Friday, April 13, 2007

Don Imus is hip-hop's savior

During Nas’ performance at the Neighborhood Theatre on Wednesday, he took shots at President Bush and rapper 50 Cent. He also lamented the commercialization of rap music, and how MTV contributes to that.

But Nas didn't go overboard on his criticism of MTV, probably because the network had a camera crew there to tape his performance.

I get the feeling Nas’ "hip-hop is dead mantra" is more for publicity than it is to actually make hip-hop better. It reminds me of his inane feud with Jay-Z a few years ago.

This publicity ploy is worse because hip-hop really does need help, and it may get it in the most unusual place - Don Imus.

Thursday’s firing of Don Imus is going to reverberate throughout radio. If black leaders can rally enough to prompt CBS fire Imus, imagine what they could do if they really decide to unite against misogyny and violence in gangsta rap?

In announcing the decision to fire Imus, CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said: “There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society.”

Bryan Monroe, president of the National Association of Black Journalists and editorial director of Ebony and Jet magazines, said: “Something happened in the last week around America. It’s not just what the radio host did. America said enough is enough. America said we don’t want this kind of conversation, we don’t want this kind of vitriol, especially with teenagers.”

Monroe and Moonves are making a pitch to clean up the airwaves, and if others follow suit, the 50 Cents, Nellys, Snoop Doggs, Akons and similar artists -- who are getting rich degrading women -- will need to sing a new tune or watch their pockets get thinner.

Do you think Imus’ termination will affect hip-hop? Or do you think it’s a double-standard (that is, a rapper can call a black woman a derogatory name, but a white man can’t) with no lasting affect? Post your replies below.


gene said...

A double standard for years.

the black economist said...

The line between consumer and professional goods has become blurred as competition has spurred innovation and falling prices. Technology has allowed anyone with a computer, software, and a camera or microphone to become a dj, journalist, musician or what have have you. That alone would not seriously challange traditional media if not for the new means of distribution that the internet offers.
Traditional media outlets have lost market share as consumers have used the internet to seek out products that are more customized to their preferences.
This Long Tail as its called is the reason for the fall in sales of the large record companies. When Michael Jackson had 'Thriller' it was the only game in town. Now musicians, authors, etc. can produce and distribute without the consent of a minority.
This will inevitably lead to a change in consciousness of black media as artists use the new outlets to express themselves.
In particular the 'tone' of hip-hop and R & B should change as more artists find that they do not have to make concessions to record companies to enjoy success.

Aeryn said...

While I would like to remain hopeful that the momentum would continue, I'm afraid that it won't. It will take a sustained and consistent effort, most people will not do it.
It will work until the next big scandal. The other thing is that even if you hit the rappers where they live -in the pocketbook - others will sell it out of the trunks of their cars while young Americans (white and black) will continue buy because it now has the added thrill of being forbidden.

R. McCorkle said...

I think the storyline of Imus, who I don't care for, however, was much like watching the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. All the stealing, killing and looting were the blacks' opportunity to take advantage of a bad time.
These so called "Reverons" that came bursting through the glass after Imus's job were no different then the glass that was shattered on the retailers after Katrina. Imus's words were the hurricane the blacks were waiting on. A chance to claim blame to the white man for a few harsh words and make black gain in the media world for their on benefit.

Anonymous said...

Of course it's a double standard. Chris Rock, Timbaland, and practically every other black entertainer (except for Wayne Brady) is allowed to use the N-word with complete impunity. Why? Because it's "our word". But God forbid a white person use the N-word or say anything else that's potentially offensive about blacks, Hispanics, or anyone else who's not white. Oh, and it's OK for black entertainers to use words like "honky" and "cracker"... and anyone can say anything they want to about us dumb, cornpone, racist Southern rednecks.

So no, I don't expect anything more to come from this. Al Sharpton (Tawana Brawley) and the Reverend Jackson (love child paid for with PUSH funds) talk a good game, but they're full of hot air.

joe said...

A double standard no doubt. What really bothers me is the casual use of the word "pimp" and it's semi-glorifation.

