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Thursday, April 12, 2007

In defense of hip hop (a rant against Imus's apologists)

In wake of the Imus debacle (at this posting, Imus has just been fired by CBS), a schism is erupting with dissenting sides taking pot shots at one another in a case of one upmanship. To some, Imus is a virulent racist who has ranted off one too many times and his firing is long overdue. To others, Imus is some sort of martyr who has been sacrificed in the name of censorship. I'm in the former court; I've only learned of some of Imus' past remarks, many of them racist, sexist, misogynistic, and just plain out mean and stupid, and yes, it is long past time that this idiot was pulled from the airwaves.

But my dander is up as I continue to read one after another of Imus's defenders attempt to downplay his stupidity by placing the whole blame on hip hop, as though Imus is some impressionable youth who couldn't help but succumb to the misogyny of all those rap lyrics (music I am so sure he doesn't even listen to). First of all, let's get something straight - true hip hop has nothing to do with the tom coonery that has become the meat and potatoes of the RIAA. The stepin' fetchits who have sold out their women (and themselves) through their repulsive lyrics are a world apart from the true hip hop artists who started the genre and are trying to repair it - I'm talking the likes of KRS-One, Mos Def, Common and many more. These are artists who can create without the destruction of self, who ain't jiving and shuffling for the MTV and BET set.

Another tune I keep hearing is that blacks don't complain about the misogyny in rap. Hellloooo!!! Black women have been up in arms for almost two decades, trying to take back our images that have been pilloried and lambasted, lampooned and vilifed for the sake of the almighty dollar and to put rims on some idiot rapper's Escalade. Many in the black community have protested with feet and money the destructive lyrics that have broadstroked the entirety of black women as "bitches and ho's."

But I'm not even trying to buy the "let's lay the blame on rap," no matter how repugnant some of the current rap is. Let me analogize how I read the "well, your black men abuse you, so what's so bad about me doing it?" line of reasoning. As a human being, when you see someone being abused, do you join in? If you hear a man calling his mama a bitch, are you going to follow suit? If you see a man raping his wife, sister, or daughter, do you unbuckle your belt, saying, "Let me in on some of that?" Well, obviously, if you're Imus, you do.

I'll now call this the Imus Rule of Thumb: "Just because someone else is abusing a person doesn't give you carte blanche to do the same."

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 4/12/2007 02:34:00 PM Permanent Link     | | Home


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