April 12, 2007

Imus Fired, Is Hip Hop Next?

Don Imus is off the air as a result of his ignorant comments. He apologized for his comments. The Rutgers basketball team accepted his apology. Case closed.

Or is it?

The infamous syllables that caused Imus to lose his $10 million a year gig was 'nappy-headed ho'. We wouldn't be engaged in this analysis of race relations, rap lyrics and impact of demeaning words if Imus hadn't watched that clip of the NCAA championship game and denigrated into his racist and sexist rant.

Some say the reaction by MSNBC and CBS was too harsh. This side of the argument reminds us that the the H-word, N-word and B-word are heard every day in the lyrics of many hip hop songs broadcast on BET, VH-1 and other mainstream radio shows. Heck, all of these words were loud and proud in the lyrics of the 2006 Oscar-winning song, It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp.

The flip side of the argument is best laid out by father of the genre, Russell Simmons,
"Hip-hop is a worldwide cultural phenomena that transcends race and doesn't engage in racial slurs. Don Imus' racially motivated diatribe toward the Rutgers women's basketball team was in no way connected to hip-hop culture. ... Don Imus is not a hip-hop artist or a poet. Hip-hop artists rap about what they see, hear and feel around them, their experience of the world. Like the artists throughout history, their messages are a mirror of what is right and wrong with society. Sometimes their observations or the way in which they choose to express their art may be uncomfortable for some to hear, but our job is not to silence or censor that expression. Our job is to be an inclusive voice for the hip-hop community and to help create an environment that encourages the positive growth of hip-hop."
Anyhow, it appears that the energy and passion unleashed in reaction to the comments by Imus will move on to the hip-hop and gangsta rap culture. Reverend Al Sharpton says, "I want to meet with people like Snoop Dogg ... see where we can come to common ground."

Even Senator Barack Obama compares rappers to Imus.

Truthfully, I don't know where this post-Imus debate is going to lead. I'm an action-oriented Villager. I like to do what I can do from where I'm at. So, I signed a petition created by Lisa Tundy that Bronze Trinity pointed out to me earlier this week. Here is what it says:
As members & supporters of the Black community, we the undersigned wish to express our outrage against the numerous rap artists whose lyrics and videos degrade women, Black women in particular, as well as themselves. Their incessant use of the terms ‘nigger', ‘bitch, and ‘ho' degrade the Black community. We also denounce their promotion of drug dealing and the poisonous culture of violence they perpetuate.

We realize freedom of speech is a value held dearly by all in the United States of America. That same freedom of speech which allows these artists to spew their poison is the same freedom that allows us to stand up and say: "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"

We do not advocate censorship. We are advocating responsibility. Know that this promotion of prison culture has affected our youth. We must put the future of the Black community first! As such,
  • We will no longer support artists and media outlets who promote stereotypically demeaning images of Black women!!
  • We will not purchase music that categorically insults us!!
  • We will boycott BET, MTV, VH-1, mainstream radio and any other media outlet that supports and promotes artists who malign, debase, and otherwise disrespect Black people!!
  • We are speaking out against a culture that has been hijacked and turned into a vehicle of harm and degradation of an entire people!!
In the great tradition of our ancestors who began the Montgomery bus boycott, we will not financially patronize or support any entity that discriminates against us or disrespects our people!!

The Undersigned
I encourage all visiting villagers to support this effort. I was #277 on the petition list. At a minimum, I would love you to comment about your thoughts on the 'next steps' now that the Imus issue is closed?

digg story


Dangerfield said...

" Anyhow, it appears that the energy and passion unleashed in reaction to the comments by Imus will move on to the hip-hop and gangsta rap culture. Reverend Al Sharpton says, "I want to meet with people like Snoop Dogg ... see where we can come to common ground."

mark bey: Now Villager this is something I can support with every once of my bieng. I can sink my teeth into this.

So far the I believe many of the things I have heard concerning folks associated with the Afrosphere has annoyed me, as I believe thier are problems of life or death importance that are bieng ignored in favor or "racism progrects, or concentrating energy to get people most of whom are "criminals a fair trial with the judicial system while young black kids in the black hoods all over america are force to live with and watch teenagers and adults commit crimes in front of thier eyes.

Black people should be careful of what they ask for also the white listners of Imuses show are going to go after hip hop and some of the local black radio broadcast that use offensive and ignorant language.

Its is high noon baby I will sign the petition.

Death to all offensive hip hop lyrics and negatives images that demean black women and black lives.

Dangerfield said...

