For Those Who Go Beyond Boundaries

Posts Tagged ‘rape

The 2nd Amendment VS. The Thug Image of Color.

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1016920_4928400260706_2106243091_nI find it interesting how we view gun ownership in this country (The United States Of America). On one hand, one image is seen as patriotic and a freedom of one’s rights to bear arms. Where as on the other hand, one image is seen as a depiction of impoverished crime, pre-medidated murder and a prime example of what’s wrong with our society.

Or, its seen as being justification for why the first image must fight to defend their rights to bear arms.

I don’t like to make such topics an issue of ethnicity (not race, because we’re all of the human race). But I like to focus more on the damaging affects of social norms, stereotypes and sensationalized propaganda in the media.

The first image is seen as being a normal American family, that’s proud of their impressive collection of firearms. The father is a man that provides for his family and will protect them at any cost. Society would have you believe that they’re all in their right minds, have no criminal records and have possibly never been convicted of a crime. They’re middle class (or affluent), drug free, educated and possibly reside in the suburbs. You wouldn’t think that maybe (just maybe) the guns they’re holding may have possibly been purchased on the black market (illegally). Thus they’re not accounted for and may have been used to commit a murder/crime. Looking at this image, you first thought would not be organized crime, nor would you see either of them as being members of a White Supremacist, anti-government group.

Maybe they are, and maybe they aren’t. But would the negatives of who would we assume they are would not be the first thing that comes to mind.

Let’s flip the script for a second

The second image could be one of an individual who has legally purchased and owns his firearm. Its possible that he resides in an environment where he’s forced to own a weapon to protect both his family and himself. Fire arms that he may have purchased legally! But, because of his style of dress, and yes; his ethnicity he’s more than likely to be seen as a repeat offender who’s been incarcerated and is possibly actively engaged in organized crime. The images being projected of individuals who looks like image two has programed society into believing that he’s a thug, gangster or pimp that’s ready to rape, rob, kill and steel.

Maybe he is, and maybe he isn’t. We know no more about him than we do the family in the first image. But his skin tells us what he is and what he’s about. Why is this an issue?

I place the blame for the manner in which we view image one verse image two to rest squarely upon the shoulders of the entertainment industry and the 24 hour news programming. Carefully selected stories and crime dramatizations assist with feeding society a hearty helping of visual and electronic media that tells us image two is bad, and image one is good. Not to mention the dramatic change in the hip hop/rap industry that glorifies trafficking narcotics, prison culture, premeditated murder and sexual objectification of women through date rape/sexual assault; its easy for us to view image two as representing the negative of American society.

But what if neither is good, nor bad?

What if they both have a criminal history?

Or what if neither have ever been incarcerated?

If you where to see either of these images walking down the street with an open carry weapon; what would your reaction be? Your reaction to their presence demonstrates your perception of who they are as people (may you know them personally or not). And it demonstrates how media has assisted you with developing your opinions people who look like them.


“Fatherly Advice”

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Let’s have some ‘real talk’ here. Cause I’m a little heated right now!

This past Wednesday, I had the honor of offering my videographer services to “Urban Cusp” and Panama Jackson of Very Smart Brothers; for the “Blackness In the Media” town hall meeting. It was uplifting, inspirational, and a breath of fresh air to see so many ‘naptural‘ brothers and sisters in attendance; engaging in enlightening debate about the double-conciousness of ‘black folks’ and how we portray ourselves in the media.

But something very troubling was brought to my attention, that I honestly had no knowledge off until that function.

Rapper and I guess ‘street pimpologist’ Todd Anthony Shawbetter known by the stage name Too Short (stylized as Too $hort), was witnessed conducting a video interview with the hip hop magazine XXL; where’ he was advising young boys (middle schoolers) on how to ‘turn a girl out’. According to his pimp logic; the rapper advises young middle school age boys how to dip their hands in the sexual goodie bag. His advice was some where along the lines of inappropriate to borderline advocating the sexual assault of young women in the same age range.

Too $hort:

“When you get to late middle school, early high school and you start feeling a certain way about the girls… I’m gonna tell you a couple tricks. This is what you do, man. A lot of the boys are going to be running around trying to get kisses from the girls, we’re going way past that. I’m taking you to the whole different level. Find a girl, throw her up against the wall, and put your hand down her pants. Play with her mind”

The video went viral! The bloggasheper blew up and people lost their minds. Feminist where (and still are) calling for the resignation of the magazines chief editor and many where suggesting that the rapper provide funding to various charities that deal with young black and latino women who’re victims of rape/sexual assault. Some even took it a step further and recommend that the rapper spend a designated amount of volunteer man hours at a rape crisis center. In which, as a Sexual Assault Victims Advocate, I have to say I agree. I think that he’s so use to being a ‘pimp’ or in pimp mode that it may do him some good to see the physical, mental, emotional and psychological effects of rape/sexual assault on a young woman.