Real rap is Run-DMC. They did not have to use bad words and their music was awesome.

Anonymous said...

I can’t decide who’s the bigger hypocrite - Sharpton, Jackson or Jameson. To close to call.

Roger D. said...

as they say, God works in mysterious ways and I believe He used Don Imus for a purpose and that is to have people recognize that it is "NOT OK" to use these terms when describing women and it is not acceptable by anyone..I think hip hop, true hip hop will be the ultimate beneficiary of this nonsense..Naz's them may indeed be a ploy for publicity, I don't know, but it sure hits home, hip hop is not what it used to be and it needs to be blow up and about the ultimate REMIX!

Anonymous said...

I do not beleive that this will bring change in the entertainment community because their is a double standard within the black community. What bothers me is that people do not recognize the fact that CBS and MSNBC were not bothered by this person's ignorant comments until sponsors started pulling ads. This man is WIDELY known to be an OPEN bigot/racist who constantly makes ignornant comments since he has entered the radio scene. They had no problem with his comments when he signed his contracts nor did his sponsors have a problem broadcasting on his program UNTIL someone decided to get upset at comments that are made a million times a day by BLACK men AND WOMEN every day. For the media, this boiled down to dollars and cents. For black america, this was another opportunity to get mad over someone doing something that we do EVZERY SINGLE DAY. Were people outraged when they cut on MTV, BET or the average radio station to hear or see women degragted. Respect is demanded. Not just when a white person degrades you but when anyone does. You do not pick and chose when you are hurt by a comment and I am sadden to be a BLACK FEMALE who is part of community that cries murder for a white man who calls me a nappy headed ho when my brother can say it and I am supposed to smile & take it as a compliment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Don Imus

In an ironic way, you did everyone a favor. Your firing has prompted a long over due debate on racist and sexist lyrics on the public's airways.

Perhaps "long over due" is the wrong term. The debate has been going on in some Black media for a while. But it was Imus who helped bring it to national attention.

(The terms uttered by Imus and some Rap and Hip Hop artists are not enduring, as Stuart Scott suggested the other day. He later had to clarify his remarks).

Now it's time for the clergy (regardless of color)to help carry this fight to clean up the airwarys.

These opinion leaders have an opportunity to talk to their congregations about Rap and Hip Hop artists whose lyrics demean women and get rich off the effort.

But are they brave enough to take on such an economic power as the artists, producers,record companies and local radio stations who are making billions off of such filth?

Or will they bury their heads in the sand like some of them did in relations to the HIV/AIDS crisis in the Black Community? I hope they stand up.

They could start by having their congregations make a vow not to use such demeaning terms that Imus and some Rap and Hip Hop artists use.

Anonymous said...

Of course its a double standard.

Anonymous said...

For the past few years we have seen a more relaxed society. Hip hop is destroying the images of young African American women. The half naked bodies shown in video, and the words used to reference them. It is sad the way you have to monitor your station and televisions to shield young chidren from this type of exposure. I do not forsee any changes being made. The producers are making money and everyone wants to capitalize on this issue for their own intents and purposes..In my opinion, the world was better place when there was no internet or 100+ channels and all you had was church to look forward to. The younger generation has little respect regarding what they say or do around adults. I have two young daughters 7 & 10 who both did not understand this situation. The problem I see is that there is a larger number of younger parents; in addtion, there is so much emphasis of fitting in with certain cliques. Instead of African Americans progressing we are regressing when we toss around racist words to each other. I do not condone IMUS for what he said, but I have to admit that we all fall short of using jargon that is sometimes offensive to other races.

Anonymous said...

The double standard is that if you are white and you say something that can be taken as an insult or in any way derogatory towards someone who is black then you are labeled as insensitive or even racist. But if you are black then you can say whatever you want - even go so far as to call a white person a honky - and there's no problem. THAT is the double standard. We live in a world of discrimination and reverse discrimination. Unfortunately the corporate world and the media have adopted policies of reverse discrimination and called it "diversity". Hmmm.....hiring someone and not hiring someone else based on their race - isn't that pure discrimination??!! Check the "diversity" policies at any big company in the U.S. and this is exactly what happens. All so they can check a box stating that have some whites, some blacks, etc.

