Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Reaction to CNN's Black in America

They should've featured a story about me on it. When watching it, I wasn't aware that there would be a Part 2. Therefore, I thought Part 1 focused a lot on the problem and reinforced a lot of the stereotypes that seem to be the norm in African-American life. Problems such as crime, prison, deadbeat dads, and the like. It also focused quite a bit on hip hop and featured one of my favorite rappers, Lupe Fiasco. In his interview, he talks about the fact that he is antithetical to the typical rapper with bling on, using broken English and unintelligent rhymes to say unintelligent things (yes, that is the norm in hip hop right now - unfortunately) and that he hopes to influence young people not to try and emulate the glamorized and glorified and fake lifestyles that are shown TV, through hip hop, to many young African Americans. Great stuff.

Also, Soledad O'Brien (with her fine self) interviewed one of my favorite authors, and a guy that I always end up sounding like when I sound off on the issues - most times without even realizing that he is saying or has said the same exact thing. I consider him a mentor and a kindred spirit, even though I have never met the man. I'm talking about Michael Eric Dyson. He spoke on the fact that, as I have said before, the industry of hip hop thrives on the minorities and youth of this nation continuing to struggle and be deceived (more on that later). All of these songs about sex and baby mamas? They couldn't exist if there were not so many of us - although NOT ALL of us - having kids before we can actually afford to provide for them financially and emotionally by being married and obtaining steady employment first. Songs about 'making it rain' and spending extreme amounts on clothes, shoes, cars, and jewelry could not exist if more African Americans looked at investing and saving more of our money. Someone might argue that many African Americans cannot afford to invest. I say, can't afford to invest? Fine. If that's the case, don't bling it out, either. If more of the hip hop audience was primarily concerned with education, less of the ignorant, violent, and stereotypical rap would be accepted. People would be more concerned with progressive rappers who have an actual message in their lyrics. In short, I think MED is right. See why I could've been featured?
Back to the point. Other than these two instances and one or two others, they reinforced quite a few stereotypes and I didn't think they did a good enough job of showing us the promise within our community. Fortunately, there was a Part 2.