Friday, June 27, 2008

If You Want to Change Society, Close Your Legs

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Yes. David Banner said it.

Talk about colored girls, homicide and patriarchy.

You would think that Capitalism, the fall of the stock market and the price
of rice were controlled by who we had sex with.

What if a white man sat on that stage and said that? R.I.O.T.

David goes on to say that "Most of these men sell dope because
they want to impress you". So wait, if we stop having sex with D-boys
then they are going to get jobs at Mc Donalds?

I think we need more labor and gender theory.

It Ain't My Fault
Whats incredible to me about this video is two things.
David Banners and to a certain extent Kweli's response is
indicative of
an unwillingness to acknowledge the ways
in which our music affects our kids.

Why is that so hard?

We don't want the rappers to have any personal responsibility
because we don't want to hold ourselves accountable.
The minute we hold them accountable we have to hold
ourselves accountable.

Its like this, if your momma is telling you not to smoke and drink,
but she smoking and drinking, you ain't gonna listen to her.

If we start talking about the rappers and their music and
the effect it has on the kids, then we have to start looking
ourselves, the fact that we buy and listen to the music
and the message that this sends to the kids.

We don't criticize the rappers because then we would
either have to stop listening to it, or think about
why we get enjoyment from listening to "It Ain't No Fun,

If the Homies Can't Have None".

Do you know how hard it was to write that listening
to Mobb Deep was nurturing the dysfunction in me?
Type difficult.

But knowing what I know about crack, Oakland,
and crack in Oakland, it would only make sense
that there would be a part of me that would find
tales of murder and crack entertaining.

We try and turn the dysfunctional 'ish entertaining as
as a way to cope. And many times it works. But we are
conflicted over it. Think of the art, music and theater
associated with The Holocaust. However, there is conflict
within the Jewish community over whether art about
whether it is appropriate for something so terrible can
serve as a basis for art, be it comedy, drama or a musical.

Listening to Mobb Deep reminds me that I am not living
in the 1989 war on drugs zone. It's a reminder
that I survived.

However the words have an impact, perhaps an unintended
impact but an impact just the same.

For example, at the Spinna party last Saturday, I was singing alone with
Snoop and I turned to Filthy and said, "If my dad repeatedly telling me over
the years that I could do anything had an impact on my self esteem,
what impact does listening to and singing Ain't No Fun have on
esteems of both men and women?"

You Wouldn't Get Far

Hip-hop in many ways traffics in the Black sexuality and the availability
of Black female bodies as tools for sex.

No one wants to admit it, talk about it or analyze it.

What would these rappers think if their daughters were vixens,
and their sons murdering and hustling?

In a culture where Karrine Steffan's is a slut, but being a pimp is revered,
where R. Kelley marries Aaliyah, is a known longtime pedophile in Chicago
and is acquitted of child porn charges, there are some serious issues with
how we view Black female bodies.

Its much easier to call Video Vixens tramps rather than analyze patriarchy.

Hip Hop's Identity Crisis

While watching this video, I also thought of Hip Hops conflict within itself.
On one hand folks say that Hip Hop is "just music" on the other hand
folks say "that hip hop is revolutionary and political".

What is it gon' be? Just music or revolutionary?

As far as I am concerned, most of it is just another
form of employment.

In fact Birkhold wrote recently about how Hip Hop
isn't the child of The Civil Rights Movement but is in fact
the child of Black youth unemployment. He writes,

I’m tired of people calling hip hop the child of the civil rights and black power movements. Everyone from hip hop artists, hip hop activists, hip hop scholars, and regular everyday listeners have called it that and all of them are wrong. I believe this error is made for two fundamental reasons, as a nation we don’t understand the civil rights or black power movements nor do we understand labor in a capitalist society.

If we did, we would understand that hip hop is the child of unemployment.


Parents Raise Kids Rappers Don't

Not only do we fail to understand how Hip Hop isn't
"revolutionary" but we also fail to understand how
rappers sound like neocon Republicans
when they say "Parents need to raise they kids".