I found Imus' comments insulting, but did not see them as racial. Since when is "nappy" the n-word??!! Calling any woman a "ho" is derogatory, but again not necessarily racial. A ho can be black or white. The Rutgers team was black and white. So the racial aspect is based on the word "nappy"....what's next - the word "afro" will be considered a racist description of hair that gets you fired???

TJ said...

People can find a way to be offended by even the most innocuous of statements, if they try hard enough.

That's the case here. The guy made an ignorant comment and the opportunistic cry-wolf crowd jumped on it as a chance to get a white guy fired for an ignorant but innocuous statement.

As if some radio jockey making a dumb statement is holding black women down. As if ANYTHING in our society, in this era of rampant Affirmative Action nonsense is holding any minority back. Ridiculous.

The culture of victimhood and entitlement in the black community rears its ugly head yet again. Hate to break it to you, but this Imus thing is going to have a profoundly negative affect on American society. Racism had died a slow death, but this nonsense by the leaders of the black community, this Salemization of society, this rampant, pointless whining about a meaningless statement and subsequent firing of someone who did not deserve it...that has done a hell of a lot more harm than good.

Who's going to hire a black woman for a job now, when they know (and yes, that's racist) that she's going to be desperately searching for something "racist" to try to nail the white person for?


Why can't people just have thicker skin?

Anonymous said...

Hip-hop is dead!! And this is coming from somebody who prefers The Beatles and Duke Ellington over modern day hip-hop any day! I'm down with it, O.K.? I just love music and see hip-hop as a mess. There was a time when hip-hop had something to say, a voice, and a message to send. These days it's almost like people's brains can't comprehend a message... so people like NAS are pushed to the side. Now a days it's just a crafty beats and a bunch of silly slang about b***hes, rims, making more money than the next guy, and a**. All that is fine and fun, but when 98% of the market is flooded with that junk, it's time to say... yes... hip-hop is dead!

Anonymous said...

Is there 1 white man who has any courage?

By Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

And I sought for a man among them, that should … stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
– Ezekiel 22:30

Why are white Americans afraid to speak truth to black Americans?

Let me start with a tale of two Michaels:

Michael Richards, the "Seinfeld" co-star who lashed out at a black heckler, repeatedly calling the man a "ni---r," has since made numerous apologies to black Americans.

(Column continues below)

He apologized on David Letterman's "Late Show" – but that forum wasn't "black enough" – so Richards was forced to grovel on Jesse Jackson's radio show.

The black man Richards insulted has retained Gloria Allred. Next month, he will express his contrition in front of a retired judge who will determine how much money Richards should dole out for hurling the "N" word.

Then there's the Nov. 25 shooting in New York City, where NYPD officers shot Sean Bell, a 23-year-old black man outside a strip club in Queens when he tried to ram an officer with his car. The incident has outraged Rev. Al Sharpton ("the Riot King") and other black leaders.

Sharpton is threatening to lead a massive pre-Christmas march along Manhattan's Fifth Avenue – stating, "We're going shopping for justice this Christmas."

Let's not forget that Sharpton gave us the Tawana Brawley hoax and provoked the Crown Heights riot in the Hasidic (Jewish) section of Brooklyn.

Why should anyone listen to this hypocrite?

After the police shooting, Michael (the other Michael) Bloomberg, the mayor of NYC, met with Sharpton and other black racist agitators and prematurely criticized the deadly shooting, calling it "inexplicable" and "unacceptable." Can you say "cave"?

What has happened to white men in this country?

White men used to be tough. John Wayne, Charlton Heston and Ronald Reagan exemplified a strong male image. But because of the successful attack – by secular progressives like NOW (National Organization of Women who Hate Men), the ACLU, homosexual groups and liberal black leaders – most white males have been emasculated.

Years of scapegoating and charges of racism have intimidated whites to the point that they no longer speak out on issues concerning race and morality.

