Friday, April 24, 2009

Asher Roth x Don Imus x Nappy Headed Ho's


Apparently, Asher Roth was recently on the Rutgers campus
and tweeted that he was hanging out with some
"Nappy Headed
Hoe's." He then tried to clean it up and recant
by saying that "he
was trying to make fun of Don Imus."
He apologize as well.

Recently my post, "Michael Baisden is a Misogynist Pig",
ran on Racialicious. The post is about the fact that Michael
Baisden stated on his radio show that a wife "should just
lay there and take it", if her husband want's to have sex
and she doesn't. One of the commenter's, "Nina"
who was open, honest and thoughtful in several her comments,
said that she felt that Baisden was being hyperbolic. She writes,

Perhaps because I think of him as being like Chris Rock, someone who exaggerates but often has a bit of wisdom at the core of the shit talking, what I hear is the kind of thing many men say when alone. And there is the risk that he goes to far OR that listeners will take it as gospel and not hear it as hyperbole. I hear it as hyperbole, my brother and friends hear it as hyperbole but that doesnt mean everyone does.
I responded saying,
Let me ask you this, do you think Don Imus was being Hyperbolic when he called the Rutgers women’s team Nappy Headed Ho’s?

If he wasn’t being hyperbolic and was being racist, why should Imus not be tolerated but Baisdens comments are hyperbolic?
Often times, I have found that people hide behind the defense of laughter when in reality it constitutes hate speech.

Can’t sprinkle sugar on shit and call it ice cream.

Having just wrote these comments on Wednesday,
you can imagine my surprise at
seeing Asher Roth say the same thing,
on Twitter, on Thursday.

Why should Asher Roth be singled out when Black men call us
all the time?

I am not saying that Asher should not be criticized for what he has done
but we need to keep it even and acknowledge that many Black rappers
and Black men, and for that matter Black women, refer to Black women,
reflexively, as "hoes."

Perhaps, the underlying assumption in the Black community
at large is that Black women, belong to Black men, that we do not have to
freedom to do what we wish with our bodies, without being subjected
to public scrutiny within our community.

Shoot, I love The Clipse, and I am excited about their new song
with Kanye and their new CD, but thangs havn't been the same since their
"Tree Huggin Bitch" skit.

In some ways, I feel that if Black people want White folks to
take racism
seriously then Black folks need to start taking
sexism seriously

The elephant in the room, as far as I am concerned about rap music
is that in the same way that America no longer needs Detroit, rap
no longer needs Black people or Black listeners

Both the White American and global consumption of Black death and materialism
is part and parcel of Hip Hop. It may be hard for us to admit it, but it is
what it is.

In fact, what we have failed to admit publicly is that rap, by and large
is an opportunity to consume Black death, and the Black female body.

In the essay, "Get Rich and Die Trying", Matthew Birkhold explains
the relationship between Hip Hop, capitalism and the White and
Black consumption of Black death. He writes,
S. Craig Watkins correctly remarks that the extraordinary
success of The Chronic signaled the incorporation of hip
hop into mainstream America. Following in the footsteps of
The Chronic, the years 1993-94 saw the release of debut
records by Nas, the Wu Tang Clan, and the Notorious B.I.G.

All three albums, which all contained descriptive stories
about selling drugs were largely hailed as classics as soon
as they were released and, with the exception of Nas, had
tremendous crossover appeal. However what Watkins does
not point out is that the incorporation of hip hop into mainstream
America was made possible by white consumption of
black men celebrating black on black murder, selling crack,
capitalism, misogyny, homophobia and a rejection of cultural
nationalism. Importantly, during this era, hip hop was not yet
overwhelmingly saturated with drug raps and many rappers
took cultural nationalist positions.

