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In a recent interview, rapper Slim Thug unleashed a very disturbing attack on Black women, here's an excerpt:
...Most single Black women feel like they don’t want to settle for less. Their standards are too high right now. They have to understand that successful Black men are kind of extinct. We’re important. It’s hard to find us so Black women have to bow down and let it be known that they gotta start working hard; they gotta start cooking and being down for they man more. They can’t just be running around with their head up in the air and passing all of us. I have a brother that dates a White woman and he always be %#&@$!ing with me about it saying, 'Y’all gotta go through all that %#&@$! [but] my White woman is fine. She don’t give me no problems, she do whatever I say and y’all gotta do all that arguing and fighting and worry about all this other %#&@$!.'...
While many people dismissed it as a publicity stunt or the rant of an ignorant rapper, I felt compelled to respond to him in the form of an open letter.
A few days ago, you made comments in Vibe magazine that has caused a great deal of controversy. While I appreciate your willingness to offer your opinion in public, you made several statements that were not only unfair and untrue, but deeply damaging to our community. Normally, I would reach out to you privately, but since your comments were made in a very public place, I feel compelled to respond in the same manner.
As an artist who is respected by millions of fans, particularly young ones, I found your comments to be hurtful and irresponsible. For good or for bad, our children follow the lead of you and other artists for everything from fashion and slang to self-esteem, body image and relationships. Imagine how a young black girl feels to hear from you, her role model, that her “standards are too high” and that she should “bow down” and “settle for less.” Consider the pain that our beautiful brown skinned babies feel when Yung Berg says he doesn’t date “dark butts.” Think about the self-esteem of our community when Nelly refers to our mothers, sisters, and daughters as “Tip Drills.”
As celebrities, your public comments are not just your own. Instead they influence the choices, beliefs, and lives of an entire generation of young people who look to you for direction. Of course, you have every right to say things that you think are true. The problem, however, is that there was very little truth in your comments. In your interview, you talk about how much better white women treat their partners than black women. If what you’re saying is true, why do Whites have the highest divorce rate of any group? Do white men get tired of being treated like kings?
In reality, it seems that you are buying into (and selling) a stale but dangerous ideal that constructs White women as ultra-feminine, loving, queens, and Black women as angry, selfish, and untrustworthy hoes.
For the past two years, Drake has been one of the hottest acts in hip-hop. From high profile guest appearances to a ubiquitous presence on urban radio, it is nearly impossible to follow hip-hop and not get regular doses of the Toronto-born rapper.
In addition to his lyrical deficiencies, there is something naggingly inauthentic about Drake. And nope, it’s not because he’s a half-white Canadian named Aubrey whose original claim to fame was playing Jimmy Brooks on the teen drama Degrassi High. While such information does nothing to enhance his street bona fides, it certainly doesn’t merit missing him outright. After all, some of hip-hop’s greatest talents (whether they admit it or not) have come from a variety of privileged race, class, and geographic backgrounds. Also, despite being a running buddy of Lil Wayne, Drake’s raps don’t include drug dealing, poverty, violence, or any of the other stale tropes of ghetto authenticity found in mainstream hip-hop narratives. Still, his persona and music feel like the product of industry cynicism rather than an organic outgrowth of hip-hop culture.
And the list goes on… Sadly, such paint-by-the-numbers thinking not only forces Drake into the public sphere, but also excludes more gifted artists who don’t fit neatly into the prefigured boxes of industry honchos.
Marc Lamont Hill is Associate Professor of Education at Columbia University. He blogs regularly at MarcLamontHill.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to know what to watch this weekend? Here's TheLoop21.com's new movies list for films being released today: http://theloop21.com/entertain ment/new-movies-opening-may-21
If you want to know what's coming up next week, here's the new movies list for May 28: http://theloop21.com/entertain ment/new-movies-opening-may-28
IN THE LOOP WITH… Misty Copeland
“It’s so easy to feel like race isn’t an issue anymore because of Obama but I really still feel like it is a big issue. I feel like it’s something I see and deal with everyday in my field.”- Misty Copeland
Although her own career was severely limited due to her race, when film legend Lena Horne passed away she was credited with paving the way for countless black actresses and singers working today. But one corner of entertainment still looks very much like it did when Horne struggled to break through more than fifty years ago. According to an analysis by the New York Times there have been only two Black women in history who have achieved the rank of principal at any of America’s most prominent classical ballet companies. Widespread speculation says Misty Copeland, a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT), will become the third.
During our chat, Copeland, ABT’s first Black soloist in more than thirty years, noted that Black male ballet dancers seem to have found wider acceptance. While observers have chalked this up to the scarcity of male dancers in general, Copeland goes further.
“Black men have been principal dancers at major companies for years but they’re not the ballet. The ballerina is what symbolizes the ballet and I think it’s hard for a lot of people to see Black women, who they may consider too strong or too harsh,” in certain roles Copeland said.
“The classical ballet world is all about tradition. The families that support the ballet don’t want to see something that they’re not used to seeing and I think that a Black woman in the role of ballerina is just too much for them to take.”
But Copeland is not deterred. While her fans, (including actress Victoria Rowell) speculate that she might soon become the first Black principal dancer in ABT’s seventy-year history, Copeland already has her eyes set on other goals.
“I’m really into fashion and am in the process of launching a dancewear line in August,” and contrary to the stereotypes about ballerinas she added, “I love food,” and “my favorite CD at the moment is [the rapper] Drake.”
Claim to Fame: Soloist with the American Ballet Theatre, currently performing at the Metropolitan Opera House now through July 10th. Ticket information can be found here: http://www.abt.org/
Affiliation: American Ballet Theatre
Education: Southbay Ballet and American Ballet Theatre’s Studio Company (for a year)
Currently Resides (city or region): New York, NY
Keli Goff, a political writer for TheLoop21.com, is scheduled to talk to Al Butler on his Philadelphia radio show Tuesday.Read more