Yo Village Reverend Al Sharpton should have Snoop on his show to explain how demeaning black women and talking about killing folks is alright. Then the whole world will see how ignorant, stupid and shallow some of these hip hop artist really are.

I would love to hear snoop explain how hip hop is justified in its current form.

Unknown said...

Mark - Thank you for sharing your insights and for supporting the petition. Your insights and comments are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

EV.... here is my small contribution to this timely discussion:


I will certainly be signing the petition also.


JD said...

This is a compelling topic and Mr Simmons comments make sense. I was raised by a black woman, my God mother, sister, 2 wives, daughter, niece, cousins , co workers, friends are black women. They have had profound effect on me and my values.The black woman is the queen of the universe. Having said why should we fight the same battle the racist, all of a sudden are so worked upped over. The timing of this appears like we are trying to please the whiteman by going after our own. Imus was and should have been fired. If this rap issue had been targeted by the blogging community prior to Imus I would support. To me it seems like we are reaching out to master. I am not in the house or on the patio, I am a field brother.
Villager you are an action brother and I think this issue is divided on the basis of house, patio and field. Let the Imus thing go away and then lets help our rappers mature their voice. Keep hope alive!

Unknown said...

James - Point well taken. My hope is that the perfect storm which capsized the good ship Imus provides an opportunity for our hip hop artists to do some introspection.

Marvin Gaye sang uplifting songs like What's Going On and he also broke it down with songs like Let's Get It On. In other words, he had some balance in his approach to music and lyrics.

Perhaps our hip hop artists can show some balance in their talents by providing us with music and lyrics that UPLIFT our people on occassion.

peace, Villager

Anonymous said...

I signed up as #302 on the signature list, Villager. Thanks much for posting about that. I guess you already know how strongly I feel about this issue, and I'm glad you feel strongly as well.

This is so important, and we need to take advantage of the momentum right away.

Unknown said...

Keith - Bronze Trinity was the first to point the petition out to me. I encourage you to share the 411 about it in The 'D' Spot. It is a step that we can take here in cyberspace to let our voices be heard.

take care, Villager

Lori said...

I applaud this sort of action, even though some of us have been advocating this type of response for years now.

Back in 1990, I wrote a two-part article for the Tri-State Defender (the African American Paper serving the Memphis/ mid-South area) entitled, "Raps Attack on Women." Back then, I was taking issue with the lyrics and antics of folks like The Two Live Crew and their "Nasty as They Wanna Be" philosophy.

One of the things I said in the piece is that, "When our young Black men joke, rap and sing about the pleasures of 'dogging women out,' bitch-smacking or screwing women with flashlights as Ice-T does in, 'Shut Up, Be Happy," they mimic the language of an oppressor."

Make no mistake, the language and mentality at issue here, originated with the Master. So, when a brother, be he from the field, the house or the patio (smile) calls a sister a "ho" or anything else outside of her name (or not uttered in a spirit of love)he mimics the language of an oppressor.

Dangerfield said...

"The timing of this appears like we are trying to please the whiteman by going after our own."

mark bey: Sometimes social causes and politics makes strange bedfellows.

Think about Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader Joining forces to protest Naftda.

Anyway I personally am out to crush all sectors that promote ignorant and stupid ideas and behavior whether it be Imus, the hip hoppers talking about ropping pregnant women and killing in general or whether or not it be the church making up fairytales about aids

I am out to crush non sense and negative behavior hurting black people.

Or in other words hip hop is going to have to reform its toxic culture.

After all we should not encourage or allow our kids to participate in a culture/art form that kills its greatest ambassodors. That is suicide.

P.S Dont forget the hip culture and life style of African american athletes and entertainers that is responsible for many deaths and hundreds of years in Jail Sentences.

Jim.Legington said...

Hey Villager,

Thank You so much for making that Mainstream Media & Hip-Hop Boycott Petition available to us.

Shared with Lisa over at Bronze Trinity some blessings that bring the same to anyone that's humble enough to meditate in the word of faith.

Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

God's love is able to bring forth some common ground that will be His word in the heart doing good because God Is Love. Yea, I did
sign the Petition Villager. Peace!

-Songs Beautiful For Situation -
Our God Is Good-Keep Hope Alive!
Psalm 23:1-6, Psalm 133:1-3, Psalm 138:1-8
Psalm 145:1-21, Psalm 146:1-10 {Updated-NASB}Peace be unto You -
Read it and Be Blessed always!

Today we continue prayer In Jesus Name! 12:00 Noon-1:00 PM Central Standard Time Everywhere You are, pray LORD, in Jesus name I Ask, that the word of Christ fill our hearts that we become "A Better Person", One In Jesus Christ Our Lord. Thanks for Our Lord's kindness.

