Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Ludacris Crisis: Does Hip Hop Hate Women?

A Ludacris Crisis:
Does Hip Hop Hate Women?

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

"Every woman in America, especially black. Bear with me. Can't you see we're under attack"

White Man's World- Makaveli (Pac)

Tyanna Johnson wasn't sure how she got there. Three months ago, she moved from Mississippi to Atlanta for a better way of life. But when the crappy economy forced her company to shut down, she found herself standing at the intersection everyday holding a cardboard sign that read "Please Help Me!" Everyday she just stood there trying to hold on to her last piece of dignity. Then ,one day, a gold toothed rapper rolled up in a new Maybach and asked her to "do sumthin' strange for a little piece of change..."

Last week, Hip Hop superstar, Christopher "Ludacris" Bridges released the 1.21 Gigawatts mixtape. While much of the Hip Hop buzz has centered around his disses of rival rappers, little attention has been paid to the disrespect of his primary target; black women.

A few years ago, the song "Do Sumthin," where Luda and Rick Ross trade verses about the freaky stuff that they would make a starvin' sista do for a Klondike Bar would have just been written off as another strip club anthem. But with people facing dire economic situations, the song takes on added socio-economic significance. With single mothers in the real world strugglin' to feed their kids, millionaire rappers promoting ho'in as a viable option is done in extremely bad taste.

Do rappers hate women that much?

While the disrespect of all women is a problem for all cultures, the disproportionate economic suffering of black women plus the fact that they own most of the booties that are seen shakin' in Hip Hop videos makes this issue more race specific. This is compounded by the jacked up relationship between black men and black women that has been promoted by the entertainment industry for the last couple of decades.

Black men dissin' black women is nothing new, as its roots can be traced back to antiquity. Chancellor Williams in his classic work, "The Destruction of Black Civilization" wrote that the problem goes back thousands of years in Africa when foreign invaders raped black Egyptian women, causing the sons to hate their mothers and identify with the nationality of their fathers, the conquerors.

So the seed with which we are dealing today was planted eons ago.

Of course, this is not to say that white men have not exploited black women, as this has been well documented for centuries. South African, Saartjie Baartman was paraded across Europe as a freak show attraction because of the size of her badunkadunk almost two centuries before Niki Minaj appeared on the MTV Music Awards.

Nor can the disrespect of black women be totally blamed on Hip Hop, as Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones were singing "Brown Sugar," a song glorifying the rape of a "slave girl" and "Some Girls" a decade before The Bad Boys dissed "Veronica" and Slick Rick "treated em like a prostitute."

But that does not give black men of today a pass. Especially grown men with young daughters.

Dr. Frances Cress Welsing gave a psychological reason for rap's virtual rape of sistas in "The Isis Papers" when she wrote that "black males engage in this activity out of their imposed frustration and sense of political powerlessness and inadequacy."

However, some have pointed to a more insidious reason; a conspiracy to turn black men against black women and initiate them into a secret society known as the "Hip Hop He-Man Woman Haters Club."

If what Immortal Technique alleges in his song , "Natural Beauty" is true, that "men who don't even like women control the business" this is not only possible but probable as they take enjoyment from the gender war between black men and black women.

As noted historian JA Rogers wrote in his book "Sex and Race Vol III, " the deadliest form of the conflict and process of extermination within a civilization lies in the conflict between the two creative forces-Sex (woman) and Intellect (man).

Now some may argue that Luda is telling a true story and there are really women who act like that. But there are also women who act like Ida B. Wells, Assata Shakur and Kathleen Cleaver. Why are these stories not being told? Not to mention the story of the OG ride or die chick, Mary Turner, who, in 1918, along with her unborn child, was murdered and mutilated by a lynch mob in Valdosta, GA for reppin' her husband who had been murdered by the same mob. Some may consider the actual details of the horrific event, like how one of the members of the mob removed the fetus from Turner's belly and pounded it into the ground , too graphic. However, they are no more graphic then the acts rapped about on Luda's CD or in songs being played on the radio about black men riding around with "choppers" in their cars hunting other black men like prey.

Perhaps, if rappers were taught this history, they would be less likely to make misogynistic songs.

Personally, I think that a group of brothers should find Luda and kindly "escort" Mr. Bridges to the Folsom Bridge, the spot where Turner was lynched, and leave him there until he reconsiders his position on black women.

Either way, this madness has got to stop.

Like Nas said in "Black Girl Lost" "Say men are all the same? What we need to do is break this chain."