For example, artists such as Brand Nubian, A Tribe called
Quest and De La Soul all released albums that were hailed as
classics during this era. However, these groups did not cause hip hop
to crossover. Because the purchasing power of young whites
created the success of The Chronic and a lack of crossover
success for Brand Nubian, The Chronic was emulated by artists and
labels around the country. As an example, the success of the
Notorious B.I.G and Bad Boy Records is worth examining closer.
Yesterday, @Jarobione further nailed this sentiment when he tweeted that,
jarobione @fwmj lol.... hell no!!!! just making a parallel. Hip-Hop is like a sleazy strip mall with one health food store...lmao
In researching this post, I found an interesting article by Bakari Kitwana
titled, "The Cotton Club:
Black-conscious hip-hop deals with an
overwhelmingly white live audience." He writes
about Hip Hop's white audience,
Boots says he first noticed the shift one night in 1995, in
a concert on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Opening for
Coolio, he stepped center stage and grabbed the mic as
usual, but then saw something unusual about the audience:
a standing-room-only sea of
whitness. Some were almost
dressed like farmers, he recalls. Others had their heads
shaved. "Damn, skinheads are out there," he thought.
"They can't be here to see us." But the frantic crowd
began chanting along rhyme for rhyme.

Zion, MC of the independent rap group Zion-I, agrees the
similarities to jazz are striking: "Jazz went white, then
Black, then white again. At this point African Americans
aren't the ones supporting live jazz [performances]. It's
the same in many ways with independent hip-hop. I've
been to shows where the only Black people in the place
are onstage. It's kind of surreal."

"I love Boots Riley's music, but in general people in the
'hood are not checking for the Coup," says Brother Ali,
part owner of the Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective
Rhymesayers Entertainment. "It's hard enough to get some
of our people to go to a Kweli show. It has a lot to do with the
fact that the emphasis on the culture has been taken
away. It's just the industry now and it's sold back to us—it's
not ours anymore.
It used to be anti-establishment, off the radar, counterculture. People in the streets are now being told
what hip-hop is and what it looks like by TV."

According to industry insiders and most media outlets, though,
the shifting audience isn't just a Black consciousness thing—it's
prevalent in mainstream hip-hop as well.
Whites run hip-hop, they
say, from the business executives at major labels to the suburban
teen consumers. But the often-intoned statistic claiming that 70
cent of American hip-hop sells to white people may cover
up more than it reveals.

No hard demographic study has ever been conducted on
hip-hop's consumers
. And Nielsen SoundScan, the chief
reference source on music sales, by its own admission does
not break down its over-the-counter totals by race. "Any
conclusions drawn from our data that reference race involve
a great deal of conjecture," a SoundScan spokesperson insists.

Wendy Day, founder of the Rap Coalition, a hip-hop
artist-advocacy group, says she's attempted to pair up with
several popular hip-hop magazines on such a study, but none
would commit to help fund it. When she asked an executive at
a major record label, she got an even more interesting
response: "He didn't see the value in writing that kind of check,"
she says. "Because rap is selling so well, he didn't see the value
in knowing who his market is. 'It's not broken, Wendy,'
he said.
'We don't need to fix it.' "
This is relevant to me, because when I walk to the streets,
minding my own business, I, along with other Black women
that I observe, are treated, by default, as nappy headed hoe's
by some Black men.

Some of the interactions are fine, sincere and are warmly
received compliments. Most though, constitute harassment.

We want to walk the street and be. It would make for a more just
sustainable and democratic society if we are able to do so.

With that in mind, last Sunday, I was eating some Mentos, walking
to the train station on 7th avenue to the 2/3 on 42nd street. There
were some young men near the entrance selling candy. They were
wearing skinny jeans, fitted's, tee shirts and a purple
scarves, you know THE uniform. Here is how the exchange went,
Young man: Ms. do you want some candy? No, no thank you
Young man:Can, I have some of your candy?
I keep walking.
Young Man: "Can I have some of the candy between your legs?"
I stopped at the foot of the steps, raised my hand to God, asked for a
right thought or action
, then proceeded to walk down the steps.

Moments like this serve as a connection between the music and our day to day
lives and I wonder what it will take in order to get others to do the same.

I wrote this listening to 10 Jay Electronica songs on repeat.
I may get hate mail, but you know what. F-ck it.
I write this for the Black Girls & Boys in East Oakland that people
consider disposable.
Tionna Smalls on Mine.


Why are white men held to some higher standard
in terms of calling Black women 50 million hoe's?

Why is it so hard to admit that hip hop by and large
involves selling the death of Black men and the bodies
of Black women for White, Black and arguably global consumption?

Why is it so much fun saying "You can't sprinkle sugar on
and call it ice cream?"


Dioracat said...

Co-sign to the 10th power. So much I want to say here, not enough space.

modest-goddess said...

hatred of black women is no less dangerous when it comes from black mouths

UP said...

i'm with you.

Unknown said...

