by Dr. Boyce Watkins
There are few scholars I respect more than Michael Eric Dyson. He is sharp, powerful and seasoned when it comes to laying down the kind of intellectual flow that would make Jay-Z blush. Dyson was the first black public intellectual I’d ever seen during my years in graduate school, followed by Julianne Malveaux and Cornel West. I am honored to call them my friends.
But sometimes, friends have to disagree. One area where Dr. Dyson and I are not in alignment is on the manner by which commercialized hip-hop music has affected the minds of our kids. When I hear the rapper 2 Chainz getting millions of black men to recite the words, “All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe,” I stop in my tracks and remember all the psychological research which states that the things we repeat in our mind sinks deeply into our subconscious and ultimately affects our behavior. I cannot disconnnect such a message from the growth in STD infection rates, and other signs of s*xual irresponsibility among black men.
When I hear a rapper like Bobby Shmurda (who was featured on the BET Awards) promoting the use of black-on-black gun violence, I can’t disconnect this message from the fact that black males are the most likely, across the nation, to die from hand guns. Record labels didn’t cause the violence that plagues our communities, but they are certainly glorifying it, promoting it and profiting from it.
To give you just a small example of the kind of messages being marketed to our children by corporations, consider this lyric from the Lil Wayne song, “We be steady mobbin”:
“I can f*ck your girl and make her nutt for me then slut for me then kill for me, than steal for me and of course it’ll be your cash, then I’ll murda dat b*tch and send her body back to your ass.”
Have you ever noticed that NO OTHER ETHNIC GROUP is consistently sprinkled with marketing messages that implore them to celebrate their own genocide and self-destruction? What is unique about African Americans that makes us the target of these messages, and what makes us receive these messages so readily? Is there a damn fool on this planet who believes that our community is better off when black men are consistently being bombarded with imagery that convinces them to want to be gun-totting, weed-smoking thugs?
What in the hell is wrong with us? When are black men and women going to stand up and say “enough is enough!”
Fortunately, millions of black people are getting a hint. They are seeing children in their communities being gunned down by the cultural zombies who’ve been trained to believe that black people deserve to die. They’ve grown tired of seeing our boys lined up and dragged to prison like pigs being led to a slaughter house. The black community’s future husbands and fathers are being made intellectually, emotionally and financially weak due to the consistent psychological hammering of white supremacy, which convinces black Americans to accept our subjugation. It is time for a new paradigm of thought in the black community, and that time is NOW.
The fact is that as the bible reminds us, life and death are created through the power of the tongue. So, when our boys are being inundated with one self-destructive message after another, it amounts to nothing less than a form of weaponized genocide being funded by corporate America. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of it.