Yesterday, I began do wonder, do these negros sit around reading

In fact, I know d-boys that take more responsibility for contributing to
the down fall of the hood many of these rappers do.

Why is it so difficult to care about children other than our own?

We know better. Pre-crack we certainly weren't raised like that.
Ms. Johnson down the street would tell your momma if she saw
you doing something out of pocket. I have written about it here before.
This extra parental intervention stopped during the crack era because
while Ms. Johnson would say something to Hakeem, now that it was '89,
he had a 9(mm) and she wanted to keep her life.

We Just Need More Money and Programs
If the solution is economic then our people should be in better shape.
Black people have more money than ever before, and their children
are STILL underemployed and in prison in record numbers,

If the solution is economic, how many people you know have
cake and still decomposing on the inside?

An after school program and a fund raiser is not going to change this.
After school programs and fund raisers are apart of the problem.
We can't party our way to social justice, reduced unemployment,
reduced drop out rates or lower AIDS rates.

Many people who work these jobs, like their work, but are scared of the hood.
Non profit jobs serve as a stepping stone for folks. Its like an urban boot camp.
If you can survive with the darkies you can work anywhere.
They are far more interested in keeping their jobs than changing
society so that the children who are in these programs can have
lives full of options, dignity, humanity and power.

There are a lot of mortgages being paid off of managing Black and/or
White poverty.

I am not dissing afterschool programs. Afterschool and summer school
was my salvation when three and four hundred cats were getting murdered
a year in Oakland 89-92. What I am saying is that it is important to keep
an after school program in perspective and to understand the extent
to which some folks care more about getting a grant, then deciding what
their organizations mission will be. This method of thinking enables them
to put their personal mission ahead of the needs of the people they are serving.

Black children in the hood know that there is a war on drugs. They know
it because they are in the middle of it. They know that we won't, can't
protect them, so they protect themselves. They also know that we care
more about our music than we do standing up for them.

Every time an emcee says "Parent's raise kids" not rappers, the kids are
reminded of this.

We don't also don't understand labor and power, and until we do we will
be on stages saying things like "If You Want to Change Society, Close your Legs".

29 comments:

Aunt Jackie said...

I can't name one David Banner song but I like what he said about needing to be in the trenches without the cameras and the fact that while the cameras were rolling so were the egos...

that's real spit.

My brother and I had a conversation the other day in which he told me that I had "won" I'd survived not getting commercialized Hip Hop crammed down my throat.

I was out having drinks at a little hot spot over the weekend. There weren't many black folks in the place, so when I spotted a rather large girthy brother I spoke.

I didn't know him from Adam but that's what we do when we see black folks, we speak.

Now he was acting some kinda way and I guess I was supposed to know who he was, but I hadn't a clue. I thought he was a retired football player or something.

His name was Rick Ross.

I had to google him. Hip Hop has all but lost me and I'm not ashamed to say it.

My boy and I talk all the time that men who shouldn't be getting any p*ssy still get hit off which is to say that their behaviour won't change as long as they are rewarded, that applies to record labels, music video directors so on and so forth.

I sometimes despise the industry that employs me for this very reason...entertainment will sell anything as long as we can turn a profit!

M.Dot. said...

My boy and I talk all the time that men who shouldn't be getting any p*ssy still get hit off which is to say that their behaviour won't change as long as they are rewarded, that applies to record labels, music video directors so on and so forth.
=======
Capital = Productive property. And the goal of capitalism is to obtain every piece of possible profit from every piece of property at all costs.

So.....

Hip Hop has all but lost me and I'm not ashamed to say it.
======
I just reread Joan Morgans "Chickenheads come home to roost"...I wonder if she has gotten off the fence re hip hop as well.

I am not Star Jones said...

when i read that a man says something like this
"If You Want to Change Society, Close your Legs".

i hear
I just don't want to ever grow up.

