Sunday, December 03, 2006

A slap in the face


Anybody who knows me is already well aware of my disdain for rappers nowadays. I'm not against them in the same way that most overly religious zealots are; but I stand as an antithesis of the agenda that they set nonetheless. Their actions are irresponsible, ruthless, and laced with ignorance; all things that go against the progress that blacks need to strive for in these days.

My friend Agent J just sent me this disturbing mini-video of famed hip hop mogul Jay Z getting physical with a young lady; apparently in response to her taking an unauthorized photo of him. I don't know the full story behind what went down (I haven't been able to find much on the 'net about it. Goes to show how $$$ can make things go away). So I'm not in a position to do a lot of heavy commentary on this. The news that I have heard is pretty conflicting. One source said that everyone was playing around and it was all light-hearted. Another source indicated that Jay Z was seriously angry and was actually assaulting her (if this is true, I think he should be arrested and sued; along with all those brothas sitting around watching it). But I can't tell for sure what went down. Again, my knowledge about this situation is limited to the brief clip that you see. But based on what I see here; coupled with the lack of respect toward woman for which rappers are notorious, this reaffirms the self-destructing nature of this new-aged hip hop culture.

On the one hand, I'm not entirely casting blame on the entertainers themselves. Women choose to parade around like objects and prostitute themselves to get stuff (i.e. Flavor of Love, BET, etc.). Likewise, consumers eat this stuff up; evidenced by the high ratings and profit margins that are off the scale. But entertainers also bear the burden for providing the outlet for people to get exploited. I wonder how they'd respond if it was their mother, sister, daughter, girlfriend, or wife getting pimped, exploited and -- as in this video -- smacked up? What if this was old Mrs. Jay Z? What if this was Beyonce (his girlfriend)?

It's scary to see this type of stuff promoted; largely because its audience (made up primarily of young people) are not educated and conscious enough to discern this from reality. For many young people in our society, this becomes their reality. For them, success becomes a product of how many cars you own, how much jewelry you own, how much money you have, and how many women you can get to serve you. The end result is that incidents like the one portrayed in this clip become the norm; not the exception.

Welcome to the frightening world of ignorance.

- ACL

35 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

KC said...

I'm not a huge Jay Z fan either but this post is pretty unfair. The girl in this video is actually an employee for Roc-A-Fella and they were just goofing around.

You're my boy and all, but you need to check your facts before you comment on something you don't know about before you post it for the whole world so see.

Andre said...

As I mentioned in the post, I didn't know the full story so I wasn't going to comment on it in a whole lot of detail. I'll concede to that point. But you can't rule out the history of disrespecting and exploiting women that has been prevalent in rap music; Jay Z included.

Even if they were playing (again, I don't know if they were. But I also don't know if they WEREN'T), that's no way to "goof around" with someone. Besides that, the look on his face doesn't look too entertained.

The fact is: black artists use exploitation as one of their selling tools. Men do it; women do it. But they're not aware of the social destruction that it causes for their audiences.

KC said...

I get that. But this particular video should not be used to prove any points you may have. This video doesn't show anything except that people can twist the truth. Why do you think that this video is used as any image file and not as a media file. There is not sound to corraborate your claim. All you see is a brief, relooping video image of Jay Z and a girl. There's more to this than meets the eye.

Andre said...

Whether or not the video tells the whole story, the fact is he shouldn't be dealing with women that way; joking or not. With his position as a mega-star and a public figure, he has a responsibility (whether he wants it or not) to avoid being in these types of compromising positions. He has stakeholders to whom he is accountable (especially his fans). His behavior needs to be congruent with that.

JJM said...

I don't care whether they were "goofing around" or not, it wasn't funny and it was an inappropriate thing for a man twice her size to be doing.

Let the truth be known, I never really liked him anyway. He's just like the other sexist and greedy rappers out there. I really hope that Beyonce doesn't wind up getting stuck with this guy. She has too much class to settle for the likes of him.

Cynthia said...

