Radio DJ Don Imus was recently canned from a lucrative gig with CBS for referring to the Rutgers Women Basketball team, who are black, as “nappy-headed hoes”. This has started a lot of talk about using offensive language, and a lot of people have been pointing to hip-hop as a major contributor and culprit of the spread of racist and degrading language. After all, Ludicris had a top ten hit not too long ago with his jam about having “Hoes in different area codes”, and the majority of club anthems throw that word around.
In reaction to those accusations, Snoop Dog had this to say to MTV (lifted from www.rapreviews.com):
"[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about hoes that's in the 'hood that ain't doing shit, that's trying to get a nigga for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them muthafuckas say we in the same league as him."
So evidently it’s ok to refer to women in the hood as hoes, but not college athletes. Bullshit. And it’s ok for black guys to say it, but not white guys. Um, uh, no.
In 1988, when NWA and 2 Live Crew hit the scene, the fact that they used profanity and referred to women as bitches was truly shocking. It caused and uproar. Court cases even. Almost twenty years later, it’s become so commonplace to hear offensive and degrading language in pop culture that a track like David Banner’s “Play”, with its lyric of “C’mon girl, lemme getcha pussy wet” doesn’t even turn heads.
Maybe it’s time we all stop giving this shit a pass.. Maybe rappers should get a little more creative with their material and language, and stop resorting to f-bombs and misogyny. The chickens are coming home to roost. With hip-hop becoming the predominant pop culture, it’s language and values are starting to enter into the mainstream. An unfortunately, that doesn’t just mean phrases like “da bomb” or valuing multi-culturalism. It also means that words like nigga, bitch, and ho become part of the mainstream lexicon, and the bullshit values of materialism, romanticizing parasitical criminality (that means you, clips, rick ross, jay-z, t.i., and all you other drug dealer rappers) and basically being an asshole hood rat. And you can’t put all that bullshit out there without it coming back and hitting you in the ass. You can no longer control the conversation. You can’t say that only black people can use nigga or hoe, because if all white people hear is you saying nigga and hoe, why wouldn’t they assume it’s ok to say. Shit, they call themselves nigga all the time? Why can’t i? how you gonna tell me it’s offensive?
At the same time, the media and especially the shock jocks need to realize that we are not in a post-racist society, and you can’t pull shit like calling women “nappy-headed hoes”. It’s not ok, it’s not funny.
I hope this whole stupid incident will make people do a better job of addressing race issues, and maybe force rappers to get a little more creative in their rhymes and subject matter. Ten to one, though, mr imus is back in business within a year. Fucker earns way to much money to get shut down for long. And frankly, there is way more offensive shit on the airwaves than what he was doing.
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