And that's what ails so many people---
a refusal to go beyond an adolescent take on their world and their choices and a
society that (if they are lucky)
rewards them for doing so.

it's mindblowing.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

so aunt jackie we do agree

Aunt Jackie said...

torrance we agree on hip hop but i ain't dissing folks who still like it, it's not my taste but certainly not for me to judge.

I'm older now, it's not the music I crave, it's not the sound track to my life any more and having worked with music and entertainment for so long the veil has been lifted, i'm no longer fooled by the smoke and mirrors, now if each one could teach one we might get some where.

M.Dot. said...

i'm no longer fooled by the smoke and mirrors, now if each one could teach one we might get some where.
=====

Bugged you say this today I have been racking my brain on a template that would allow us city dwellers to provide support, assistance and guidance to the young bucks & they mommas in a systematic, strategic way.

Great minds...great minds..

This is your brain on
bell hooks, audry lorde and mobb deep....

M.Dot. said...

And that's what ails so many people---
a refusal to go beyond an adolescent take on their world and their choices and a
society that (if they are lucky)
rewards them for doing so.
=========

Last time I checked Birkhold was working on a piece based on Upski's book "No More Prisons", which asks whether HIP HOP enables cats to NOT grow up. He needs to write that shit, no?

vincentlopez said...

I took a ride with my fiancee, son (4) and nephew (9) to the beach at Wildwood, Nj yesterday. My nephew seemed to know just about every message-less song on the radio but when I turned off the radio and popped in Tribe's "People's Instinctive Travels...", he was numb. After singing word for word with Soulja Boy and all of those other mindless humans, he just couldn't get into it. It made me think of how music is the only medium that goes straight into our subconcious minds unimpeded. And since he's with his mom (my 26 year old younger sister) who happens to love mindless music, I understand how he's being influenced. So now I'm on a mission to introduce him to some hip-hop "classics" with some subtle and not so subtle muessages to balance out his daily dose of 106 & Park. To sum this up, I don't think that most rappers want to take responsibility for what they say on record. And there are some parents who don't want the responsibility of raising their children. Through my job, I see literally hundreds of these parents every week (usually 14 to 40 year old parents).

Vincent
thimk.wordpress.com

j said...

This has nothing to do with this post but

I listened to your 2nd pod cast today and that shit is fresh.

Glad you did it

-J!!!

Will to Love said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M.Dot. said...

What up J and thank you love.

How are you doing?

Reading your comment, reminded me how you, TPW, LD, AJ are three of my oldest regular commenters and subsequently I need to have a reader appreciation day.

Free Book give away?

How do I show appreciation?

M.Dot. said...

To sum this up, I don't think that most rappers want to take responsibility for what they say on record. And there are some parents who don't want the responsibility of raising their children.
====
Tykwon and Tanesha gets screwed in the end.

I can't ride for that.

M.Z. said...

I've been trying to find the whole three part show for a few says now, but I'm with you to an extent.

What caught me off guard with Banner is that he's a dude that's considered one of the more progress minded MC's in the game today(supposedly he has a master's degree.) But watching him with those notes in his hands, I couldn't believe that was all he could come up with.

Imagine what someone like Plies or Rocko would say.

I understand why his music never translates to the image he portrays
(although the ego comment does make sense)

Model Minority said...

I've been trying to find the whole three part show for a few says now, but I'm with you to an extent.
=======
I was on Gotty on Friday like aye blood....where is part III, thank you for the reminder.

I am like this close to doing a map that charts the ascenion of Sylvia Rhones career and the demise of Post Chronic Hip Hop.

progress minded MC's in the game today(supposedly he has a master's degree.)
=======
Progressive DOES NOT MEN Anti-patriarchy.

I am working on a peace right now about Jeru performing the Bitches on Saturday night.

Dude, I lightweight feel a sense of betrayal every time I talk about these men like this. It ain't easy. But I also know that I have a greater interest in shining light on the gender lens in all this for the purposes of thinking about the young bucks.

The young bucks ONLY know what we teach them.

M.Z. said...