I love how whites don't have to do anything until blacks are perfect in their eyes. "Why are you singling this guy out when black men say it all the time." Then why do we arrest murderers when murders happen all the time? Why do we bother single out one murderer when there are tons of them?

the prisoner's wife said...

yesterday at my book club mtg, we were discussing the book Standing At The Scratch Line and the conversation got into the power dynamics between black men/women. the novel is set in the early 20th century throughout the south. one woman commented on how the black male characters treated their wives/daughters/other black women. she was disturbed/angered that some of the black women treated the women similarly to how they were treated by whites, as less than/property. we got into the whole conversation of black men being emasculated by the larger society & then taking "control" or exerting their power on the only people less women/children. i know bell hooks writes about this, and she would agree with you. racism can't/won't end until we (black folk) take a look at the sexism in our own communities. perhaps some of that sexism stems from the lack of value placed on black male--and by extension--black female life.

i would argue that it is still MORE offensive for a white/non-black person to talk shit about black people because of the power dynamic. on our best day, we don't not have the power to systematically affect the lives of whites. by the sheer fact that white people are still very much empowered, control the media ( i mean, they are promoting the popular hip hop, own the companies, etc), gives them MORE power than we have. black people defaming over black folks is just wrong. however, i don't feel the two instances are equal. but that's just me.

gordon gartrelle said...

"we need to... acknowledge that many Black rappers and Black men, and for that matter Black women, refer to Black women, reflexively, as 'hoes.'"In the 15 or 20 years that this meme has been circulating, I've never heard any public figure challenge this blatant falsehood.

Among other things, "ho" can mean:

1.) male coward;
2.) prostitute (literally);
3.) promiscuous woman (or man nowadays);
4.) sexually adventurous woman, i.e. "freak."
5.) woman in general.

One thing "ho" has never meant (at least to black men and hip hop heads) is "BLACK woman." That's an invention of uncritical rap opponents.

In rap, there's a common understanding that there is a distinction between "women" and "hos" based entirely on behavior and values. The Madonna/whore frame is still sexist, but even this crude frame shows just how wrong it is to say that all (black) women are "hos" to black men and rap fans.

I understand that those combating negative images of black women have their hands full, but relying on this falsehood doesn't help. Instead of treating the "ho" problem for what it is--an expression of sexism no different from any other--many are happy thinking about it as a rap thing or as emblematic of tensions unique to black men and women.

Black women have enough legitimate claims to victimhood. There's no need to invent claims.

Model Minority said...

@ TPW...OOh Your Book Club sounds JOUSAY!!
Maybe you should Run the book club on the Negro Book site. Maybe we can have more than one...and you can do one of them..I dunno..I am learning as a go..

Re-Black Pain..You know me...I don't rank the oppression. It's a shell game. Victims HAVE no right to be oppressors. African Americans, Rwandans, Armenians, Jews. No one.

Good to see you stopping by. I just put your site in my reader and I find myself laughing outloud at the posts.

In rap, there's a common understanding that there is a distinction between "women" and "hos" based entirely on behavior and values.
I don't make this distinction.
The division of Black women into Queens/Bitches only serves to maintain sexism and Patriarchy for that matter.

Black men do NOT have the power to determine who is an isn't a ho, Corporate rap executives MAY TELL THEM that. But ennnnh. No. What I do with my body is none of their business, so long as I am making healthy sustainable sexual choices.

Black women have enough legitimate claims to victimhood. There's no need to invent claims.
I don't do victim hood. Victimhood will keep me reacting instead of being a visionary which is what I am working on.
I believe that every person has agency and a will to act or at least the ability to pray for the willingness.

Black women are not Victims. We held this country down every since the beginning of chattel slavery and will continue to do so, at least until some cheaper labor comes along.

I am working on a post about Asher Roth and Black Masculinity that will address your comments further.

I look forward to your comments.

gordon gartrelle said...

Thanks for responding, m. dot.

"The division of Black women into Queens/Bitches only serves to maintain sexism and Patriarchy for that matter."Again, it may be sexist, but it has nothing to do with black women in particular. That's the false meme I'm talking about. Making it about black women reinforces tired narratives about black women's victimhood at the hands of black men and their white corporate sponsors.

