Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gangsta Rap, A Government Ploy?

Since race has been injected into the 2008 campaign and insinuations of deteriorating relations between the races in America have come forward, should it surprise us to hear that Gangsta Rap was a Government Ploy to encourage Blacks to kill each other?

Just such a statement has been made by talented and lovely singer/songwriter, Alicia Keys in an interview appearing in the March 2008 issue of Blender magazine.

The 27 year-old Grammy Award Winning artist was discussing her liking of rapper Notorious B.I.G. saying,

My favorite Biggie song is ‘Me & My Bitch. That title doesn’t make you think he’s speaking about the love of his life, but he is. She throws his shit out the window, she flushes his drugs down the toilet, she’s crazy! But if you grew up like that, then you understood, that was love in that world.”

Asked what other Gangsta Rappers she liked, she threw the interviewer for a loop with the reply, “Gangsta rap was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. Gangsta rap didn’t exist.”

Asked just who created Gangsta Rap and the ploy, she incredulously answered, “The Government!”

She additionally says that Tupac and Biggie were essentially assassinated, “by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.”

Surprising even her mother was that she now sports a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck “to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead.” “Them” is not described.

For some time now, Government, more specifically White America, has received the blame for much of the trouble found in large city ghettoes. From rampant drug use, to AID’s, extreme poverty to high theft, down to the ever escalating gang activity and Black on Black crime, Government has gotten the blame, warranted or not.

Gangsta Rap in particular, with its lyrics of rape, demeaning women, killings, sodomizing and other such nefarious actions has been receiving condemnations from several sources, Right and Left, White and Black, Government and Civilian.

Defense of the genre has repeatedly come from the very ones Ms. Keys claims it was created to encourage to kill each other.

Black luminary Bill Cosby recently said,
disadvantaged Blacks should start by purging their own culture of noxious elements like gangsta rap,” citing a Pew study reporting, “71 percent of Blacks feel that rap is a bad influence.”

Gangsta Rap, with its lyrics of violence and heavy beats came on the scene in the early 1980’s, growing out of the popular Hip-Hop culture. Supposedly it reflected the “violent lifestyles of inner-city youth.”

This begs the question, who makes inner cities violent? Many a person has come out of these inner cities with an education to become successful, even if they had to work a little harder than someone else.

Alicia herself, born in Harlem and raised in Manhattans Hells Kitchen, had to work to be the success she is. Being biracial, if anyone knows of the prejudices of others on both sides, it should be her.

Raised by her White mother after her Jamaican father left, Ms Keys says,
I never had to go through that in regards to, 'You're not black enough, you're not white enough,' the whole kind of white/black-mixture thing. I never had to go through that. I went through prejudices and all, surely. But I never had to battle with those two parts of me."

What changed for Alicia? Possibly, could it be “I’ve read Huey Newton’s, Assata Shakur’s and David Hilliard’s [autobiographies],” all 3 founders of the Blank Panthers in their more militant days?

Perhaps Alicia Keys would have served herself better had she read Juan Williams’ book, “Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America -- and What We Can Do About It.”

Even he sees where the problems have been coming from. Like Bill Cosby has said, “We cannot blame the white people any longer.”

Although Alicia isn’t known as the brightest bulb in the chandelier, this type of thinking and rhetoric will not fulfill the dreams once stated as
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

It just further divides an already divided people, Alicia.

UPDATE: Alicia Keys says comments to magazine were misrepresented.
"My comments about `gangsta rap' were in no way trying to suggest that the government is responsible for creating this genre of rap music. The point that I was trying to make was that the term was oversloganized by some of the media causing reactions that were not always positive."


u∃∃l!∃ said...

The idea of finding someone to blame, besides oneself (or one's own group) is common.

the right blames the Left (even for their own presidential candidate).
The left blames the right.
Whites blame blacks and affirmative action; Blacks blame predjudice against them and now the government.

I blame my parents for screwing me up. My Dad blames my Mother for his kids's being screwed up, and some of his own misery as well.

A lot of looking within is needed.
If the government is indeed pushing music with harmful lyrics, why don't parents stop their kids from listening (not all rap has harmful lyrics, I have stumbled upon some that has a good message).

The bad influences on our children is driven mostly by greed of those who profit from it.
It makes the parenting job very difficult.

LewWaters said...

Eileen, individuals blaming individuals for assumed wrongs is one thing. To come out and state a government deliberately created a music genre that is condemned by the majority to eleminate hat same group of people is quite another.

Claims as this does not accomplish anything nor does it help draw the people of the country together. In fact, it seems the exact opposite of what Martin Luther King strived for, coming together, accepting each other and blending.

To lay it off on the government is just ridiculous given that Blacks defending the genre calim it is representative of the violence they live with amongst each other.

On the other hand, those that have self pride and work to make something of themselves most often do, just as poorer Whites have had to do.

Our government, nor any other government, invented Gangsta Rap to encourage Blacks to kill each other any more than they invented AID's to kill off the Blacks. If they did, why is AIDs among Gay Males more than double that of AIDs of all other groups combined in America?

Blacks like Bill Cosby need to be heard and listened to.

Anonymous said...

I was sad to hear that Keys made these comments. I love her music because it is so relatable but her comments are disheartening to say the least.

LewWaters said...

I know how you feel, Dominique. I dearly love Barbra Streisands voice and talent, but her outrageous comments and positions have stopped me from listening to much she says any longer.

Alicia is a very talented young lady as well. I hope she soon discovers the bill of goods she has been fed.

MO said...

Some black people who blame whites for everything that goes wrong in their lives, and want them to fix it, are living in a slave mentality, where the "Massa" had to provide for all their needs.
Bill Cosby had it right when he said to "Come on People", and let us get moving.

LewWaters said...

Agreed, Jeannie. I'm waiting for when we can put race aside and just become one people, if possible.

We cannot change the past, so why not look to the future and together, build a better world?

Unknown said...

I think it's quite obvious, by reading the statement over, that Alicia is not trying to say that the government or white people created gangsta rap. She's saying that "gangsta rap" as a title never existed, it was created by (in her own opinion) the government as a way of labeling those artists as thugs. I think her opinion is valid. Tupac and Biggie did not ever call themselves "gangsta rappers." They were labeled that by the media due to the nature of their rhymes.

LewWaters said...

Mya, you are certainly entitled to whatever opinion you desire, but even Ms. Keye’s lame excuse of her words being “misinterpreted” doesn’t explain her comment, “Gangsta rap was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other,” and “that Tupac and Biggie were essentially assassinated, by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.”

Those charges go well beyond merely labeling a harmful form of entertainment.

Personally, when “artists” include lyrics calling for killing, rape, demeaning women or “killing Cops,” in their “art,” not qualify one as a “thug?”

Whatever happened to Black Artists like Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Lou Rawls, James Brown and so many others who sang songs about loving each other and their female counterparts? Why was their message in song pushed aside for messages of hate?