Progressive DOES NOT MEN Anti-patriarchy.
===================================
I'm not defending him in any regard, because I lost some respect for him watching that show.

He always protrayed his self as the conscious that did the club/booty songs as a vehicle to spread his wider message to the masses. But that hasn't been the case.

I'm glad you write on this stuff, because while I'd like to explore stuff like this more. I'd have to do alot of reading to be up on this like you.

Model Minority said...

I'm glad you write on this stuff, because while I'd like to explore stuff like this more. I'd have to do alot of reading to be up on this like you.
============
Awww sweet bear. Thank you.

Man I shine because Yall read and because we ALL care about the youngins.

Penni Brown said...

I am soo glad you wrote about D. Banner on that panel discussion. I nearly threw my wii controller into the screen everytime he opened his mouth. Unfortunately, this wasn't a game.

These discussions with men concerning hip hop and their accountability to the community they claim to love will always sound like a lovers argument...You're wrong! No. You're wrong...until other men step in and pull the young guys' coattails. I'd like to see a male only audience with Russ Simmons indicting the foolishness. All these men hear is a bunch of bitter angry women yelling at them and questioning their integrity. It needs to be questioned. But, I think that that older men are the ones that have to stand up and do it. It's just like a single woman raising a son, eventually, she's going to need to recruit the help of a man to steer her youngin the right way. Yeah, it's chauvinistic and patriarchal but, that's what it is.

What about that older guy on the panel, the 'Christian Activist' who showed his ass and basically acted like an insolent kid when talking to that Yale Professor. He's what the younger guys are modelling themselves after.

The whole thing made me sick!

Model Minority said...

Hey Penni,

Thank you for stopping by and for sharing.

I nearly threw my wii controller into the screen everytime he opened his mouth. Unfortunately, this wasn't a game.
======
Gurrrrl. Don't break the wii.

All these men hear is a bunch of bitter angry women yelling at them and questioning their integrity.
======
You know how you circumvent it.
Bring out the kids and LET THEM speak. The impact on the kids is invisible in this equation.

Once a face has been put to their pain, the entire arguement will change.

It will be like the Hip Hop Me Lei Massacre.

It's just like a single woman raising a son, eventually, she's going to need to recruit the help of a man to steer her youngin the right way. Yeah, it's chauvinistic and patriarchal but, that's what it is.
===========
It is not, NOT, NOT patriarchal to have a man in the lives of BOTH girl and boy children.
Mommas are necessary and daddies are necessary. However when one of them can't be there SOMEONE else can and has to step up and provide that mother/father love.

The problem around patriarchy occurs when the relationship turns on domination and oppression.

Mother/child relationships can be patriarchal as well.

I would rather have no momma/daddy than one who loves using violence,fear, control and domination.

Love ain't getting beat.
"I love you thats why I beat you".
No, you beat me because you don't know how to solve problems without violence.
---bell hooks. Feminist Theory. Page 42????

Wheeew.

Penni Brown said...

Hi MM -

You are right, I never thought about the affect of having the kids stand up and say, 'Yes, I do consider you a role model. Or you DO influence me.' You can't say, raise your hands in the air and expect me to follow suit, but, when you tell me to pop, lock and drop it, the kid is supposed to be able to discern the difference. That would be a powerful discussion. But, I still think the older, respected men, need to be the ones that bring the kids to that discussion. Anything perceived to be influenced by women or 'mothers' loses credibility in these discussions.

Which leads me to the patriarchy. I agree also with the fact that its not patriarchy to have a man in the lives of girls and boys. What I was getting at was the summarily dismissal of any common sense coming out of the mouth of a woman. Maybe I didn't state that properly, but I was soo amped up, my fingers were moving faster than my brain. :-)

At any rate, keep up the good work. I love your blog!

M.Dot. said...

Anything perceived to be influenced by women or 'mothers' loses credibility in these discussions.
======
Mommas are responsible for keeping these negros from starving.

They can/will listen. Their past survival has depended on it.