Like Andre said, playing or not, he's got an image to uphold. He owes it to the society who built him up not to etch an image of sexism and violence toward women.

ajbendaƱa said...

Sorry Buddy... UF#1

Andre said...

I'll concede. The nation/computer made their choice; albeit the wrong one. I guess that just means that I'll have to cheer for my sworn rivals while they smack UF all over the field.

The system is wacky; we all know that. Auburn knew when they were passed up. Oregon knew it when they got flaked. I just hate that this year my beloved Wolverines had to find out.

Bias aside, I'm trying to figure out what made Florida so impressive after losing to Auburn that caused them to jump ahead of Michigan so late in the season. Secondly, I think too many people made their decision based on not wanting to see a rematch. Plus, I think Michigan was unfairly disregarded by not playing for two weeks. Finally, I think the SEC was given more strength based on what was on paper than what they really were. The conference wasn't as strong as people said it was; so running the table wasn't all the big a deal.

But, again, the people have made their choice. Urban Meyer can stop politicing and whining. He'll get his chance to lose to OSU also.

Cynthia said...

Sigh! Leave it up to boys to integrate discussion about football in everything!

Joslyn D AKA JD said...

Dude,

You so should have shown up to that program that I invited you to. You think that you hate rappers now???? Whoa, man. I'll leave it up to everyone to form their own opinions but the dude from www.exministries.com was there. All I can say is that he played a JayZ song backwards and it completely sent chills down my spine.

I got the DVD, you GOTTA see it.

Andre said...

I was gonna go, but I decided not to waste my time. I've seen one of Elder Lewis' DVD's and I'm not impressed by what he has to say. I think its cool that he's driven to save youth from the powerful influence of our ignorant-ass culture, but he goes about it the wrong way. I think I'll write about that soon, as time permits.

Also, the backward tape thing is not convincing enough for me. A guy I talked to from Wayne State told me about how people manipulate music all the time. I'm not saying that Elder Lewis did it, but I'm also not ruling out the fact that he deliberately uses misrepresented stuff to make his point (similarly to how I don't that Bush "lied" to get us into Iraq. I think he just used actual data and manipulated it to fit his agenda).

I have my issues with hip hop, but it's not for the same reasons that many religious folks do.

KC said...

I follow Elder Lewis and his ministry too. I think he's pretty on point with his message. He appropriate puts secularism on blast; like it needs to be.

Truthfully we need more people to tell it like it is.

Andre said...

I'm with you on that -- to an extent. I don't see anything wrong with him lambasting the sheer ignorance of the hip hop culture today. But if his message today is anything like the message that his DVD promoted (that ALL hip hop was demonic), then he's wrong. His arguments aren't logically or scipturally supported. He includes Gospel rap in the same stem as somebody like Jay Z, NWA, or 2 Live Crew; which is way off base. My problem with his message is that he's taking today's ridiculousness with Hip Hop and applying it to the entire genre and not to specific cases.

Anonymous said...

i dont know what you talking about but anything that calls women b's and promote smoking weed and wasting money can't be of god. ex ministries came to our city and made tore it up. it was much needed.

Andre said...

Anonymous, I get your point. Like KC, I agree to an extent. But I think you should consider all of the other MANY uses of Hip Hop. I don't claim to be an academic when it comes to hip hop, but I know that it's not limited to the promotion of greed and commercialism that we see today. At the core of it all, a large component of hip hop included artistic expression from conscious, socially relevant performers. It is a pretty powerful tool that's been wielded for both bad (i.e. current "artists") and for good (guys promoting unity, community development, raising awareness, and even spreading the Gospel with Christian rap). Just because Ex-Ministries only concentrates on the negative side of the music doesn't make it all bad.

Anonymous said...

i'm just curious what's your beef with ex ministries?

Cynthia said...

I see where you're coming from Andre. The Bible reminds us that we should reconcile the world and everything in it to God (Colassians 1:19-20). I think that also applies to things that we consider secular.

JJM said...

I think I agree that Elder Lewis doesn't present a compelling argument about how rap as an entire force is sinful.

I think it makes sense to scrutinize and attack the obvious culprits. But how to you account for the incredible influence that Gospel rap has on today's youth? Instead of making it all bad, he needs to focus on going after the right things.

Andre said...

@ Anonymous: I don't have any "beef" with this guy. I just don't think that he's entirely correct. On top of that, he's taken his misinformed message and validated it by sharing it with people who were already pretty opposed to it; essentially forming an "Amen Corner". Not that this is bad. I think we all do it at one point or another. I just think that it's irresponsible to use as influencial of a forum as he has just to spew his personal disdain for something he doesn't like.

Before he just came out and vilified the whole medium, how many hip hoppers has he consulted? How many has he gotten to know personally? He'll have you to believe that he knows all about the secular world. But how can he make claim if he's failed to identify the GOOD that can be found in "the world"?

Instead, this dudes goes in shooting first and asking questions later.

@ Cyn: I remember mentioning before how I had a deep and touching breakthrough while I was listening to a secular song. I think that God can be found anywhere that He's welcomed, and anywhere where are hearts are.

It's also funny that you mention that Scripture; largely because most of the music in the church (old school and new) came from some backwater Blues riff or some R&B song. Are they bad?

@ JJM: Good point J. To Ex-Ministries, I ask a simple a question:

What's more important: the outlet or the ministry that can be done through the outlet?

Joslyn D said...

Andre,

I was, and to a certain degree still am some what of a "nay-sayer" because I, too, had seen previous videos and came to a conclusion. However, coming from one who actually listened to the presentation, I have to say that, to some degree, that I agree with him. In his presentation, he broke down the origins of a lot of music, not just hiphop. Most of the information I knew was correct, cause I'm one of those people who knows "a lot of little known facts." To all the naysayers who have not seen the presentation, I urge you to go if one enters the city. Andre, in one of your previous posts you spoke about how parents decided to keep themselved ignorant to the activites of their children because they have already formulated opinion. In no way am I a republican, but I keep myself knowledgable by reading, Time, Wallstreet Journal, Fox News, ALONG with Newsweek, Detroit Freepress, Etc. I'm just asking you not to dismisss something before seeing the whole presentation. :)

Andre said...

I've seen his DVD. If his in-person message is anything like that (I don't see why it wouldn't be), then I don't buy everything he's saying.

Cynthia said...

I see where you're coming from with your previous comments Dre. I think its important to realize that there is a lot of good that can come out Elder Lewis' message. But I think he needs to rely on more credible sources to get his information (especially with hip hop). There are far more intelligle people who can speak to the role of "holy secularism" like Christian rap like the artists themselves, before he further alienates the very people to whom he needs to minister.

thehc said...

Hey Dre,
As someone who has watched his mother being beaten, this sort of thing makes me sick. I don't know if I can buy into the "playing around" excuse. Her head seems to snap back and I agree the look on his face and the face of the guy behind him that moves forward as if to intervene seems to tell a different story. As you know I'm 100% in agreement with you on this issue. The fact that women are being more and more sexualized and therefore being treated as "meat" that deserves no respect is in my eyes, irrefutable. Even if your proof isn't solid, your accusation is. Pay attention girls, Andre is showing you how a REAL man views this shit. Keep up the good work my friend.

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry but anything that depicts women as b's and encorages ignorance must be of the devil.

Elder Lewis knows his stuff

Cynthia said...

Great point, thehc. This only goes to show that you can argue against a particular "artist" all you want. But to go after the entire medium and make it all demonic is just flat out wrong.

Cynthia said...

I've gotta get to work, but I look forward to continuing this discussion later.

Andre said...

@ Cynthia: What a person sees as "good" can actually be bad (or vice versa). It all depends on WHO said WHAT and WHY. Looking at it from Elder Lewis' perspective, rather than trying to teach what HE THINKS is right and wrong, he should use more of his ministry to show people how to discern that kind of stuff in today's world. The answer to concepts like secularim is NOT to vilify it; but rather to show people how to deal with it.

