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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectCycles, cycles - life runs in cycles
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=30309&mesg_id=30325
30325, Cycles, cycles - life runs in cycles
Posted by Nettrice, Tue Apr-26-05 12:03 PM
"New is old - no I'm not no psycho
The monkey on the back makes the best excel
The people in the crowd makes the best rock well
The people in the back lets you know who's whack
And those who lack - the odds are stacked
The one who makes the money is white not black
You might not believe it but it is like that" - Timebomb by Public Enemy

A central purpose of the mind-numbing media barrage is to overwhelm, confuse and intimidate public opinion, especially in the US. Nowadays entertainment is news and vice versa. People are not taught how to critically think about media (or entertainment). What has been going on since the late 80s/early 90s is a merging of rap, hip-hop and entertainment (popular culture). Remember that Little Richard scared the hell out of the white establishment in the 50s and changed popular music forever. Well, hip-hop just took it to the next level. It was/is the "ghetto CNN" and just what is rap music telling people? Not much more than what Little Richard was singing about in the 50s. Really.

Rap music took entertainment and popular culture to another level but no one really dealt with the "health" of Black communities post-Civil Rights. IMHO this is the reason why we stick up for "niggas". It part of the same ol' cycle except this time there are more "little richards", making more $$$ and in the media eye 24-7. It used to just be the white establishment that was shook but now Black folks, including women, are paying attention. The cycle has been there all along:

We form certain expectations of people or events
We communicate those expectations with various cues
People tend to respond to these cues by adjusting their behavior to match them
The result is that the original expectation becomes true

If you look at history and the larger picture you would see that things have not changed all that much. Since we are talking about music and entertainment I brought up Little Richard. My colleague teaches a course on music from the 50s and it is clear how music and what was happening around the music set the stage for the Civil Rights Movement. What did they do with Little Richard? They came up with Pat Boone (and others). That was by design and it's no different today.

>do we expect kids to sift through this all and understand the
>good and the bad? even if they seem to get it on a conscious
>level, are we looking at the deeper effects? where's the
>balance? "some women are bitches and ho's," said a young
>brother on a mtv news clip, "so i treat them like that." how
>do you tell the difference? what makes you an authority on
>bitch/ho status, and what is your template?

Parents, teachers, mentors, etc. These are the folks who set the standards and help form the foundation for young kids. My mother had no problem with me listening to rap music but her thing was rock, r&b. My father was a fan and we used to spend lots of time just listening to Public Enemy, Wu Tang Clan or some other rap artist. We also talked about the same kinds of issues we heard in the songs. I was encouraged to think critically then and now. I noticed how Rakim seldom cursed and never said nigger in his early songs like Microphone Fiend. Later, I taught teachers and students on how to look for the metaphors and interpret the meaning behind the lyrics.

Chuck D told me in an interview that hip-hop isn't anything if you don't control it. How many rap artists are trying to hang on to their music and build? Folks trying to make $$$ just like everyone else. We can't leave it to rap artists. We have to hit the establishment in the pockets if we want to see change.

"In effect - the crew's in check
Run by the posse with the gold around the neck
Homeboys in heat - lookin' for sweet
Ladies in the crowd so they can meet
Somebody to body - makin' a baby
Givin' it to grandma an' makin' her crazy
I'm a MC protector - U.S. defector
South African government wrecker
Panther power - you can feel it in my arm
Lookout y'all I'm a timebomb
Tickin', tockin', all about rockin'
Makin' much dollars while the crazy one's clockin'" - from Timebomb