After Dr. King's assassination in 1968, Jesse Jackson showed up in front of the news cameras holding a bloody sweater. This is all it took for him to be promoted by the elite media as the "heir apparent" to King.

This despite Jackson's repeated falling out with Dr. King's organization, the SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference).

In 1971, Ralph Abernathy, King's successor at SCLC, suspended Jackson for "administrative improprieties and repeated acts of violation of organizational policy." Jackson then left the group and started Operation PUSH.

The mainstream media keep wicked black leaders like Jackson in power. Whenever there's a racial issue in this country Jackson or Sharpton are on the airwaves to "blame whitey."

The media and false black leaders succeeded in changing the allegiance of many black Americans – from a pro-family, pro-God people to a government-dependant people as we witnessed during Katrina.

White people are angry at Jackson and the phony civil-rights leaders who have made a living off of blaming them for the problems of blacks. And they're angry about the double standard when it comes to racial issues – and for not being allowed to openly express their disagreements with blacks.

But they remain silent.

This has resulted in the phenomenon of white fear – fear of criticizing blacks – no matter how corrupt, immoral or evil the perpetrator.

Since whites are not allowed to express themselves, they either cower down like Michael Bloomberg, or they lash out in anger like Michael Richards. Then Jesse Jackson swoops in and points to the overreaction as evidence of white racism – to exploit the situation for profit.

White Americans need to stand up for truth with strength and patience. If we can find white people with courage, we can change this country – and the tale of two Michaels would have a happy ending.

What is courage? Well, I can tell you what courage is not: 1) Courage is not resenting blacks and complaining to your white friends behind closed doors. 2) It's not tolerating black misconduct, and 3) Courage is not adopting the divisive, politically correct term "African American."

As for black Americans, they need to repudiate their "leaders" and let go of past grievances, lest they self-destruct.

It will take decent whites and blacks to come together to live out the promise of Dr. King's dream. Then, America will finally become the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Anonymous said...

Hip Hop owes a lot to white people. Otherwise, they'd have no one to steal samples from to "rhyme" over.

Al Sharpton and Jessuh Jackson are cartoon characters and hypocrites. As far as reparations, we have that too. It's called welfare.

jt said...

I do not like Don Imus. Never have. I think this was blown way out of proportion. The attack against him was led by two of the biggest hypocrits in America, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

What Imus said pales in comparison to some of the lyrics in rap and the images in the videos.

Anonymous said...

It's very amusing that you pose this question. After all, some of your articles perpetuate racism in my opinion. I certainly hope the remarks made by Imus have a long lasting affect on black and white culture. It's about time Black Americans become more accountable for their language and actions. Make a stand and stop blaming White America for all that ails you and stop using racism as a crutch.

Anonymous said...

I am a white television producer/journalist. I never heard of the word "nappy" until I heard african-american rap singers use it, along with the regular degrading term of the word "ho" to describe african-american women. My teenagers are 16 and 17 and I have tried to discourage them from listening to rap--primarily because the majority of it degrades women in general--and totally degrades black women. As disgusting as Imus' comment was, he got the term "ho" from rap music....white people simply don't use the word.

Anonymous said...

Let's remember one very important thing here, folks. Don Imus did not get fired for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos"...He got fired because of how much money both CBS Radio and NBC Universal stood to lose for calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos". You see, if the sponsors hadn't reacted, Imus would never have lost his job. That's the way that business works, believe that.

As a black man, I believe Imus should've been fired for his comments, economics notwithstanding. And I would've been equally amenable if he had been fired if he had referred negatively to a predominately white team of women's players. There's no place for that in broadcasting, period.

Anonymous said...

When did it become acceptable to get on tv or radio and start calling someone names?

I think people are going crazy in America tv and radio. Are they drinking????

