Curly Morris

Archive for July, 2008|Monthly archive page

Obama and Hip Hop…the most relevant point of all

In Politics on July 31, 2008 at 2:45 am

For better or for worse and for the record, put me on the for worse side of the fence, hip hop culture has come to be the single most defining culture of Black America…in history.

There’s no getting around the hip

Obama doesn't need the hood...the hood needs him

Obama doesn't need the hood...the hood needs him

hop culture. In almost every facet of marketing and promotion, in industries ranging from women’s beauty products to the US Military; businesses, both in the U.S. and abroad, as well as any entity trying to mass communicate a single message or ideal to a large number of people will certainly, at some time or another, use hip hop and/or rap music to get that message out. Hip-hop culture and the accompanying soundtrack, rap music, like Blues music are as American as baseball, hot dogs, apple pie…you know the rest. it is also one of the few economical success stories that blacks have on large scales, wrestled from their white counterparts.

When you consider that there are gansgter rappers who are co owners of professional sports franchises, you have to say that the sustaining power of hip hop to date has seriously restructured the economic paradigm in the black community. In fact if it wasn’t for Oprah, rappers and/or someone in their professional lineage would have a lock on the black music/entertainment industry.

Firstly, I’ll give you the most obvious and significant example of how the world of hip hop has created enough space in the global economy that it’s power and demographic has  forced typically conservative corporate conglomerates to redfine their cultural borders and as such repackage their brand.

One of the most influential, provacative and pioneering rap grouops to come out the 1980’s, when hip hop culture truly began the current social ascention that the genre still enjoys today, was Long Island’s Public Enemy, a militant, pro black group that featured a no nonsense, anti establishment lead vocalist named Chuck D. On stage and on album covers, Chuck was always flanked by band members known as S1W’s (security of the First World) and resident court jester Flavor Flav.

Now if you’ve never seen Flavor Flav on television trust me on this, his appearance could be no further removed from the image that Senator Barak Obama conjures with the Senator’s sleek, clean cut, professional almost regal air. No, Flavor is on the opposite end of the spectrum in in terms of style, looks and even more importantly, ideology.

Flavor Flav

Flavor Flav

Yet Flavor Flav has become a much bigger social icon years after Public Enemy was a rap group of any major consequence.

Although I despise all reality t.v., you had to be living under a rock to have not caught wind of Flav’s huge television hit program “Flavor of Love” which aired on VH1 for three seasons running, supposedly ending this past May (yeah right). The program’s format consists of having dozens of women move into a mansion where Flav lives and having each of them pine for his affection until in the end, Flav decides that one of the women wil indeed be his true love. This past season offered episodes such as, “Dial M for Mystery Pimp Caller”, “When Flavorettes Attack” and “The Lyin’ The Witch and the Wardrobe Malfunction”.

Flav’s alter ego, (ie….his government name), William Drayton, has seven kids by three different mothers and is still unmarried. Daryton has also had his share of run ins with the law…more anti Obama.

Still, by most standards, people think that Flav is cool. That’s ditto for Ice Cube and Snoop Dogg, both of whom made their early fortunes spitting verses about gang affiliation, drug use and speaking of black women in unfalltering terms. Or as Obama puts it, “…degrading their sisters.” Flav, Ice Cube and Snoop, were at one time some of the most hated black men on the planet, (Ice Cube once did a song about white women called “Cave Bitch”), now hawk everything from cellular phones to Internet service. Gansgter rappers now occupy recurring roles in television sitcoms, police dramas, big budget Hollywood films, prime time aired commercials…everything…everywhere…has a rapper or rap music…in it…astounding.

Recently Reverend Jesse Jackson was embroiled in controversy after being caught on audio tape saying that he’d like to “cut off his (Obama’s) nuts”. Oh and that’s not gangster?”

I wonder why Jackson didn’t make any guest appearances on any of Snoops albums?  In fact revelations about Jackson’s love child in 2001 makes him appear even closer to Flav than Obama.

Here’s a question for Senator Obama to ponder;

What’s a black presidential candidate to do when the majority of the people in his race who have public forums have sold their souls for a buck and have collectively lowered the status quo for their future generations?

The answer; Stay the course brother, stay the course.

Being black is going to be a big enough burden for the Illinois Senator, being hip hop will just flat out be too much to overcome.

Years ago, the most popular black Americans came from academic institutions, religious organizations and cultural groups like the NAACP. If you saw a person of color speaking on network televsion is was safe to assume that individual was being broadcast across the airwaves to make a statement or point, more often than not about a topic that surely had the conciousness of the black American somehow embedded in it somewhere. Today, it’s Flavor Flav on the screen…representing black people…successfully.

To Ice Cube, Flav and Snoop’s credit, as artists they all were pioneers who did in fact asume the role of trailblazers in an industry that had manipulated the talents of black youth for decades. Russell Simmons, the architect behind the rags to riches model that people like Diddy and Jay Z have emulated to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, not only introduced Madison Avenue to the sub culture that was underground urban poets, they intorduced it straight – no chaser. It was that gritty self exploration of deplorable people living in deplorable conditions that so exicted middle and upper America. White kids all across the country were fascinated that there was this violent, drug infested world which mirrored old time ganster movies existing right around the corner from some of their homes. Simmons sold them the stories, Diddy, Jay and many others followed, and everybody got paid along the way.

Simmons personified the business of hip hop

Simmons personified the business of hip hop

Today, the hip hop model that Simmons created is in fact the black American dream. Complete with drug sales, gun charges, baby mamas, 24 inch rims and dead homeboys, all components utilized to increase the marketability of the prodcut and help everyone get the sale.

