Monday, December 19, 2005

Checking Ourselves : Hip Hop vs Rap: Which Should We Keep?

To start, I love Hip Hop or Rap what ever you want to call it. From Doug-E-Fresh to Paul Wall, but I must admit. During the last 10 years or so I have developed more and more of a problem with so called “Rap music”. The general creativity is top notch, the beats are slammin’ and as an adult the lyrics only really bother me if I listen to too much of it. Through out rap history there has always been lyrics and songs with adult content, but they were the minority. Today they are the majority. My main concerns are: Is today’s rap music helping the image main stream has of us and is it helping us get ahead as a community. Most do not understand…and probably never will. I’m not only speaking of the words, but also the subject of the songs. Today with slang you can say a lot without technically cursing. Should adult subject matter rap or songs in general be played on live radio before 9pm where most kids are listening? Also, what impact is it having on our kids? Just a refresher, the definition of pornography is: Lurid or sensational material; Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal; Material that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement. Is today’s popular rap music mostly about anything other than sex, money, drugs, and violence?

As an adult I know that there are plenty of other Rap songs that are just fine. Even songs by so called “Thugs” but, the lyrics and subject matter of radio songs and music videos have gone over the top. I am not talking censorship even thou I would support family friendly radio time schedules; this is America where freedom of speech exists. I’m talking of personal censorship within the African American community. I applaud BET for the show “Uncut”, but I feel BET needs to go further by putting all adult subject songs on after a slated time.

We create the music; we can control the music. If the Adults of our community reach out to the Rap Industry and make them understand our concerns I believe we can come up with a compromise in regards to limiting the words and subject mater that’s aired on the live radio and TV.

In addition, Parents, we must do a better job of censoring what music our kids are listening to. Rap has been around a long time, we don’t have to start our kids off listening to Snoop Dog. How about starting off with some old school and slowly as they grow older introducing newer and newer rap music. Ok, here it comes….”They are going to here it any way”. This is true, but if they are not allowed to here it on the radio, and they are not allowed to have the songs in their homes or in their personal players. The only place they will have access is with other kids. That’s ok though…most kids will get the point, just like we did. That is that these songs are not intended for kids and should not be celebrated. Also as we got older we began to understand why our parents had those rules and now most of us agree with them.

In addition, parents need to do a better job of getting to know the kids their kids are spending time with. So when you identify a kid as a bad influence you can take action to protect you kid. There were things when we were kids that we were not supposed to see or listen to, so if we did we respected our parents and their rules by sneaking. Today to many parents are allowing or putting adult content (music/video) right in front of kids. I mean buying your 9yr. old kid a Bow Wow cd is ridicules. Bow Wow is not a kid any more he's in his 20's and is talking about 20yr. old things.

There are not enough clean respectful songs about love, break-ups, fine women & men, partying…etc. I bet most of these Rappers don’t allow their kids to listen to their songs. It is pass time for us to make this change and save the adult music for the adults.

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Consumer Corner : The "Con" in Today’s Contracts

The definition of a contract is: A legally binding arrangement or agreement between parties. Question: Can anyone explain why the “Con”-tracts of today are more one sided than ever before? Also, when did these one-sided contracts become legal? It does not mater weather it is the business, sports, consumer, or entertainment industries; It seems that the only way to get a fair, balanced, or even favorable contract is if you either hold an equal position in regards to money or power to the company or business you are signing a contract with, or you have the leverage of competition to force a company or person to offer a fair contract.

What I mean by fair is not only a legally binding arrangement, but also a contract that governs the agreed responsibilities of all parties involved. Example: Most cell phone contracts now have a cancellation fee clause the forces the user to pay either a full years cost or the total remaining cost of the contract period to end their service with that company. The problem: this applies even if the cell phone company has failed to provide satisfactory service to the customer. Why does the company according the contract still get the money for the full “Con”-tract period even if they are the ones that have defaulted? Consumers used to have the power to end their use of a product or service in the event that the product or service did not perform properly.

In addition, why are companies allowed to change the product or service itself during the “Con”-tract period? This is being done without notifying the other party involved or giving the other party involved the option of canceling the contract at no charge because of the change. Example: A major satellite TV company changed its service and removed channels from its regular channel line up to make room more NFL channels during football season. Every customer of this service does not watch football, so those customers are just screwed out of channels that they previously received.

