not co-opted, controlled and the industry that Hip-Hop has become does not continue to turn over the financial benefits created by this industry. Furthermore, we claim the right and ability to define our own culture and determine its direction and identify what our priorities are and what our agenda should be. We will aggressively fight to protect and preserve Hip-Hop and to combat the Co-optation of Hip-Hop culture, and the commercialization of negative messages and images within Hip-Hop. We will produce a working definition of terms and culture that will assert and establish clearly the fact that Hip-Hop is Black Music, its origins are Black its roots are African and Hip-Hop remains the intellectual property (to use the legal terminology) of Black People collectively.
**For More Info on how Jazz was stolen from Black People for the financial benefit of whites read this…
BLACK MUSIC/WHITE BUSINESS; ILLUMINATING THE HISTORY & POLITCAL ECONOMY OF JAZZ by: FRANK KOFSKY