*As complaints rage on about the misogyny in rap music – including lyrics that refer to women as bitches and hos – it seems these critics aren’t concerned with the perpetual man-bashing that’s perpetrated by R&B favorites like Erykah Badu, Keisha Cole, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Jhené Aiko, Beyonce, Jazmine Sullivan, and others.
Various female-led organizations have joined forces in a crusade to eliminate rap music from the airwaves.
They argue that rappers of today’s generation promulgate lyrics that demean and objectify women of color. Experts have also accused rap of having adverse effects on the self-esteem and confidence of young female listeners.
Although these findings have merit, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the long, LONG list of R&B divas (past and present) who’ve relished every opportunity to eviscerate black men under the guise of musicianship.
And if you think I’m exaggerating or trying to create a false narrative, then I challenge you to play an entire Keisha Cole album from start to finish. She and others of her kind dedicate whole songs to bashing former lovers and ex flames, while rappers only pepper their lyrics with vulgar one-liners about the skanks and skeezers they encounter on the road.
It could be argued that modern rap is conspicuously demeaning to women, while R&B music tends to be much less aggressive and profane. But these genres each give performers a stage to publicize their frustrations about the opposite sex.
And frankly, it doesn’t matter how an insult is packaged as long as it serves its purpose – to provoke emotion from its intended target(s).
And if you’re wondering why there hasn’t been a rap song created to uplift women since Tupac released “Keep Your Head Up” in 1993, then my counter-question is why aren’t there more R&B songs from women created to celebrate black men (other than when Jill Scott or Angie Stone decides to write one).
So why aren’t the ladies being held to any standard of professional conduct or lyrical integrity?
I’m not saying rappers should be allowed to freely denigrate black women because of the equally critical overtones of man-hatred prevalent in R&B music from women artists, but if you ask me, it’s unfair and short-sighted for dozens of women’s rights organizations to point their fingers at rappers for using “offensive” language against women, while ignoring songs like “Scrubs” from TLC, in which men are ridiculed for lacking money, status, and a personal means of transportation.
If it’s okay in the interest of music for TLC to categorize lowly men as “scrubs” without the lyrics sparking outrage from the male population, then shouldn’t it also be acceptable for rappers to use words like “ho” and “bitch” to categorize gold-digging industry groupies?
When Mary J Blige, Beyonce, Rihanna and other singers embed sweeping – and often negative – generalizations about men into the lyrics of their hit songs, should they be subjected to the same level of criticism and judgment that rappers are often forced to grapple with?
Why isn’t there opposition to the R&B songs that depict black men as liars, cheats, deadbeats, and scumbags?
Why aren’t there boundaries established for black women in music who earn their living from maliciously bashing African American men in an effort to appease their broken and bitter female fans?
Meanwhile, there’s a never-ending chorus of naysayers constantly taking aim at rap music for its alleged history and culture of misogyny – as if women are exempt from being on the blunt end of free speech, and entitled to special treatment.
The notion that rappers should be required to censor their language to accommodate the sensibilities of women is not only comical on its head, but it reeks of new-wave feminism.
We’ve reached an epoch in our world’s history where it’s “courageous” and “bold” for women to openly badmouth men, but when the tides shift, so do the attitudes regarding free speech.
So here’s my solution. How about black men and women find things to fuss about other than each other? As the old saying goes, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Rap needs a makeover. R&B needs the same. Still, both genres have the power to radiate Black excellence.
The Black Hat is written by Southern California based Cory A. Haywood, a freelance writer and expert on Negro foolishness. Contact him via: [email protected] and/or visit his blog: www.enterthehat.com, or send him a message on Twitter: @coryahaywood
The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Stand Your Ground A License to Kill Protestors?
*Just as Americans are fixated on the results of the 2020 Presidential Election Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is trying to push legislation through the Florida statehouse that could put targets on the backs of protestors exercising their First Amendment rights. While the eyes of Americans are watching the White House, DeSantis is sneaking through the back door – aka the statehouse.
If De Santis has his way people who use deadly force against protestors could use the Stand Your Ground law as their defense to get away with murder. De Santis drafted a bill that could expand the controversial law to cover anybody who claims they feared for their lives and end up killing a protestor.
The first issue I have with this law is who is to say whether a person is a protestor or looter or rioter in the heat of the moment? The second issue I have with this proposed expansion of the law is it promotes using deadly force to protect personal property. Most SYG and castle doctrine laws across the United States allow using deadly force only if a person feels their life or a loved one’s life is in danger. Killing someone over theft or property damage is unlawful. If Florida expands this law it could be a green light for other states to do the same.
In addition, DeSantis’ bill includes mandatory punishment for protest organizers and mandatory jail time for anyone convicted of assaulting police and it would block local municipalities from defunding local police departments. View the video for more details.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her @TCBStef on Twitter and Instagram.
JFK Remembered: ‘Purple Raindrops’
[Updated version from the author’s book, “Book To The Future” (Amazon)]
As we commemorate the 57th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, many things are being written and new revelations are surfacing about our revered fallen hero. For instance, until now it has not been widely known about the various enervating illnesses JFK suffered from early childhood and throughout his adult life which included Addison’s disease. The many medications he reportedly was taking seem to be on par with the magnitude of findings after singer Michael Jackson’s death.