In sports most are familiar with the T.O. saga. He was penalized harshly and correctly for all of his actions, but you would be a fool to believe that he was the only one who had fault in that situation. The organization and coach did some dirt to, but there was noting in his “Con”-tract that penalized them for their wrong doings.

Companies, employers, an organizations are “getting away with murder” and it seems no one is saying anything about it. Where are the people and agencies that are standing for the rights of the little man? Why is there not anyone in the government or national media drawing attention to these horrors? I just listed a few, there are thousands of people who have been surprised be the fine print clauses in their “Con”-tracts. I’m pretty sure it is because they are all controlled and paid by these same companies so they will be fired if they do. Will here is one place for you to speak out and if nothing else inform and warn other people of the crap that these companies are pulling.

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Today’s Labor Unions - powerful or powerless

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Friday, December 16, 2005

Just Having Fun : The Wiz Remix: Who should be cast in the main roles?

Dorothy, the lion, scarecrow, tin-man, the wicked witch, oz, and the good witch; what stars should be cast for the roles if/when a Wiz remake is done? To try and stay true to the roles the people first must have the talent for the role. Weather it requires singing, acting, or dancing. Also the cast should be made up of respected entertainers who are admired not because they have a platinum CD but because they have demonstrated the skills for the roles in previous performances. In other words, when most people see your list, whether they agree or not, they a least should say that they could see your selections legitimately playing the roles. My list is made up of:

Dorothy - Beyonce or Janet Jackson
The Lion - Charles S. Dutton or Busta Rhymes
Scarecrow - Omarion
Tin Man - Bernie Mac
Wicked Witch - Monque
Oz - Samuel Jackson
Good Witch - Loretta Divine or Jill Scott
Director - Spike Lee

When a remake of the Wiz is done who ever is doing the casting hopefully will take this post and its comments into consideration. Now let see what kind of list you can come up with?

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Checking Ourselves : Degrading & Disgraceful or Enlightening & Creative

Aaron McGruder's "The Boondocks" attempts to reflect the racial diversity and complexity of our world. Combining childhood antics with contemporary political and social satire. It has now been turned into a TV series on cartoon network adult swim. With a combination of sharp opinions and creative delivery it guaranties to both entertain and offend. One question remains, is “The Boondocks” degrading and disgraceful or enlightening & creative?

After viewing several episodes the creativity and writing is refreshingly top notch, but the cursing and the frequent use of the “N” word proved hard to swallow. Not just because the use of the “N” word should be offensive, but because its use could diminish the original meaning and violence intended by the word to a young audience who already struggles to understand and identify with black history in America.

Historically in short, it was culturally necessary to believe, or be able to believe, that Africans were inherently and naturally less than human but were beings of a somehow sub-human, non-human, nature. This we see proven with the written words documented in the original text of the Constitution of the United States which originally stated that Africans were 'three-fifths' a man (by law). It became necessary to dehumanize Africans and devalue their historical worth as a people in order to ensure their value as slaves.

When the word n***er was devised, the meaning it implied was of a debased, ignorant, or very low person. Then, African-Americans dropped the 'ER' and added an 'A' thus forming a new word N***A. This word has been accepted and approved because 'the word now has a new meaning, we mean it a different way' is the obnoxious excuse. This is the same word that was used against our ancestors who shed blood for...now being accepted and used (daily) by the same people it was used against! The term is meaningless in reality but has become a useful word for those who help perpetuate the negative stereotypes of Africans worldwide.

Why do we choose to use a word that degrades Africans everywhere and turn around and call someone who looks just like you, a N***A! We can't possibly believe that we have the power to change the meaning of a word and expect other people to follow along with this mentality, this isn't progress folks. Depending on your view acknowledging the frequent use of the “N” word within our community and to share those conflicting comforts outside our community is a whole different issue. Black people need desperately to stop using the “N” word and stop acting like “N****s so that we can demand and command respect, fairness, and equal opportunity in America.

Does this show help blacks in our struggle…..NO, but it must be said …..This is America, were suppose to have freedom of speech. If that’s true we also have the choice to not tune in or turn the channel. As far as a Christian perspective...you should already know. If you don't...you better ask somebody. Continue to watch I will, enjoy? Not sure. I'll wait until the season ends to make a final desision. P.S. please…please do not let our kids watch this show. Its not called Adult Swim for nothing.

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