Side Note: For those of you who don’t know, ‘turning a girl out’ means to turn a good person with minimal or shy sexual experiences into a freaky, sex crazy individual; or to lead a woman into prostitution. Normally the man turning a woman out becomes her pimp; and now owns rights the money (her body) that she makes from selling herself. And he’s successful in getting her to conform to his wishes through violent acts of rape/sexual assault and physical abuse. 

Once he and the magazine realized the hornets nest had been stirred, he immediately reached out and offered what I call an apology just short of saying “F You”, I do what I want; by issuing this statement:

“I want to apologize to anyone I may have offended with the XXL video interview I recently did. When I got on camera I was in Too $hort mode and had a lapse of judgement.I would never advise a child or young man to do these things, it’s not how I get down. Although I have made my career on dirty raps, I have worked over the years to somewhat balance the content of my music with giving back to the community. Just coming from a man who wants to see young people get ahead in life, I’m gonna do my best to to help and not hurt. If you’re a young man or a kid who looks up to me, don’t get caught up in the pimp, player, gangster hip-hop personas. Just be yourself.”—XXL Staff

This man and XXL is not sorry ladies and gentleman.

Charity doesn’t make it Right

But I love how these “rappers” feel that by doing what they call “giving back” (i.e. buying some little league football equipment or opening up a recreational center in the hood) it’s going to reverse the negative affects of the media in which they pedal. To me, Its a free pass for them to sleep at night knowing that the album they just pushed out the studio will be forgiven if they sponsor a pool party for the under-priviagled youth at the “back to school splash jam.

How can you “Jokingly” advocate how you feel women are nothing but tricks that need to be pimped; and then find the mind to do community/charity work for the very same women who’re listening to YOU talk about them your rap songs?

Giving money to the poor doesn’t take away from the fact that your music and rap videos demonstrate negative stereotypes of black people (black women) world wide!

And what the hell is “Too$hort Mode“? Is that a new defense we can use when we do something wrong; knowing we know better? So I guess when a man backhand’s a woman he can now use the defense that he was in “Too$hort” mode and couldn’t determine right from wrong at the moment.

Does he have a switch on his ass that he flips ‘on and off’ during an interview?

We know You’re Sorry, but what’s you excuse? 

I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say in response to this debacle of ignorance, so here’s his explanation on Hip Hop “See, what had happened was….”

He claims it was a joke gone wrong. Stating that he was ‘going with the flow’ of the interview and that he thought (which is where he made his first mistake in my opinion)  it would be funny to throw those tid-bits of pimp knowledge out to young men on how to get into a woman’s head. Based upon what little I do know of Too$hort and his career (as well as his background) he’d aspired to be one of two things in his life; and that’s a rapper or a pimp. And he was actually both before he made his first hit song/record and become internationally known as a rap artist. While pimping and hustling, he made money on the side by creating rap mix tapes on at the request of people in his community. Which is really how he was discovered. Thus, I don’t feel he’s sorry for what he said or did, in my honest opinion he’s sorry over the fact that he got caught and his comments were made public.

I’m sure he engages in conversations of such nature with family and friends on a daily basis, which is why he was so comfortable making such remarks . As my grandmother use to say “from the heart the mouth speaks”. I HOPE his rap persona is not that strong the point where he can’t determine when he’s lil Todd Shaw vs. Too$hort. And if he is having a battle within himself (hearing voices in his head) he may wan to seek the assistances of a trained mental health specialist.  I pray that you go and take care of that as soon as you can my brother.

And this is just my assumption of him, because I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure that as a former (or maybe even current) pimp; he’s ether tried this and was successful, or have taken his actions a step further in order to ‘break’ a woman in like a wild Philly. This man is speaking from personal experience, and he’s even stated in previous interviews that what he raps about is ‘real ish’. It’s what he knows; because for him its real life. Meaning his lyrics are a direct reflection of how he lives (or has lived) his life, so he speaking realistically when providing such informative advice.

There are no ‘punch lines’ that include Rape and Sexual Assault 

I grew up in an environment where I’ve witnessed women close to me become victims of rap, molestation and sexual assault. I’ve watched almost every woman in my family at some point in time in their lives become either witnesses or victims of domestic violence that was accompanied by sexual assault at the hands of a lover or spouse. This is reality for A LOT of women both young and old, even the young women who’re in the same age range as Too$hort’s targeted audience. There are women who’ve witnessed and experienced the same atrocities world-wide!  thus, there’s nothing funny about it.