@ HC: I don't buy the "playing around" thing either. If that's an actual line he used to explain his behavior, he's lying. The fact is: he was wrong; hands down.

Thanks for the plug. I think...

@ Anonymous: No offense (I say this in the spirit of love), but where you and Elder Lewis miss the boat is when you make everything in this world out to be religiously dichotimous. You think that something is either of God or of Satan. I don't think that's a reasonable argument to use; especially when the lives of youth are at stake.

Yes, some secularism and entertainment has stuff in it that is "of the Devil". But let's not give Satan too much credit here. He doesn't corner the market on the whole genre.

Andre said...

Anonymous, I don't think I did a great job of clarifying that. Let me try again:

When I said that Satan doesn't "corner the market", I'm saying that he's not the Lord and master of hip hop. He doesn't have any control over it. Yes, lots of music is filled with sinful overtones. But that has more to do with the sinful nature of MAN than it does with the control of the Devil. The only power that the devil has is his power of temptation. He doesn't MAKE artists do what they do.

Secular music is full of material and themes that are the product of man; Because of which, it should not be credited to some demonic seed, but instead beause many artists have yet to be redeemed.

@ Cynthia (again): HC's usually pretty on point (until he starts defending the GOP, of course).

Great point at the end. Hope you're having a good day at work.

Joslyn D AKA JD said...

Slight correction Andre,

Satan has A LOT OF POWER but he just has to get God's permission to use it. Refer to Job. All that crappy stuff that happened to Job, satan, himself, did it, without using ANY temptation or mind games. It was straight out destruction. Again, he just has to have God's permission to use it. Also, keep in mind that once Jesus comes back (again) that after we're all gone that Satan will have complete rule over the Earth, which he will then be able to do what he wants, when he wants, without God's permission.

But, I agree with you on giving hop/hop too much credit. I honestly believe that the absence of strong men in the home is more to blame.

:)

Andre said...

That's actually a great point about Satan's power. I never thought of it that way. Thanks for the clarification.

I think the point I was trying to make was that if music is so terrible, it has more to do with it being performed by us humans (who are wicked by nature) than it does the devil.

But, good call on the devil/power thing.

Anonymous said...

yeah. josslyn clearly served you up and now you cant take it. doesn't feel so good, does it?

n e way, since its clear that the devil does have power what makes u think that he doesnt have control of the music?

Andre said...

For one, my anonymous brotha; what's up with the hostility? You ain't never heard me say that I can't take getting "served". If somebody's right, they're right.

Secondly, I never denied Satan's presence or his influence. I'll admit that his involvement in music doesn't help the situation at all. But I think that this is exactly why Christians are supposed to have a clear understanding of how well these mediums would work if they involved God. I think that's why God allows for Christian musicians to emerge on the scene. The only problem for most "holy" folk is that Christian musical outlets mirror the less acceptable "secular" stuff (the beats, the music, etc.). Because of which, it's automatically viewed at in the same vein as some of the 'bad' stuff.

Let's keep all the hostility to a minimum, pimp...

JJM said...

Dre,

Even though I agree that all music isn't bad, getting more traditionally minded people to see that isn't easy. It makes even more difficult when powerful ministers like Lewis are able to fuel a base of people who have pre-existing biases against the music.

This is a great discussion. Glad to see the wheels cranking again. Maybe giving you something to talk about keeps you from bitching to me about everything else! LOL!

Joslyn said...

Hey Anonymous,

Me and Dre discuss stuff all the time. I wasn't trying to "serve him up" and if it came across that way, I apolgize to you, Andre.

Wow, Andre, you have some real cyberspace enemies....whatcha be doin?

:)

Will Luongo said...

I don't think it has anything to do with his standing in society, or his "obligation to be a good role model because he is a famous rapper". NO PERSON whether black, white, indian, asian, famous, poor, rich, whatever, should disrespect someone like that.

And it doesn't exactly look like anyone is wearing their fun face.