It was a sad day when we heard the news about JFK on November 22, 1963. That was truly the day America lost its innocence. Videos of the presidential motorcade ambling through the streets of Dallas, and the impact of that dreadful moment surely defined the BC and AD of our times. Thanks to television, the image of JFK was larger than life. On a higher level, Jesus – the very image of God – was larger than life. What deep sorrow and loss his disciples must have felt when he, the Son of God who had all power, died on the cross suffering the ultimate separation – from God the Father! [Ref: Matt. 27:45-50, KJV]
Looking through the historical lens at closely bonded relations it seems the closer the bond, the deeper the sorrow when it is broken. Just imagine the horror and shock, when JFK was shot, then the suddenness of loss Jackie Kennedy felt as she sat there watching her husband die in such a cruel and gruesome manner. Think of JFK’s brother Robert Kennedy (who also died years later at the hand of a gunman); his big brother leaving D.C. for Dallas with all power, and being returned to him in D.C. in a casket all within a matter of hours. It’s the lasting anguish as intimated by L.C. Cooke on the loss of his brother, world-renowned singer Sam Cooke – shot and killed at the height of his career – “Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him.” Most of us can relate to the anguish and the agony of sudden loss; here one minute and gone the next particularly by a bullet. Think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, John Lennon, and Marvin Gaye. The news was totally shocking and unexpected.
I was recently researching some songs in Stevie Wonder’s discography and discovered that the song “Purple Raindrops,” which was the B-side of “Uptight (Everything Is Alright),” was released by Motown Records November 22, 1965. Written by Stevie’s tutor Ted Hull, the song was already two years old which would place its creation around the time of JFK’s death in ’63. For years the song was virtually lost in oblivion, but Stevie was singing “purple” before Prince’s “Purple Rain,” and the movie “The Color Purple.”
There are various interpretations and meanings of the actual color purple. Award-winning designer Jennifer Bourn writes, “Purple combines the calm stability of blue and the fierce energy of red. The color purple is often associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, and ambition. Purple also represents meanings of wealth, extravagance, creativity, wisdom, dignity, grandeur, devotion, peace, pride, mystery, independence, and magic.” Does that sound like our beloved JFK and the romanticism of an anywhere place called Camelot? Coincidentally, at the time of JFK’s death I was living on Camelot Way in Los Angeles’ Green Meadows projects.
Purple signifies our highest honors. The Purple Heart is awarded to our military soldiers for meritorious performance of duty. I wish we could award one to every little child who has to leave home headed for school through a minefield of uncertainty due to senseless gun violence.
Bourn further writes, “The color purple has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including uplifting spirits, calming the mind and nerves, enhancing the sacred, creating feelings of spirituality, increasing nurturing tendencies and sensitivity, and encouraging imagination and creativity. Purple is associated with spirituality, the sacred, higher self, passion, third eye, fulfillment, and vitality. Purple helps align oneself with the whole of the universe.”
Bourn’s take on shades of purple can also be ascribed to Jackie Kennedy’s experience. In video composites Jackie is shown wearing pink when leaving the hospital after their infant son Patrick died just months before JFK, and the more familiar pink outfit that JFK’s blood splattered all over in the motorcade car in which they were riding.
Bourn writes, “Light purple or lavender is a feminine, graceful, elegant color that has long been associated with refined, wealthy women. While the color purple represents royalty, lavender represents beauty and femininity. Lavender is considered to be the ‘grown-up’ pink.” Certainly Jackie’s “pink” went beyond lavender and to a deeper shade after that period in her life.
At the close of 1963, America was already feeling change in the air and it was voiced in Bob Dylan’s 1964 album release titled “The Times They Are a-Changing.” The following month introduced The Beatles for the first time on the Ed Sullivan show – the British invasion had begun. That same month The Kingsmen came out with one of the most controversial songs of all time – “Louie, Louie,” and 22 year-old Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) defeated Sonny Liston for the heavyweight boxing crown, declaring “I am the greatest.” Later in June The Supremes’ “Where Did Our Love Go” exploded on the charts – its simplicity reminded me of bubble gum and hopscotch. I think it really resonated in America and on a global scale as people reflected on Camelot lost. As 1964 came to a close we lost Sam Cooke who left us a message of hope – “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
Despite all the difficulties JFK encountered during his brief presidency, he forged ahead. Being the youngest president ever elected, he intuitively knew that it was his moment. He knew his purpose was to usher in a new era, and he delivered. He was the “purple” and when he died, it spattered on us like purple raindrops and enriched our lives. The beginning lines to Stevie’s “Purple Raindrops” are: “Purple raindrops/spattered flowers/I daydream for hours…” JFK’s legacy – to dream big, and the challenge “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” – is truly a profile worth remembering and acknowledging.
To hear Stevie Wonder’s “Purple Raindrops” (<ahref=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UXsJ9Yj1Ho>CLICK HERE)
Please share your thoughts in the user-friendly, no-obligation comment section below.
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]
The Wattree Chronicle: Dubious Donnie’s Just Reward
*I hate to celebrate another person’s misfortune. That kind of pettiness is totally classless. But watching Donald Trump having to agonize through his current loss to Joe Biden is making me want to dance in the street.
Donald Trump is currently showing the world just how petty and vindictive he is. He’s purposely doing everything in his waning power to make America suffer for voting him out of office. Due to his petty, vindictive nature, he’s trying to punish America by refusing to concede and failing to cooperate with a smooth transition of power.
His intent – other than his desperation over having to face the possible legal consequences of his past behavior – is to make it much harder for President-Elect Joe Biden to pick up the pieces after he’s gone, and he doesn’t care how many Americans he’s responsible for killing in the process. And the Republican Party clearly recognizes that fact, but they’re much too weak-kneed and self-serving to defend the American people from this atrocity. But America will recover, so all Trump’s actually doing is making a fool of himself, ensuring his place in the garbage heap of history, and clearly demonstrating just how rudderless this nation has been for the past four years.
Trump insists that the election was rigged, while not only the facts, but simple logic suggests that’s not the case. The fact that Donald Trump lost, while the Republican Party fared much better than expected, indicates that the American people didn’t reject conservatism, but Donald Trump.
This article/essay continues at The Wattree Chronicle.
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