Where are the Black Men At, and are Rappers to Blame?
Zachary M.C. Harris
Saturday, June 20, 2015
A Facebook friend wrote something very interesting the other day, which was
NO MATTER YOUR POLITICS: the black community lost a generation of young men by idolizing rappers we don't agree with while castigating men like Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain. I respect Herman Cain more than Jay-Z. He came from Memphis and by 36 was in charge of 400 Burger Kings. Sometimes we forget that it was hard for most black men to ascend in corporate America. If we justify Drug dealing and misogyny then surely we can justify conservative mindsets. I don't have to agree with all of my friends and colleagues on every issue. I can still respect their struggle. I can still respect their intelligence. Imagine what we are telling children. We are saying respect a felonious rapper instead of a Supreme Court Justice. We are saying respect misogynistic rappers that glorify drug trafficking over a self made man that educated himself like Herman Cain.
Now, he and I don’t agree on everything and we don’t have to; such is life. However, there are points to take from this as well as points to debate. There are many reasons why we have lost a significant amount of [positive] Black men who could contribute to the overall progression of African Americans, whether we lost them to prison, death or mindsets contrary to our progress as a whole.
I can respect Herman Cain’s accomplishments, but if he was always a person who always painted a negative view of many other Blacks and adopted [and reiterated] philosophies which don’t take into account the continual struggles of African Americans against institutionalized racism, then what he has done has been rendered moot. Aggrandizing himself while not also speaking out on the harsh facts of reality makes him not a viable example. Maybe he was placed in that position simply because he truly sold everyone else out. An example of this is Dr. Ben Carson, who seems to forget the struggles of his mother raising him. Clarence Thomas needs no explanation at all; he is a man who really hates the fact that he is Black. And there are many others who feel this way either completely, or briefly at times.
As the saying goes, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.”
Don’t blame certain rappers; blame the people that look like us who are constantly promoting it to make money. Blame the record execs, the radio execs, the on-air personalities, the club owners, and the people listening to it all the time who refuse to turn it off. Blame those of us that accept their behaviors, and emulate them, and support them. Right now, I am only talking about us men.
At some point, you have to wake up and analyze what you’re taking in and wonder why.
When you co-sign the same things that these people love, you’re corroborating their bullshit. When you do the same things that they do, and don’t present a different image, same shit, different toilet bowl. Yeah, we all like to have fun and have a good time, but sometimes you have to more cognizant about how people see you, and how the youth see you. Lack of good parenting is what caused much of the absence of a certain amount of Black males in this society. Too little has been focused on education as well as showing people tried and true plans for success; this is the problem. Not showing the next generation that despite racism, you have to still try to do things the best way possible to make it is the issue.
We have complained about the lack of positive programming, but yet we still have not put our money behind producing positive programming. Some people only want to make the big money so that they can show that they have arrived by purchasing everything [that will ultimately just accumulate your debt] to prove to other people that they got money! Popping bottles in the club is ridiculous, just like posting photos of it on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Not promoting education, nor focusing on the Black women who aren’t trying to look like everyone but themselves are also issues.
I love [some] rap music. But the reality is that a bunch of it these days is pure bullshit. Go after Radio One for constantly playing this psychological warfare. Call her out and snub her. Do a Tipper Gore and C. Delores Tucker on her. Call out all the rappers and people within the music industry who produce this. Shut them out.
The problem is that people like to be spoon fed the same one dimensional pablum and stay there in that same ignorant comfort zone, which is why rappers [et al] are still producing it. How many songs are going to be made about making crack/freebase, selling weight, robbing people, killing each other, disrespecting one another, and the riches you supposedly have?
The one group I love is Outkast, who actually show an evolution over the course of their body of work. They always told stories in their songs, and they always delivered a message. We can always love rappers who talk about the streets, but at what point do they stop talking about the streets in one view, and start rapping about the fact that the streets shouldn’t be that way? Check out Scarface’s last few albums and you will see the growth. Life is not a fucking party.
No, don’t blame the rappers; blame ourselves for not setting out to produce a counter to their self-destructive attacks. All of us with brains are the problem because we sure can’t blame the stupid to do the right thing. The weak are watching the strong, and while some of us are knowledgeable enough to rationalize certain things that we might do – tribalism of fraternal organizations, designer labels, only drinking certain brands, and getting tattoos are just a few things that come to mind – we need to realize that weak people are watching us and doing the minimum to try to look like us and get the maximum return. Monkey see, monkey do. And the monkey doesn’t have the powers of analysis and deconstructive observation.
I have no aspirations to hang with people who would otherwise treat me with disdain if I didn’t have certain things, and likewise I am just as guilt in some ways of doing the same fucking thing. Mea culpa motherfucker! Fuck your little success, because it is just that, a little success. If you are in the top percentile, that’s fine, but if the next percentile down is so few and so far in between, you’ve got some work to do.
Oh, and ladies, if you stop dealing with the dudes who can do a lot better, and inspire them to do better, then you’ll wind up not complaining about the issue of where are the [good] Black men at.
And brothers, stop fucking with ratchet!