Subjects such as rape, sexual assault are not to be taken lightly much less joked about! The is no punch line in physically violating someones personal space. And this is why I feel he wasn’t joking, because as a self-proclaimed pimp I’m sure he’s done that and possibly even worse to women whom he’s turned out and tricked.

Now, I understand he makes his living off dirty rap lyrics, and projecting this image of himself as being a gansta pimp who has no love for them h03’s. By all means, it’s a free country, we live in a capitalist society run by supply and demand. WE as black folks demand that crap, thus the rap industry continues to supply it. I and no one else in this world can stop you from projecting that negativity unto anyone stupid enough to buy into it. But this most recent incident (including many in the past) is a prime example of the foolishness that Black People allow to be projected of ourselves. WE  feed that media machine that continuously cranks out images of “us”; as being hyper-sexual, sex crazed, psychopathic deviants that will do anything to anyone and any body (legally and illegally) to get our rocks off or for financial gain. We’re the only ethnicity of people who feature artists are introduced to the world, its through negativity (i.g. stereotypical behavior of a black man/woman) vs. that of ‘other’ people who have to mess up first (get arrested for drug position and intoxication) for us to see them negatively.

Same Thang, different Ninja

Almost all rappers, look, dress, rap and act the same. I bet one months rent that anytime you see a modern-day main stream rap video, its features the big booty, big chi-chi ‘red bone’ being pushed up on; or engaging in borderline soft porn with a rap star on screen, while he’s showing off his “jesus piece” (they love bringing the lord in their mess don’t they?), flashing his grills and throwing stacks of money at the camera. Almost every lyric you hear in todays ‘hip hop’ (if you can even call it that) consist of the following factors

1. Money and how much of they have on hand or make annually

2. Women (aka hoe’s)

3. Name brand clothes

4. What car they’re driving (year, make and model, suicide doors included)

5. How many levels there is too their homes (the homes they don’t own) that can be foreclosed upon at anytime if their records don’t sale.

6. What they’re drinking if they’re ‘buying out the bar’ and ‘popping and pouring out bottles’ on a strippers head as she slides down a pole.

7. How often they have sex, with whom they have sex with, and how many times (with the number of partners) they’ve engaged in the act.

8. How much ‘weight’ they’re pushing (i.e. trafficking narcotics)

9. Mabach’s and Private jets that can whisk them away from one country to the next (knowing darn well they’re lying).

10. Their rap sheet (arrest record).

11. Their penis and how long or big it is. This seems to be the staple of Black male masculinity in African American culture. Some mistakenly assume that all black men are well endowed (which is not true) and they capitalize on that by bragging about how they use their family jewels as a means of demonstrating their dominance over women and even other men. I’m assuming they feel that in claiming bragging rights to one’s anatomy, they can demonstrate a level of control over the women they come in contact with through ‘breeding’; or demonstrate to other men that they’re not ‘big enough’ to hang with the ‘big dogs’; thus he should know his place and stay on the porch.

Todays rap artist have allowed media moguls in the entertainment industry to corrupt a form and style of music that was once used to uplift and socially educate a generation of people who gave birth to its origins; by turning it into a form of brainwashing that leaves many of our unstable youth into assuming that the only way to achieve that level success is to:

A. Become a rapper and sell their souls in the same manner as all the other cookie-cutter artist have. Thus they become actively engaged in the modern-day cake walk that we know call rap.

B. Portray the image of being a tatted up, thugged out, drug dealing, organized crime boosting, womanizing “rap artist” (using the term loosely) that’s more engrossed in his/her image than his/her talent.

C. He/she must be a womanizer that has very little to no respect for women (and this must be evident in the images and lyrics projected in the songs and music videos); or willingly engage in a diluted form of prostitution by building a brand based upon sexual promiscuity, and your T&A.

Rap today is pretty much a modern-day rendition of the racist movies “Good Bye Uncle Tom” and “Birth of a Nation” in one. And because ‘we’ as a people settle for what the media feeds us, our kids gobble it up like a stack of hotcakes, because “we’ are not willing to provide mentally nourishing food for thought; that promotes positivity. Any one who tries too is  shut out, called ‘weak’, ‘lame’ and their product gets no air time. We don’t wanna hear nor see it! And we wonder why our kids are out of control, engaging in sexual acts that most of us as adults have never tried, and have no desire to be anything in life other than a celebrity.

And we’re always the most boisterous in how we disapprove of our images in the media; but I guess its cool when we’re the one’s doing it right?

We need to do better in order to expect better from our people!

He was not playing

Rapper Todd Shaw, "Too$hort".