Rapper 50 Cent recently revealed that he has no intentions of cleaning up his lyrics despite all the backlash that hip-hop has received since Don Imus' "nappy headed hoes" controversy. 50 Cent would take a stab at Master P when a reporter used the No Limit Records founder as an example of a rapper who has chosen to stop using racist and sexist language in his music. "Well Master P doesn't sell CDs anymore," he scoffed. "You can tell him I said it.
Are the 50 Cent’s the black Simon Legree’s of this 21st century? Perhaps not in terms of a physical enslavement, but a strong argument can be made towards mental enslavement. Make no mistake, the messages being sprouted forth from the lyrics of certain rap music are the same messages that have been perpetrated upon African Americans for close to 400 years—negative imagery, the significant difference being that some of these agents of mass mental destruction, in recent decades, have undertaken a skin-color transformation and are now masquerading as African Americans and/or blacks.
H. Lewis Smith, Founder/CEO of the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc., weighs in with his comments, and asks that you pardon him while he rolls down the window to let in some air to get rid of some the stench.
First, it must be understood that 50 Cent and others from the hip-hop movement are going to defend their turf, which is what he is indeed doing with the above comments. Is it fair, in all honesty, to point fingers at rappers such as the likes of 50 Cent? Are they doing any more with abusive language than, say, the movie industry? Are 50 Cent’s violent shoot-out videos any more damaging to the minds of our youth than some of the crap that comes out of Hollywood and/or other videos? Does it matter that 50 Cent used the n-word more than 200 times on one of his CDs--Get Rich or Die Trying--while Hollywood’s use of the n-word is just as scandalous?
The answer to all of these questions: They are all equal opportunists when it comes to degrading, demeaning and heaping verbal abuse upon the African-American community, and they all need to be taken to task for it.
There is no doubt that the motion picture industry must be as much of a target as the music industry; however, it makes no sense to go after Hollywood as long as blacks think nothing of degrading and demeaning themselves. Hollywood is not being given a free pass, but to DEMAND respect, you must first respect yourself. As long as African-American rappers see nothing wrong in selling their soul and their own people down the river for those 30 pieces of silver, nothing is going to be accomplished by going after the motion picture industry.
If African Americans as a community don’t think enough of themselves to clean up their own act first, then this whole matter of pointing the finger elsewhere is nothing more than an exercise in futility.
It is incumbent upon African Americans as a community to rise up against the 50 Cent’s and let them—and Hollywood all at the same time know—what time it is. What time is it? It’s time for the 50 cent’s to stop being disingenuous, polluting the minds of your youth with their imagery of violence, misogyny, drug trades, thug culture and self-debasement. The black community can’t live in a glass house and yet throw stones elsewhere. Clean up your own act—first—and then throw the stones. Polluting the minds of your youth is not an art form; it’s a nefarious act and disgust at its lowest ebb.
It is of vital importance to be careful of what goes into the subconscious mind. Words and thoughts that are repeated often get stronger by the repetitions, sink into the subconscious mind and affect the behavior, actions and reactions of the person involved.
The minds of our youth should not be used as a wasteland where any and all garbage is dumped into it. Remember: Garbage in, garbage out! So don’t wonder why the incarceration ratio of African Americans is so high; why the poor performances in public schools, suspensions, drop-outs and expulsions exist; and why the devastating rates of drug sells and black-on-black crime manifest, when all the time you are shooting your own self in the foot.
The question, is there a link between the debased lyrics of some rap music and the deep-rooted issues presently fermenting within the black community, has been queried. Unequivocally, the answer to this question is a firm YES! It is also suggested that the n-word is a psychological conduit to these very same issues. This is not to say that the music industry is totally at fault and responsible for the aforementioned issues--only that it’s a contributing factor and must be held accountable for its own complicities.
More than a year ago, billboards in the South Central Los Angeles area were promoting images of 50 Cent holding a microphone in one hand and a handgun in the other; hats off to the good citizens in that community for having the decency, guts and courage to have those billboards removed. The same display and concern for protecting the minds of our youth now needs to be exhibited nationwide.