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jay Z: Hip Hop's "Hustle Man"

Jay Z: Hip Hop's "Hustle Man"

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

"Well, it might be sad. Or might sound funny but that's what people do for money."
Divine Sounds

There is one in every 'hood, a "hustle man." Like the dude from the old "Martin" show, "Hustle Man" is the type that would sell vitamin water to his grandma on her deathbed. The type of guy who hawks R.I.P. hoodies outside of funeral homes. The type of person who would use one of the most revolutionary events in modern history to sell T-shirts.

Last week, Shawn "Jay Z" Carter made headlines when he vandalized the Occupy Wall Street movement by creating "Occupy All Streets" T-shirts that are to be sold by his Rocawear Company. Although, it is still being debated whether Jay will go through with it, the fact that he had the cahoonas to attempt it in the first place says a lot about the character of the man.

If you ask the folks from "The Roc" and supporters like Russell Simmons, they will tell you that Jay is just trying to spread the message by launching an Occupy All Streets Movement. If you ask others, he is either trying to make a quick buck ,or worst, trying to dilute the movement by diverting attention away from the economic center of the planet.

What Jay Z is trying to pull off is a textbook example of the Hip Hop Hegelian Dialectic .(thesis, antitheses, syntheses) In this case, create the "problem", front like your solving the "problem" and then sell the "solution" for $22.

Ask any true Hip Hop head what is the major problem with the art form, today and he will say, without hesitation, "commercial exploitation" However, this is not limited to Hip Hop alone, as commercialism has invaded every aspect of society. What makes Hip Hop different is that it started as a movement to give a vehicle of expression to poor and oppressed communities. So, when you co-opt Hip Hop you are co-opting the voice of the people.

It must be noted that commercialism did not start with Shawn Carter, as the practice has plagued Hip Hop every since Adidas found out that they could make a dollar using RunDMC to promote their sneakers in the 80's. One can also remember that infamous Nike commercial from the 90's where KRS proudly proclaimed that the "revolution" was not about fighting for human rights but the revolution was merely, "basketball."

In a capitalist society, nothing is sacred, not even social movements.

In his book "There's a Riot Going On," Peter Doggett traces the genesis of corporations jackin' social movements back to a 1968 meeting of advertising agents and entertainment company bigwigs , "Selling the American Youth Market." According to Doggett, attendees paid $300 dollars a head to find out ways to make money by exploiting the Civil Rights and Anti-War Movements of the 60's.
It must be noted that commercial exploitation is not just limited to music. Remember, Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream Speech" has been used to sell cell phones and Malcolm X's entire ideology has been reduced to the price of a postage stamp.

What is interesting about the Jigga scandal is the straw man argument where a conversation about the exploitation of a movement was quickly flipped into a debate over who he was gonna break off with some Benjamins.

Although entertainers have been known to give donations to social causes (Marlon Brando and other celebrities supported the Black Panther Party), for the most part, it's strickly business.

As Herbert Haines wrote in "Black Radicals and the Civil Rights Mainstream 1954-1970," "business support for pro-civil rights changes was brought about not by moral enlightenment but by recognition that racial trouble damaged business interests." Historically, social unrest has been bad for business. And a business owner is more than happy to throw a couple of dollars at "radicals" if it means not having to worry about about a brick being thrown through his store window.
(Just look at how many hood dudes got sneaker franchises after the '92 LA rebellions.)

So, when millionaire missionaries such as Shawn Carter and Russell Simmons support projects, it is more so to calm the restless natives then to aid the revolution. The reason why Simmons is given a hood pass is because he holds the golden microphone. Over the last decade Hip Hop activists such as Rev. Conrad Tillard (formerly Minister Conrad Muhammad), Rosa Clemente and Dr. Jared Ball have all pointed out how Simmons has used his star power to, allegedly, undermine legitimate grassroots movements.

The problem is that in the past we have placed symbol over substance.

In his book "An African Answer" Edgar Ridley, argues that "those who are victims of symbolism are, invariably, the ultimate losers in any dialogue or conflict." So, we have to realize that the symbolic act of showing up at a protest or wearing a bootleg version of a movement's slogan on a shirt does not mean that your favorite celebrity is getting ready to toss a Molotov cocktail.

However, the outrage generated by the Occupy All Streets T-shirts does signify a change in the collective consciousness of the people who are beginning to realize that everything is not for sell. Especially the economic future of our children. Finally, Hip Hop fans are beginning to demand accountability from those who exploit the art form.

But Jay Z is not the first person to exploit Hip Hop and he won't be the last.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who are willing to sell their souls to the highest bidder.

And the culture.

Paul Scottcan be reached at (919) 451-8283 Twitter @truthminista