But just like in fast food…somebody has to sell the burgers for Mr. Burger King to get rich.

In the hood, somebody has to buy the guns, sell the dope, impregnate the girls and shoot the homeys in order to authenticate the product.

Obama has been thrown under the bus not just by Jackson but by none other than Simmons himself who suggested last year that Obama be more concerned with fixing the conditions of the ghettos where many rappers emerge from than critiquing anyone’s lyrics.

Issues concerning whether or not Politicians should distance themselves from political contributors and supporters who come from the rap community have been drowned out by the argument that these same politicians accept contributions from oil and tobacco companies, which both have their own issues with their effect on the human condition.

When the late Eazy E attended a fund raiser for the first George Bush, he was met with ridicule and promptly demolished in a record by the aforementioned Mr. Ice Cube for dining with the enemy. I wonder, if Obama gets elected, how many time will Ice Cube get to meet him, for that matter how many times have they met already?

Well rap in itself is 100% legal. Is some of it immoral? No more so than many movies current California Governor Arnold Shwarzenegger appeared in before he decided to become a public servant. It’s just entertainment right? And plus, who’s writing the “code on immorality”?

Unfortunately in many urban communities, art imitated life for a while, then life began imitating art and the result has been successive lost generations who like Obama said “are hoping to become the next “Lil Wayne“…as if that’s necessarily a good thing.

Lil Wayne Mug Shot

Lil Wayne Mug Shot

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Amazing GOP logic

In Politics on July 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Look, I don’t have any particular love for the Democratic party. I’ve always felt as though they pandered to the black community for votes by creating this facade that it is their party only that has the welfare and well being of minorities in their platform.

The Republicans have of course helped exacerbate that stereotype by electing blatant racists to key positions in their party and by assimilating with obvious bigots like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O Reilly.

Still, both policy wise and politically, it has been the GOP that throughout history has created more opportunities for black Americans than their Democratic counterparts (don’t believe me? do some research), and still this underlying feeling that members of the GOP are an elitist group that has no concern for any of our nations underclass does not seem to want to dissolve as the party and it’s presumptive nominee continue to make decisions that border on lunacy and then support those decisions with the most asinine justifications that you could possibly imagine coming from the mouths of supposed intelligent people.

Imagine this scenario:

You are in your kitchen cooking dinner and you need to chop up an onion. Instead of using the “onion chopper” you just bought at your local Dollar Tree, you decide instead to go with the 12 inch butcher knife.

Of course you inevitably cut one or more of your fingers and are eventually forced to do something to stop the bleeding. Yet instead of dealing with the blood that is trickling all over your hands and onions, you decide to keep chopping and of course you cut yourself some more. Your spouse walks in and sees all the blood and notices that you are cutting miniscule pieces of onion wit a butcher’s knife and inquires as to why you will not use the aforementioned “onion cutter”. Because you have no logical answer you respond:

This onion was the key ingredient to this meal and I needed the biggest most powerful knife to ensure that it was cut properly.”

Your wife immediately recognizes your lunacy, but realizes that you are indeed holding a huge butcher knife so she humbly plays the background.

“You should at least put something on your hands for the cuts.” she advises.

You grumble something about how she isn’t committed to this family and grab a few paper towels to wrap around your cuts. Of course now there is blood all over the kitchen counter and it’s certain to get on all the other food and the fact that if you had only used the appropriate tool to begin with your meal would stood a much better chance of being “bloodless” seems to have escaped you altogether.

Two minutes after grabbing the paper towels you, and your wife, notice that there is still blood leaking onto the counter and you are having so much trouble chopping onions with a butcher knife that the other parts of the meal are just lying around the kitchen getting blood all over them and you haven’t even started attending to those items, some of which are much more importatnt to the overall meal than these stupid little onions bits you insist on chopping (in fact you have onion powder in the cabinet!).

You really need to do something about the bleeding.” she adds

You inform her that she obviously doesn’t understand the importance of onions to this meal but if it would keep her quiet you’ll put some bandaids on the cuts…surely they’ll stop the bleeding.

You leave the kitchen and head to the bathroom only to return with two boxes of bandaids, one box has little small bandaids made especially for fingers and toes and the other box has huge bandaids for gaping wounds. She tells you that the small bandaids should do the trick. Your response:

“No, you insisted I use a bandaid so I’m gonna use the big bandaids to make sure there’s no more blood for you to complain about!”

One minute after covering your hands in huge gaudy bandaids, the bleeding does in fact stop and you triumphantly turn to your wife and say:

“Aha! I told you these big bandaids would work! Mission accomplished!”

Your wife sighs, turns and walks away, leaving you standing there with your butcher knife, onion bits and bandaided hands with a ridiculous sense of accomplishment.

The moral of this story is:

Of course the big bandaids worked you dumb ass, but why the hell were you cutting onion with a butcher knife in the first place!

You see, this is analogy is how intelligent people view the war in Iraq and the subsequent surge that the Bush administration and now John McCain are so fond of touting as their major accomplishment since Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” moment five years ago!

Of course the surge worked…but did we really have to wait for over 3,500 soldiers to die before you sent more troops? Does that really justify the fact that since Al Queda was primarily stationed in Afghanistan and the supposed 19 hijackers from 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia that we should have never invaded Iraq to begin with? Has the Bush administration completely forgotten about the individual who they blamed this entire mess on to start with, Osama Bin Laden?

Has the GOP lost all sense of reality and common sense?

Are Republicans too stubborn to admit that they were/are wrong?

Obviously.