"Black men do NOT have the power to determine who is an isn't a ho, Corporate rap executives MAY TELL THEM that."1.) It should be clear that I'm not co-signing the way many artists depict women; I'm merely providing a more accurate description than the ones offered in the weak popular discourse on hip hop. It matters because people make all kinds of ridiculous leaps in logic based on their incorrect claims about how black men and rap fans view black women.

2.) The notion that corporate execs dictate what rappers talk about is bunk. That's conspiracy-theory stuff that helps the critics define the "hip hop industrial complex" as a nexus of capitalist exploitation, patriarchy, and racism.

And I gives a flying fuck about Asher Roth and his fans, so I may not have interesting to add to that discussion. I'll definitely be checking back, though.

Unknown said...

never heard a white man refer to a white woman as ho. But i have heard plenty of white men refer to black women as hoes.

Never heard an arab refer to his woman as a ho, either.

Still, as Black men we should STOP it. Bottom line. I think you are just deferring blame., dug the post but Asher Roth can catch a beatdown any day even without saying what he said.

Vee (Scratch) said...

@Brother OMi,
Plenty of white men refer to women as whores. Ho, whore it is just a play on words.

Are you aware of the reports of how women are treated in the Middle East in arab communities?

@Gordon Gartrelle,
2. While it may be difficult to prove that corporate executives at large dictate* what rappers are putting out, there is proof to suggest that conglomerate media companies influence the material rappers put out. Examples, there are many. See Dr. Dre's career, he went from been there, done that to Chronic 2001. He was quite candid prior to about the music he wanted to do and eventually chose to do after his Death Row departure. Jay-Z went from critically underwhelming Kingdom Come to American Gangster. He's been very open in a number of his songs about fans and record companies expectations compared to the material he would like to or would record.

*There have been a number of recording artists that have stated there was a direct pressure to record more urban-street-bang-bang material. I'm not sure if many people heard about the shenanigans involving young Keke Palmer, record executives wanted her to be another Lil Kim. The story was not picked up by many media outlets.,
I feel that if Black people want to really take racism seriouly then black people should not ignore sexism. (co-sign)

M.Dot. said...

@ V

Look atchu getting all radical? Lols...You normally STAY beefin w/ me lols.

When you gonna let me hold somma of those sketches for BK Magic. Peep it.

manaen said...

Thx for this post
"Hyperbole" means exaggeration of *what's being said*. It is not saying something else. If Messrs Baiden and Imus exaggerate their hateful comments about women in this way, their underlying unexaggerated message remains hateful.
In contrast -- not hyperbole/exaggeration -- compare the tenor of their comments to this:
"If you want something to last forever, you treat it differently. You shield it and protect it. You never abuse it. You don't expose it to the elements. You don't make it common or ordinary. If it ever becomes tarnished, you lovingly polish it until it gleams like new. It becomes special *because you have made it so*, and it grows more beautiful and precious as time goes by.
"Eternal marriage is just like that. We need to treat it just that way. I pray that we may see it for the priceless gift that it is."
- F. Burton Howard
As you noted, Hip Hop's mainstreaming/assimilation is just latest down the same road that jazz went. These are examples of what is both the survival secret and the nemesis of our open culture. As Allan Bloom noted, "There is in American society a mad rush to distinguish oneself, and, as soon as something has been accepted as distinguishing, to package it in such a way that everyone can feel included."
-- "The Closing of the American Mind," p. 183
Earlier I watched acceptance, not defeat, end the hippie movement and the same pattern keeps weaving itself among us as cultural innovations' suffusion dilutes them to the lowest common denominator that will embrace them.

M.Dot. said...


Wow...Good to see you around these parts....the last I heard from you was Jan!?!?!??!

Hip Hop is a little different from Jazz, just based on the sheer amount of money that is made off of it AND the perpetuation of so many negative images.

I hear you tho.

Unknown said...

@V Scratch

I agree, but not as casual as we use "hoe." Oftentimes, we use it as a term that encompasses large swaths of black women. I have seen it used that way several times. that argument about "they are not talking about certain kinds of black women" is played.

saying that it is a "play on words" is again deferring blame. There is such a thing as control language.

a good example is how the term black is used to denote something bad (black mail, black listed, black balled, etc. or how the definition of black denotes something negative on several levels).

When I used the Arab analogy I did not mean to downplay on their sexist oppression either. Heck, Arabs can be just as racist as whites.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for dropping my name- stay real my brother!

Tionna Smalls

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