Every Saturday We Pray together at the Same Time!
Everywhere pray In Jesus Name God's will be done!

The Diversity Advantage-Tips
A Guide to Making Diversity Work!

Anonymous said...

Whens this been a controverisal topic? Its the opinon shared by a number of ignorant bigots all over the place and one shared by both sides of the fence as highlighted by my blog.

Paris David said...

Excellent post! I'm gonna sign that petition right now!


Unknown said...

Paula - Let us know your signature number on the petition. I'm curious to see how high it eventually goes. The 30,000 blogger project appears to have slowed to a crawl (smile).

Shay - I'm heading over to your village to see how the issue is being discussed.

Jim & Mark - Asante sana for sharing your insights.

peace, Villager

Dangerfield said...

I signed the petition I am 321

Dee said...

thanks for dropping by my blog.
thought-provoking post.
I don't know if I'll sign a petition but I know I'll continue to not buy/listen to music that denigrates me and my brother

Unknown said...

GC - Welcome to the Electronic Village. I hope that you'll come back again in the future. I figured that there was no downside to signing the petition. So I did so.

peace, Villager

dcsavvystar said...

actually, i am confused.. im confused about the whole state of music, black america, race relations...etc
i have seen this coming for a long time. as often as we get called b's and h's in popular music, i knew it was going to create a confort level with people who want to use that same language.

for instance, let's think of how the other side of the world views black women. do they see us as h's b's? of course many of them do because that is the main impression of black america that they get.
I agree with russell simmons in some ways, but we do need to challenge the music industry to explain to us why this demeaning language is necessary. i feel like i am part of a culture that is evolving in a negative way. let me know what you think..

dcsavvystar said...

i'm number 352 on the list. thanks Villager, I will add this petition to my site

Unknown said...

dcsavvystar - First, welcome to the Electronic Village. I hope that you visit with us often. Second, there is no harm in being confused on this issue. There appears to be a great deal of hypocrisy in our community when you look at the strength of our anger against Imus, yet, our acceptance of the same language from some, not all, hip hop artists. The petition is one way to move our mindset in the proper and consistent direction. I appreciate you sharing the 411 on it with your blog audience.

peace, Villager

Anonymous said...


You ought to check out the recent post by Blacksmythe (Dr. Lester Spence. There appears to be some very important movement goingh on today concerning the issue of how to deal with the rap lyric issue. Apparently Russell Simmons is currently in meetings...

Unknown said...

Keith - Thanx for the referral to Blacksmythe. I didn't realize until today that Dr. Spence wasn't in my blogroll. I fixed that oversight today.

It is good to see Power 105.1 listening to the mood of the public. Others should follow suit.

I'm also curious to see what comes out of the discussions being held by Russell Simmons.

peace, Villager

Francis Holland said...

I agree with Al Sharpton on this. The offensive words used to describe and demean women, particularly Black women, ought not be said or sung by by anyone to glorify and perpetuate them.

Now that we've made it clear that if is offensive when Imus says these words, we need to clarify that it's offensive when everyone says these words in a way that degrades and insults Black and other women.

We don't need anyone shucking and jiving for a mostly white audience, and that's what some of this clowning has become. OF COURSE whites encourage us to ridicule and demean each other, and to act like irresponsible clowns, because that confirms their faulty sense of superiority relative to us.

So, when we act or sing, they want us to "Black it up!" It's time for all of us to tell the white record producers and even white teenage audiences that we're not going to clown for them or each other just so that they'll throw a nickle in our hats.

Unknown said...

Francis A M E N !!!!

Anonymous said...

I am glad they fired Imus for that hideous, derogatory remark. There is no room for such divisive rhetoric. It is damaging to our nation. As far as Hip Hop music, I am surprised that Blacks have endorsed it and supported it because it is so demeaning to Blacks and is fast becoming how they are known. I can understand wanting to have something successful as a representation of your ethnic background, but I know Blacks are better than how Hip Hop portrays them.
I am glad to see the Black community take notice of the destructive lifestyle that Hip Hop has on the younger generation and plans to do something about it.
I will gladly sign the petition and join in other activities to raise the status of my brothers and sisters to the high standard where it belongs.
I feel sorry for the athletes who think because they have money, they are free to become immoral exhibitionists, when they could have the opposite effect on black and white children alike. We need to pray for the reversal of their bad behavior.
I am going to sign the petition. Thank you for this opportunity to speak.

Unknown said...

madmouser - There are 1090 signatures on the petition when I last looked. I'm glad that you will be adding your voice to it as well!