Anonymous said...

absolutely a double standard exists. Richard Pryor joked about it 30 years ago when he talked about his use of the N word in his act. Essentially, his take was "we can say it, but you white folks can't." Pryor might be the funniest person ever, but he definitely set the bar for every black comic working today from the cursing to the N word to the poking fun at white folks. Now if a white comic went on stage and said some of the stereotypical things about black folks that black comics say, they'd be tarred and feathered, but those jokes are a staple of almost every black comic's act, and they're just as offensive as anything Imus said.

the one good thing to come of this is the realization by a mass of black folks that a) this double standard really exists and b) they're finally speaking up about it. maybe we'll finally get to the point where racism is no longer used as a means to an end.

now when will sharpton and jackson apologize for some of the things they've said and done over the years? i get the feeling there will be snowballs flying around in hell before that happens. how sad it is that they're the so-called leaders of the black community in this country.

Anonymous said...

RAP= Recurring Abuse of People! I have often wondered why such vulgarity in music is tolerated, however true free speech is not i.e. Imus. If anyone watches MTV, VH1 (I love NY, Flavor of Love, etc) you hear far worse phrases used than those of Imus (which is still wrong). I have always felt that until consumers join together and stamp out vulgarity in music, then how can any group expect others to be respectful.

Anonymous said...

Intelligence at it's best in the rap world. Rappers must be dumb as dirt.

This is why I'm hot

this is why im hot, this is why im hot, this is why, this is why,this is why, im hot this is why im hot, this is why im hot, this is why, this is why, this is why im hot, im hot cuz im fly, you aint cuz u not, this is why, this is why, this is why im hot im hot cuz im fly, you aint cuz u not this is this is why, this is why, this is why im hot


this is why im hot, i dont gotta rap i can sell a mill sayin nothin on a track i represent new york, i got it on my back niggas say that we lost it so imma bring it back i love da dirty dirty, cuz niggas show me love the ladies start to bounce as soon as i hit da club but in da midwest, they love to take it slow so when i hit they bitch i watch them get it on da flo and if you need it hifey i take it to da bay cristo to sac-town, they do it everyday compton to hollywood, soon as i hit LA im in dat lo-lo, i do it da cali way and when i hit da shat, people say that im fly they love da way i dress, they like my attire they love how i move crowds from side to side they ask me how i do it and simply i reply

Guy Compton said...

Your article is terrible and full of contradictions. You also seem to be far more of a racist than Don Imus or any given rapper. First you say rap is sexist and violent and then you say you've spent years defending it. You say arguments against rap are pointed at black people but then immediately blame whites for rap too.

There is no double standard because people don't want rappers fired. It's all free speech. The only reason rap was ever brought up was because "black leaders" all of a sudden decided to end the 30+ year carreer of an extremely charitable old man because of nothing more than a joke said on an entertainment show. The man was fired from MSNBC hours before raising 3.4 million dollars to help kids with cancer, SIDS, etc, something he's done every single year. Oh but I'm sure he only helps the white sick children huh? What a horrible hate peddler! What have you done Tonya? Aside from not recognizing the irony of writing a column urging people to oppose free speech?

You say...

"Shock jocks and gangsta rappers don't bother me. I'm bothered by the listeners who tune into their shows and buy their CDs. I'm not a fan of censorship. I prefer to let the consumers decide what's acceptable."

Well the consumers are deciding. They like both. And most of them can tell the difference between hate mongering and entertainment, unlike you. So the consumers will keep deciding that rap and shock jocks are great and they'll keep deciding that your awful articles are unreadable and uninteresting.

R. McBeef said...

There is absolutely a double standard in the Imus case.

The "furor" was because, on a show based in comedy, he bashed a team of women that worked hard to get where they were, blah, blah, blah. No. it wasn't. It was because an older white man had the audacity to say something not nice about anyone who's not white.

Yet Bryant Gumbel, on a show that is serious 99% of the time says that the Winter Olympics are like a G.O.P. party and that them being labeled the best athletes in the world is laughable. Didn't the olympic athletes work just as hard as the basketball team?

Where were the protests over those comments? Where were the demands for his firing.

Here's the kicker, it would have been a shame if Gumbel was fired over those comments, just as it was a shame that Imus was fired over similar remarks. And YES it will be a shame if they ever censor rap lyrics as they are all covered by the 1st amendment.

Anonymous said...

I want to sue someone the next time they call me a Yankee.