If You Want to Change Society, Close Your Legs

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published at Model Minority

Yes. David Banner said it.

Talk about colored girls, homicide and patriarchy.

You would think that Capitalism, the fall of the stock market and the price of rice were controlled by who we had sex with.

What if a white man sat on that stage and said that?

R.I.O.T.

David goes on to say that “Most of these men sell dope because they want to impress you”. So wait, if we stop having sex with D-boys then they are going to get jobs at Mc Donalds?

I think we need more labor and gender theory.

It Ain’t My Fault

What’s incredible to me about this video is two things.

David Banner’s and to a certain extent Kweli’s response is indicative of an unwillingness to acknowledge the ways in which the things that are in our music affects our kids.

Why is that so hard?

We don’t want the rappers to have any personal responsibility because we don’t want to hold ourselves accountable. The minute we hold them accountable we have to hold ourselves accountable.

Its like this, if your momma is telling you not to smoke and drink, but she smoking and drinking, you ain’t gonna listen to her.

If we start talking about the rappers and their music and the effect it has on the kids, then we have to start looking ourselves, the fact that we buy and listen to the music and the message that this sends to the kids.

We don’t criticize the rappers because then we would either have to stop listening to it, or think about why we get enjoyment off of listening to “It Ain’t No Fun, If the Homies Can’t Have None”.

Do you know how hard it was to write that listening to Mobb Deep was nurturing the dysfunction in me?

Type difficult.

But knowing what I know about crack, Oakland, and crack in Oakland, it would only make sense that there would be a part of me that would find tales of murder and crack entertaining.

We try and turn the dysfunctional ‘ish entertaining as a way to cope. And many times it works. But we are conflicted over it. Think of the art, music and theater associated with The Holocaust. However, there is conflict within the Jewish community over whether art about something so terrible can serve as a basis for art, be it comedy, drama or a musical.

Listening to Mobb Deep reminds me that I am not living in the 1989 war on drugs zone. It’s a reminder that I survived.

However the words have an impact, perhaps an unintended impact but an impact just the same.

For example, at the Spinna party last Saturday, I was singing along with Snoop and I turned to Filthy and said, “If my dad repeatedly telling me over the years that I could do anything had an impact on my self esteem, what impact does listening to and singing “Ain’t No Fun” have on esteems of both men and women?”

You Wouldn’t Get Far

Hip-hop, in many ways traffics, in Black sexuality and the availability of Black female bodies as tools for sex.

No one wants to admit it, talk about it or analyze it.

What would these rappers think if their daughters were vixens, and their sons murdering and hustling?

In a culture where Karrine Steffans is a slut, but being a pimp is revered, where R. Kelly marries Aaliyah, is a known longtime pedophile in Chicago and is acquitted of child porn charges, there are some serious issues with how we view Black female bodies.

Its much easier to call Video Vixens tramps rather than analyze patriarchy.

Hip Hop’s Identity Crisis

While watching this video, I also thought of Hip Hop’s conflict within itself.

On one hand folks say that Hip Hop is “just music.” On the other hand folks say “that hip hop is revolutionary and political”.

What is it gon’ be? Just music or revolutionary?

As far as I am concerned, most of it is just another form of employment.

In fact Birkhold wrote recently about how Hip Hop isn’t the child of The Civil Rights Movement but is in fact the child of Black youth unemployment. He writes,

I’m tired of people calling hip hop the child of the civil rights and black power movements. Everyone from hip hop artists, hip hop activists, hip hop scholars, and regular everyday listeners have called it that and all of them are wrong. I believe this error is made for two fundamental reasons, as a nation we don’t understand the civil rights or black power movements nor do we understand labor in a capitalist society.

If we did, we would understand that hip hop is the child of unemployment.


Parents Raise Kids Rappers Don’t

Not only do we fail to understand how Hip Hop isn’t “revolutionary” but we also fail to understand how rappers sound like neocon Republicans when they say “Parents need to raise they kids”.

Yesterday, I began do wonder, do these Negroes sit around reading The Moynihan Report?*

In fact, I know d-boys that take more responsibility for contributing to the down fall of the hood many of these rappers do.

Why is it so difficult to care about children other than our own?

We know better. Pre-crack we certainly weren’t raised like that. Ms. Johnson down the street would tell your momma if she saw you doing something out of pocket. I have written about it here before. This extra parental intervention stopped during the crack era because while Ms. Johnson would say something to Hakeem, now that it was ’89, he had a 9(mm) and she wanted to keep her life.

We Just Need More Money and Programs

If the solution is economic then our people should be in better shape. Black people have more money than ever before, and their children are STILL underemployed and in prison in record numbers.

If the solution is economic, how many people you know have cake and are still decomposing on the inside?

An after school program and a fund raiser is not going to change this.

After school programs and fund raisers are a part of the problem.

We can’t party our way to social justice, reduced unemployment, reduced drop out rates or lower AIDS rates.

Many people who work these jobs like their work, but are scared of the hood.

Non profit jobs serve as a stepping stone for folks. Its like an urban boot camp.

If you can survive with the darkies you can work anywhere.

They are far more interested in keeping their jobs than changing society so that the children who are in these programs can have lives full of options, dignity, humanity and power.

There are a lot of mortgages being paid off of managing Black and/or White poverty.

I am not dissing afterschool programs. Afterschool and summer school was my salvation when three and four hundred cats were getting murdered a year in Oakland 89-92. What I am saying is that it is important to keep an after school program in perspective and to understand the extent to which some folks care more about getting a grant, than deciding their mission. This method of thinking enables them to put their personal mission ahead of the needs of the people they are serving.

Black children know that there is a war on drugs.

They know it because they are in the middle of it. They know that we won’t, can’t protect them, so they protect themselves. They also know that we care more about our music than we do standing up for them.

Every time an emcee says “Parent’s raise kids” not rappers, the kids are reminded of this.

We don’t also don’t understand labor and power, and until we do we will be on stages saying sh-t like “If You Want to Change Society, Close your Legs”.

*Note from LDP: Full Moynihan report here.