Maybe I didn't state that properly, but I was soo amped up, my fingers were moving faster than my brain. :-)
=========
Its all good.
Happens to me all the time.
Actually. Everyday. :/

jpollard said...

Messed up statement by D. Banner on a number of levels, but primarily he's putting the salvation of the black community on the backs of black women IMHO, but I have stopped taking what rappers say about political issues seriously because I'm tired of being dissapointed by their responses. Even though Banner has his Masters or is close to getting doesn't mean he has an enlightened view of the world. There are 2 sides to everybody and we saw mostly the street/hustler side in this video, but I did agree with his last comment. The time for talking is over, these panels should be filled with youth and not "name" intellectuals and MCs, its time for more work in the community and I would argue that Banner has proven that he's willing to help children in crisis by his work with Katrina victims. While I agree that hip-hop should be criticized for promoting/reinforcing certain aspects of society I still agree Dr. Robin Kelley's point that the music won't change until the audience demands a different type of music that is more congruent with their mindstate.

jpollard said...

Also I wanted to say that there was a lot of bitterness from the guys on the panel about women choosing thugs over "nice guys". I thought it was interesting again like D.Banner's comments the blame is being pushed onto black women. If yall would stop dating them thug cats then the community would be better off. Crazy. I also wanted to say that the podcasts are hot and you need to start having guests and I should be a co-host/foil. Peace, J.

M.Dot. said...

I still agree Dr. Robin Kelley's point that the music won't change until the audience demands a different type of music that is more congruent with their mindstate.
=====
Why is "Ya Mommas Dysfunctional" on my bed in the stack of books?

Crazy. I also wanted to say that the podcasts are hot and you need to start having guests and I should be a co-host/foil. Peace, J.
=======
Thank you blood. I need to do another one. Gawd. You are so obnoxious...that Pod cast...we would end up fighting....It would be like Nerdie Jerry Springer...let me know when...I'll come to the city.

GMllz said...

Hip Hop as a child of unemployment? That's not fair. Maybe you can make a reasonable argument present day with the onslaught of new rappers bombarding the industry, but at it's birth, hip hop was not a child of unemployment. It was an expressive art form...and in many cases it still is an expressive art from (Nas' new album is going to be crazy...especially the song "Nigger Hatred").

That comment you made about Karrine Steffans in relation to praising of pimps was very insightful by the way.

One question...just because a neocon says,"Parents need to raise their kids," does that make it wrong? I don't think so. I have some frustration stemming from the source of the comment and the source's relative inability to identify with the context in which some parents must raise kids. But as a statement, in and of itself, there's some truth to it no matter whether rappers, neocons, or Barack Obama is saying it.

Nonetheless, dope post. I enjoy your blog, even if you label me as a libertarian because I read a book by Milton Friedman. 1.

M.Dot. said...

I need to do my hair.

Ya'll know how Black women are with they hair. And that shit takes hours.

And I just agreed to cook filth dinner...so...I think Imma respond to these comments with a post either tonight or in the morning...because I don't think I am articulating my point about the rappers and mommas clearly.

Post Title, Who raises children, Rappers or Mommas?

Vee (Scratch) said...

"Its much easier to call Video Vixens tramps rather than analyze patriarchy."

I definitely agree.
In addition to that, while many are quick to call many women tramps, sluts, etc. they have no problem engaging in sexual activities with them. So what does that makes them? Men acting like men, or something else?

"lie with dogs, you'll wake up with fleas"

neo said...

If it does take a village to raise a child then the parent village, the teacher village and the rapper village need to all be hit up.

I am not Star Jones said...

And that's what ails so many people---
a refusal to go beyond an adolescent take on their world and their choices and a
society that (if they are lucky)
rewards them for doing so.
=========

Last time I checked Birkhold was working on a piece based on Upski's book "No More Prisons", which asks whether HIP HOP enables cats to NOT grow up. He needs to write that shit, no?

-----
i SAY A RESOUNDING YES.

saifudheen kunju said...

hai to alllllll

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