I’m really getting tired of this sense in the black community, that if you don’t buy into the same identity, or “swag” as everyone else that you are somehow “less black”. This truly shows the seeds of divide and conquer have been planted, grown roots and have trapped many of us into remaining or conforming to some stereotypical view that doesn’t positively affirm our community.
Tyler Perry gets a lot of flack, and in and of itself, his form of entertainment is ok but, I do have a problem with him seemingly being our only voice in the film industry. I keep waiting for the transition to come, or at least a balanced view of blackness to be displayed by Tyler, but maybe that’s just not in him now. Back in the 80’s Spike Lee released films like “She’s Gotta Have It”, but if you ask for a “Spike Lee Joint” I doubt that is the first film that comes to mind. Spike seriously dealt with societal issues, within and without the black community.
However the most grieving to me is Hip-Hop.
This grieves me mainly, because Hip-Hop was our creation, our baby. I’m not against sharing it with other cultures, please don’t mistake this, but in the commercial/mainstream market for every Nas, there are ten Gucci Mane’s, for every Common there are twenty Soulja Boy’s. To be successful it seems you must sellout. Drug dealing is glorified as well as misogyny and womanizing. Women are objectified by the males and by themselves, and we consistently portray the thug and hoe, long after we’ve become successful to the point that we wouldn’t even think of stepping on the block. When’s the last time you HONESTLY think that Rick Ross has been dealing coke? When’s the last time Lil’ Wayne has really been an active gang member? Wayne has been in the industry since he was at least 16. However, they tell us how “real” they are every track. Hip-Hop also has a much higher concentration of blacks, thus is even more relatable than Hollywood.
Not only this, but if one maintains an innocence, or refuses to live to the low standards we’ve set for ourselves, we ostracize them. Look at Will Smith, one of the most successful rappers of all time over his 20 years as a rapper, he went 17 times platinum, and has had two number one hits. However, because he hasn’t subscribed to the thug image, he’s ostracized in hip-hop, rarely gets radio play or love in hip-hop circles.
I’m just wondering when our most respected and emulated faces will be more in the vein of Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and Huey Newton and less like Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne.