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MBM, I know what you're saying, if you're saying that the societal conditions existed before hip hop did. You're right, to a point. But let's look at what we're faced with here. California street gangs terrorizing neighborhoods in parts of the country (like mine) where gang culture was mocked, dissed, and clowned until gang-glorifying rappers started becoming video superstars. Then it went from being laughed at as "backward" and "bama" to taking firm root. The social conditions that exist today existed in the days when we over here were busy clowning on the west coast for "still having gangs as late as in 1992." In fact, as I recall, the streets were a lot worse in those days (late 80s, early 90s) than they were in the late 90s, which is when Crips and Bloods started becoming a respected thing to be, rather than a complete laughingstock. Comparing our crime & poverty stats during those two periods (Bush I vs. Clinton years), it doesn't look like NY & NJ's gang problems stem from any increase in other societal ills. But on the video channels and the radio, being a "gangsta" increasingly was portrayed as something great, cool, & desirable. I'm not letting hip hop off the hook on that.

And of course, the child pimp costumes we may remember selling online this past Halloween... I saw a couple being worn this Halloween. The idea that the pimp lifestyle is something to admire and emulate, where else other than hip hop do kids en masse get that message? Do millions of kids get that from watching Dolemite? Or do they hear Snoop & 50 Cent bragging about that?

What about the parents? How do they allow their kids to wear that stuff? Some of these knuckleheads are influenced by the same messages. You see it enough, you become desensitized to it. You see it packaged and produced slickly enough, it becomes appealing. Between the appeal and the desensitization, it's just counterintuitive to suggest that there is no influence or impact.

Again, in every other area of media except for hip hop, this conversation is not even necessary. Coke & Pepsi know that they need to advertise, with glorifying messages, in order to keep selling, and this is even though people are as familiar with them even without ads as they could be. Slang, dress styles, even gestures and mannerisms, all become popular among people who identify strongly with the purveyors of them (which may answer your question about white kids).

Ever since the month when the Source featured Redman on the cover with a piece of toilet paper sticking out of one nostril, when I saw dudes walking around in public with tissue hanging out of their noses, all that "it only reflects" nonsense went right out of the window as far as I'm concerned.

What we need to accomplish as a people is probably most effectively accomplished on the local level. But with national media and record companies swamping us with these powerful messages, that's out.

And even if I were to say, "I don't know if it influences," for God's sake: why do we even entertain the possibility? We know that the same negatives that hip hop glorifies so insistently are negatively affecting the neighborhoods that most identify with the music. Why are we so willing to accept these messages and to question their influence? If you had roaches, would you leave food on the floor, because you already had the roaches before you put out any food? Would you go, "Oh, no, leave the food on the floor. The roaches would still be here even if I cleaned up. The food doesn't bring them out."
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Originally posted by Vox:
Q: How come Kweisi Mfume is credited with repairing the naacp's fiscal situation, if his position has nothing to do with that? Would the position change if Simmons is on?


Basically, I think it had to do with the fact that he came to the table with a lot of contacts from his time in the House of Representatives and was able to bring in some corporate sponsors and other individuals with money that would donate heftly at fund raisers and the like. He also made it a point to increase membership while he was there and they went from consistently running in the red to being more stably in the black!

And he pretty much did it as his first order of business when he took the seat, even before he started into the activist activities.

He was brought in to have the organization turn a corner ... and he did that. Now they need to build on that while they turn another one! Smile
Great post, thanks.

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Originally posted by Vox:

But let's look at what we're faced with here. California street gangs terrorizing neighborhoods in parts of the country (like mine) where gang culture was mocked, dissed, and clowned until gang-glorifying rappers started becoming video superstars. Then it went from being laughed at as "backward" and "bama" to taking firm root. The social conditions that exist today existed in the days when we over here were busy clowning on the west coast for "still having gangs as late as in 1992."


My only point is that if something were communicated in the music that had no relevance to the people that consumed it, then it would not influence behavior. Did you go out and join a gang? Why not? Did suburban white America, en masse, go out and join a gang? Since they are the greatest consumers of the music, how do you explain that they appear to not be influenced in the same way you suggest our kids are? Why do you believe that they do not exhibit the same behaviors that you rightfully malign in our neighborhoods if they are, in fact, exposed to even more of the influencing messages than we are?

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But on the video channels and the radio, being a "gangsta" increasingly was portrayed as something great, cool, & desirable. I'm not letting hip hop off the hook on that.


Again, it's easy to target hip hop for that. You can turn to an entire channel (BET) to see it almost 24/7. But if our kids were where they should have been (vis-a-vis mindset/vision/goals/morality/identity etc.), would those messages have had the impact that you note? Again, they didn't turn you into a red or blue bandana wearing, bling bling havin, gangsta with a def pimp hand! brosmile Why not Vox? Why were you and I and so many others inoculated from the impact of the negative images? Again, why was white America largely immune from it? Sure they emulate the talk, the look, the language, but for the most part, they seem to have been able to know what was worth emulating and what was not. Why did some black kids in our communities have a problem making the same distinction? IMHO, it is because "things" weren't where they should have been across a spectrum of areas critical to our development and health. The music didn't cause those problems. It influenced them, perhaps, because the problems exist and surround any expression of those problems.


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Between the appeal and the desensitization, it's just counterintuitive to suggest that there is no influence or impact.


Again, it influences, but if the child's emotional and intellectual "constitution" is where it needs to be, then it won't push them in a direction that is harmful. Again, Vox, there are a whole host of black folks who were not moved in the negative ways that you discuss. Why did the music not have a negative effect on them?

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Again, in every other area of media except for hip hop, this conversation is not even necessary.


With all due respect, Hip Hop is a particular concern to us because it, perhaps, highlights aspects of our culture that we find embarrassing. We are sensitive to it, therefore it gets a disproportionate level of angst from us.

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And even if I were to say, "I don't know if it influences," for God's sake: why do we even entertain the possibility? We know that the same negatives that hip hop glorifies so insistently are negatively affecting the neighborhoods that most identify with the music.


My grandmother sternly told my mother of the ills of Chubby Checker et al. All that hip moving was going to make her blind etc. The music was targeted as a source of problems for society. In retrospect, that seems pretty funny now doesn't it?

I say, attack the real problems which are much more central to our development, health, and growth and then the music will evolve accordingly. Again, its easy to target music. It's much harder to attack the harder things which will actually yield the greater returns.
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Originally posted by MBM:
Again, it influences, but if the child's emotional and intellectual "constitution" is where it needs to be, then it won't push them in a direction that is harmful.



If the child's emotional and intellectual constituion is where it needs to be, the child would not be attracted to "bitch" and "ho" lyrics in the first place. Children are corrupt because the people who are responsible for them are corrupt. Therefore, the question as to why some children are negatively impacted by rap music while others are not is not as important as understanding why Americans, generally between the ages of 12-35, are so attracted to music that communicates the highest degree of negativity, violence, and sexual abuse more than any other genre of music available. Could it be that white youth in particular identify with rap music because it provides them with an outlet from being the expected "do-gooder" or an escape from the societal obligation to be the standard of perfection and purity? Examining this from a religious angle, some would argue that humans are by nature sinful, naturally attracted to immoral behavior and that moral discipline is something that has to be practiced and instilled into a people daily. If not, the people will become spiritually bankrupt and will eventually create things within their culture that reflects the absence of moral and ethical discipline. There's a saying that goes: If you ever want to measure the moral strength of a community, observe the interests and behaviors of its children. Rap music today has been reduced to talent-less middle-aged men who ultimately perform by deferring and appealing to the interests of children. Consequently, childen dictate how music will be written and performed. Its no different from the school system where children run the schools. Today, we live in a society where ADULTS ARE NOT BEING ADULTS. Our youth need direction, and more importantly, they need to see examples of people with long ranging careers that outlast thier youth. They need adults in their lives who are courageous enough to be adults, courageous enough to tell them the difference between right and wrong rather than seeking the child's approval.
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What ever happened to the saying, "This is grown folks music," music written by adults, for adults? Let the children enjoy their youth. Alot of rap music has on its label "Explicit Lyrics, For Adults Only," yet when you listen to it, its nothing more than but a bunch of bee bopping "Let's go to the party and get drunk" young ass shit that no mature forward-thinking adult would want to listen to. Musicians, stop selling out our music and reducing its quality for the sake of seeking children's approval!!!!!
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Originally posted by MBM:
I see another angle to this which may be what the NAACP is focusing on...
...Why not shake things up? ...


National - Association - Advancement - Colored People...

If they want to "shake things up", they can start with the name - Most people under 50 cannot relate to the term "colored".



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...I have no reason to question his commitment to our people...


How about the fact that he is not married to a Black woman??

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What does the NAACP have to lose?


Credibility.
IMHO, Russell Simmons is not the person to run the NAACP... If they think that he is going to deliver young people to them they should be careful what they wish for.

There are a few people who are certainly more qualified to run the NAACP, who can also bring in young people... Cornel West... Tavis Smiley... Lani Guinier... and if it's "starpower" that they want why not Denzel Washington or Quincy Jones? Angela Bassett? Samuel L. Jackson?

The point is that R.S. is not going to be able to bring in the kind of young people who are needed to sustain the organization over the long term.

Russell Simmons head of the NAACP - What would C. Delores Tucker have to say about that!
If I was married to Mariah Carey would you say I was married to a Black woman??---AudioGuy

If she identifies herself as such, yes. Certainly she has the credentials. As I understand her parentage, her father is of African descent. I am not sure of his place of birth, but somewhere in the Western Hemisphere.

How she carries her ancestral nationality, I don't know.

Black, certainly.

Why would she NOT be a 'black' woman should she choose?

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
If I was married to Mariah Carey would you say I was married to a Black woman??---AudioGuy

If she identifies herself as such, yes. Certainly she has the credentials. As I understand her parentage, her father is of African descent. I am not sure of his place of birth, but somewhere in the Western Hemisphere.

How she carries her ancestral nationality, I don't know.

Black, certainly.

Why would she NOT be a 'black' woman should she choose?

PEACE

Jim Chester



Her father is black Venezuelan
So now a person's ability to manage a black organization is contingent upon who they marry??? What the hell difference does it make that Kimora is not African American, she is a person of color, she's not white. The types of women Simmons is attracted to is not important in assessing his qualifications for this position or any position for that matter. The NAACP should be more concerned about Simmons' knowledge about the history, objectives, and future goals of NAACP, not who he fucks at night.
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Originally posted by AudioGuy:
quote:
Originally posted by Sweetwuzzy:
Her father is black Venezuelan


You did not answer my question...


Okay, I will answer your question... In some ways I do not consider Mariah Carey black, because she has said she is biracial- and stresses it.She does not wear her race on her sleeve.

I have a question for you- do you consider Halle Berry black...

Lets not get off subject,though.This is about Russell Simmons qualifications for being the next president of the NAACP, not about what makes a person black...
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Originally posted by Sweetwuzzy:
Lets not get off subject,though.This is about Russell Simmons qualifications for being the next president of the NAACP, not about what makes a person black...


I asked the question because Kimora Lee does not look Black... I am probably safe in saying that Russell did not know that one of her parents was black when he first saw her. So for all intents and puposes, she was an asian woman that he was pursuing. I don't see a Black man who pursues women who are not Black, as being "committed to his people". Which was the point of my response.

As far as Halle is concerned, she at least looks Black... so yes, I would consider her Black - Mariah & Kimora do not. IMHO
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Originally posted by AudioGuy:

I don't see a Black man who pursues women who are not Black, as being "committed to his people".


C'mon AG - that's quite the broad generalization. Are you trying to say that all black men who are with white women aren't "down with the cause"? What about O.J. Simpson, Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, and Tiger Woods? Confused Confused Confused
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Originally posted by MBM:
quote:
Originally posted by AudioGuy:

I don't see a Black man who pursues women who are not Black, as being "committed to his people".


C'mon AG - that's quite the broad generalization. Are you trying to say that all black men who are with white women aren't "down with the cause"? What about O.J. Simpson, Clarence Thomas, Ward Connerly, and Tiger Woods? Confused Confused Confused




lol
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Originally posted by AudioGuy:
quote:
Originally posted by Sweetwuzzy:
Lets not get off subject,though.This is about Russell Simmons qualifications for being the next president of the NAACP, not about what makes a person black...


I asked the question because Kimora Lee does not look Black... I am probably safe in saying that Russell did not know that one of her parents was black when he first saw her. So for all intents and puposes, she was an asian woman that he was pursuing. I don't see a Black man who pursues women who are not Black, as being "committed to his people". Which was the point of my response.

As far as Halle is concerned, she at least _looks_ Black... so yes, I would consider her Black - Mariah & Kimora do not. IMHO


You have me confused thinking your a black women! lol...

Thats not an issue. Him justifying the filth in hip-hop is.
Pardon the delay, MBM. I knew I needed to devote some distraction-free time if I'm gonna come correct the way I need to in these discussions with you. It's been a busy last couple of days, but here I am.

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My only point is that if something were communicated in the music that had no relevance to the people that consumed it, then it would not influence behavior. Did you go out and join a gang? Why not? Did suburban white America, en masse, go out and join a gang? Since they are the greatest consumers of the music, how do you explain that they appear to not be influenced in the same way you suggest our kids are? Why do you believe that they do not exhibit the same behaviors that you rightfully malign in our neighborhoods if they are, in fact, exposed to even more of the influencing messages than we are?


Well, I think you answer your own question in this paragraph. "If something were communicated in the music that had no relevance to the people that consumed it, then it would not influence behavior." That's exactly right. Surely I'm not arguing that the music alone caused the problems thru glorifying them. There are behaviors that are problematic that plague our communities. At a time when the message of "Hell, no, stop this nonsense" should be the prevailing one, these messages are saying, "Hell yeah, these are the cool things that you SHOULD be engaged in." If these things were totally foreign to us, they wouldn't have nearly the effect that they do. If there was a major mass media entertainment genre that featured country white guys rapping or singing about how cool it is to tip cows and set fire to other people's fields, brothers in the inner city would ignore the message, even if they happened to like the music. But it would be naive at best to think that there wouldn't be white kids in rural areas acting on the messages in these songs. "I'm rollin' thru the county, doin' what the f**k I feel/Tippin' bitches' cows & cold burnin' they fields!" They would already have to be the mischievous type to begin with, and many of the inhibitions they might have against these actions might be minimized by the overwhelming messages in the music.

The very fact that these songs are glorifying things we know and see in our very communities -- actions that certain segments in our 'hoods are at risk of getting involved in anyway -- it makes it harder to get them to make the right choices.

See, MBM, the word "influence" basically means "to sway." Right? Now generally you "sway" someone in the direction of one choice or another. So generally, those choices are already on the table. This is not an absolute rule, but surely it's a lot harder to sway somebody to make a choice they'd never heard of before you brought it to them, than it is to sway them toward a decision they already had in front of them. So I think you answered your own question.

(Now that I think about it, this dynamic probably affects us in ways far beyond hip hop's influence. If you grew up the son of a wealthy biochemist, it's probably easier to influence you to become a scientist than it would be if you grew up in a blighted ghetto, the son of people who are nowhere near able to provide those choices.)

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My grandmother sternly told my mother of the ills of Chubby Checker et al. All that hip moving was going to make her blind etc. The music was targeted as a source of problems for society. In retrospect, that seems pretty funny now doesn't it? I say, attack the real problems which are much more central to our development, health, and growth and then the music will evolve accordingly.


Would you like to live in a world where the idea of the dangers of glorifying shooting, drug dealing, disrespecting women and committing felonies will seem "funny in retrospect?"

And again, I think it's clearly a lot more difficult to target the underlying problems when the hip hop imagery is so prevalent. The problems we want to see get solved are BEHAVIORAL, in large part. You can only solve these problems by INFLUENCING people to change. That means the messaging has to be more prevalent, more ubiquitous, more powerful than the messages that influence the wrong choices. Good luck.
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Originally posted by Vox:

The problems we want to see get solved are BEHAVIORAL, in large part.


You make it sound as if people are blank slates who make behavioral decisions based merely upon the weight of the various influencing messages presented to them. Again Vox, why didn't you join a gang? Please answer that question.

Bottom line, IMHO, the real problems are reflected in behavior of course - but are much deeper. It's like the proverbial tip of the iceberg. You only see 5% of what's really there. Despite the fact that what you see is overwhelmingly large, it is absolutely dwarfed by what is hidden beneath the surface.

To say you want to target the behavior without focusing on the motivation and drivers of that behavior is short-sited, at best. All things being equal, most Americans will choose to do productive, meaningful things that enrich themselves and their communities. Those who behave in ways counter to that must suffer from conditions which cause them to act that way. As you know Vox, the people who are drawn to inappropriate images/behavior are attracted to that because there is a serious void in their lives. There are not the appropriate values and morality and leadership and vision and expectations of themselves that would push them in a different direction. If someone doesn't have, and doesn't have the benefit of a healthy self esteem and goals and expectations placed upon them, and the folks that they do see who appear to be making it are the Don Magic Juan's of the world, then why are you surprised that they align themselves with that imagery? Have they been given any other real chance/choice? What opportunity has life given them to take other paths? Sure there are plenty of folks who make it despite being saturated by those unhealthy images, but those are the people who have the benefit of sound role models and parenting (and all that goes with that) somewhere in their lives.

Also, Vox, what happens tomorrow if rap music is outlawed today? Please think about that? What is different? What is the long-term impact?

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You can only solve these problems by INFLUENCING people to change. That means the messaging has to be more prevalent, more ubiquitous, more powerful than the messages that influence the wrong choices.


We agree. I just think that music and videos are the most superficial form of "influencing". It is sound parenting and education and role modeling and community nurture and being taught that you are a valuable person who can make a difference and education and good healthcare and developing valuable employment skills and morality and sound guidance and compassion and love of your brother/being taught the Golden Rule etc., etc., etc. that make the real differences. If you are seriously concerned about aberrant behavior, IMHO, music is the last thing you should be thinking about. Again, if you target the above elements, I guarantee you the music will change. It will change because the things that drive that behavior will no longer exist. Just turning off the radio/TV absent any other fundamental changes will be meaningless. They'll just create some other avenue to express their angst at the world.
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Maybe it's 'cause I'm half asleep, but I don't see why we're disagreeing. We're saying the exact same things, but one of us is missing something, because we're expressing DISagreement even though it sounds like we see eye to eye.

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Originally posted by MBM:

You make it sound as if people are blank slates who make behavioral decisions based merely upon the weight of the various influencing messages presented to them.



... As you know Vox, the people who are drawn to inappropriate images/behavior are attracted to that because there is a serious void in their lives. There are not the appropriate values and morality and leadership and vision and expectations of themselves that would push them in a different direction. If someone doesn't have, and doesn't have the benefit of a healthy self esteem and goals and expectations placed upon them, and the folks that they do see who appear to be making it are the Don Magic Juan's of the world, then why are you surprised that they align themselves with that imagery? Have they been given any other real chance/choice? What opportunity has life given them to take other paths? Sure there are plenty of folks who make it despite being saturated by those unhealthy images, but those are the people who have the benefit of sound role models and parenting (and all that goes with that) somewhere in their lives. [/quote]

You start off with a sense of disagreement, but you acknowledge that there are people who are influenced positively away from bad choices in spite of everything they have to deal with. But doesn't it also follow that if these positive influences can guide them toward the right decisions, that negative ones COULD influence them the other way? Especially when the negative choices are, in some cases, easier to make anyway? Of course there are people who make certain choices regardless of the messages. Messages, as you say, are only part of the story. But do you believe that there's NO ONE who says, 'You know, everywhere I go, I hear how great it is to smoke weed, so yeah, I'm down too?'

As for why I'm immune from these influences, I think the themes of our discussion provide any number of reasons. Despite where I grew up, I never saw these self-destructive paths as appropriate for me. I never felt like I was wired for thuggery, ever. Even in childhood, I always seemed to have an innate sense of what was "right," and whether this sense put me onto what's objectively right or not, it always seemed like criminality, stupidity, doing harmful things to others, and doing things to make others uncomfortable that weren't otherwise productive, were always far outside the scope of what I thought was appropriate behavior. And I mean, these things were never even close to being doable to me. They always seemed completely out of the question. It's virtually impossible for even the most intense amount of influence to get you doing something that you feel is absolutely out of the question. If it's not a choice you could possibly make, you'll never be influenced to make it.

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Also, Vox, what happens tomorrow if rap music is outlawed today? Please think about that? What is different? What is the long-term impact?




Hold on, now. I need my Talib Kweli. All I'm asking is that more of the music return to its older approach of "reporting" on the ills rather than glorifying it. They don't even have to take an active stand in their lyrics against the ills. That, and maybe a rollback on the frequency of the n-word and the profanity, so we don't have to listen to that "smooth jazz" bullshit when there are kids in the car.

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We agree. I just think that music and videos are the most superficial form of "influencing". It is sound parenting and education and role modeling and community nurture and being taught that you are a valuable person who can make a difference and education and good healthcare and developing valuable employment skills and morality and sound guidance and compassion and love of your brother/being taught the Golden Rule etc., etc., etc. that make the real differences. If you are seriously concerned about aberrant behavior, IMHO, music is the last thing you should be thinking about. Again, if you target the above elements, I guarantee you the music will change. It will change because the things that drive that behavior will no longer exist. Just turning off the radio/TV absent any other fundamental changes will be meaningless. They'll just create some other avenue to express their angst at the world.


Agreed to a point, but music can't be the "last thing" to think about when it's so ubiquitous right now. It may not be the be all and end all, but much of today's hip hop, just PLAYING it constitutes negative behavior, when in the presence of others. When you're at a red light and you're playing Jay-Z loudly enough for the grandmother in the car next to you to hear, you're making her uncomfortable, and you're telling her to go screw herself. Your child in the backseat sees this and gets the message that it's cool to be defiant and disrespectful of others. If you're playing Jill Scott just as loudly, you're getting a slightly different reaction. Since the message in her CD is not disrespectful, you're not instilling a message of disrespect simply by playing her music. The message of the music is tied directly to the message of disrespect. Even if the music is not influencing you to specific actions, it most definitely does influence a general tone of disregard for other people. And disregard for social norms. Etc.

Again, how can we be so compliant in accepting the unfettered access to powerful messages against the very conditions we actually want to see happen for us? Especially when this music resonates so powerfully to our kids in our communities, why are we so okay with what they're doing? It is a big deal.
National - Association - Advancement - Colored People...---AudioGuy

I think updating the name would be an excellent introduction to a 'new day' for the organization. In a thread several weeks ago, I suggested the National Association for the Advancement of African Americans (NAAAA)(N4A).

'Colored' was an insult in 1985, maybe even 1975.

'Colored' is a slap-in-the-face in 2005.

The organizations representing us should do just that represent us.

They should not be so intractable as to buried their identity in what we used to be.

Russell Simmons is not even a reasonable choice under any name.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by Vox:

Maybe it's 'cause I'm half asleep, but I don't see why we're disagreeing.


I think we're "arguing" over nuance more than anything. We are basically in agreement I think. I* just think that music is a by-product of more serious issues which should be what gets whatever attention we can muster. In a zero sum situation, why waste it on something that is derivative of the real problems?


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You start off with a sense of disagreement, but you acknowledge that there are people who are influenced positively away from bad choices in spite of everything they have to deal with.


That's my point entirely - that there are kids who are exposed to the music who are not moved to inappropriate behavior because they have the appropriate "backbone" to guide them. I'm saying let's strengthen backbones as that's the most important thing that we can do. That's all.

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But doesn't it also follow that if these positive influences can guide them toward the right decisions, that negative ones COULD influence them the other way?


Of course and they do. That's why I say focus attention on those things that are important. If you don't have those things required to "steer a straight path" then you may be susceptible to negativity. But let's be clear, the weights of all of those things that influence are not equal. Having a solid family life is probably the most important variable that can sustain one throughout negativity. Education, health, morality, compassion, etc. are also things that weigh heavily in the development of a human being. My only point is that music/videos have such a lower weight versus the more important elements that why spend so much time focusing on it when the more important factors deserve the bulk of our attention.

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But do you believe that there's NO ONE who says, 'You know, everywhere I go, I hear how great it is to smoke weed, so yeah, I'm down too?'


I think having all of the things that I've articulated inoculates someone from that kind of influence - yes absolutely.

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As for why I'm immune from these influences, I think the themes of our discussion provide any number of reasons. Despite where I grew up, I never saw these self-destructive paths as appropriate for me. I never felt like I was wired for thuggery, ever. Even in childhood, I always seemed to have an innate sense of what was "right," and whether this sense put me onto what's _ objectively _ right or not, it always seemed like criminality, stupidity, doing harmful things to others, and doing things to make others uncomfortable that weren't otherwise productive, were always far outside the scope of what I thought was appropriate behavior.


My whole point is that your "constitution" is not a random chance. I want to give more of our kids the kind of "backbone" that we had to give them the greatest chance of making the best decisions for themselves as opposed to succumbing to negativity.

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Again, how can we be so compliant in accepting the unfettered access to powerful messages against the very conditions we actually want to see happen for us?


IMO, because the images are just that images. IMO they pale in comparison to the much more fundamental and meaningful influences that need attention. Again, just because music and videos are more obvious, doesn't make them the more important aspects of our development. In the same way that you never would have considered certain things because you were given the "backbone" to withstand it, let's provide more kids with that same advantage.

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Especially when this music resonates so powerfully to our kids in our communities, why are we so okay with what they're doing? It is a big deal.


IMO the real issue is not about the music, but about why it resonates so deeply. Do the things to make that music irrelevant and you'll find the true source of uplift.
MBM ... I've got a question for you.

I understand your reasoning, and I even agree with it, but just to nail it down, please answer this question for me. Smile

Let's say you have leaky pipe that runs to your shower. You don't have quite enough money that you need to call in the plumber because (he's going to have to redo your entire pipe system), so you tape it up with that thick gray tape that holds everything! It works, no problem, but you've got to tape it once a week or so to keep the water pressure. But, also, everytime you're about to save enough money for the plumber, the kid needs shoes, the dog needs shots, you need food, have to loan your in-laws money to feed their kids ... whatever!!

Now, while granted, the ultimate "solution" is to call the plumber, it's a hardship that will set you back tremendously if you have to use other money to do it, as opposed to just saving the money you need and actually using money set aside for that. However, the temporary problem of keeping water running through your shower and keep you going to work so you can save the money you need, is something that's within your grasp to do. Do you put yourself in deep financial chit and call the plumber in early ... or do you settle for the temporary fix of the thick gray tape that keeps things going?

This is how I see the difference in what you're saying and what Vox is saying. The problems that "cause" rap music need to be erradicated (through a plumber) to be ultimately fixed. However, attacking rap music itself for it's incidiously harmful effects (putting tape around the pipe) is also useful and needs to be done ... and does/would cause some type of relief!

So what say you?
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:

Do you put yourself in deep financial chit and call the plumber in early ... or do you settle for the temporary fix of the thick gray tape that keeps things going?



I guess it depends upon your perspective and view of the world. If you believe that you are worthy of having a shower that works all the time, and have the confidence that you have skills that will keep you employed without regard to what happens at your present job, and have the financial management skills to know how to manage your affairs appropriately to direct priorities, etc. - then you do what it takes to put things in permanent order in your house. Without that confidence and those skills, you might opt for the tape even though it is not the problem, but just a reflection of the broken pipe underneath.
Next NAACP President Needs Special Qualities
By Hazel Trice Edney | SACOBSERVER.COM WIRE SERVICES


WASHINGTON (NNPA) – The person who succeeds Kweisi Mfume as president of the NAACP must be versatile, equally comfortable protesting in the streets as wielding power and influence in the corporate suites, Civil Rights Movement experts say.



Retiring NAACP President and CEO Kweisi Mfume focused on restoring financial stability to the NAACP. The next president should focus more on civil rights, according to some observers.
"We need a person who is equally comfortable in a pulpit, a corporate boardroom and meeting the press, who can talk with ex-offenders and Nobel laureates and who appreciates the importance of doing both," says Christopher Edley Jr., dean of the law school at the University of California-Berkeley.

Mfume resigned last week after frequent feuds with Board Chairman Julian Bond. When he first took office nearly nine years ago, the former five-term Congressman from Baltimore was replacing Benjamin Chavis, who had mired the organization in a sexual harassment suit that was settled out of court and had, with Board Chairman William Gibson, plunged the organization more than $3 million in debt.

"When I arrived, the NAACP was mired in debt and steeped in doubt," Mfume said at a news conference. "There is (now) $15 million in cash reserves and a flourishing endowment of several million more. I've had the honor and the privilege to help revive and restore this great organization, which has become an American institution."

The improved finances should help Mfume's successor.

"With a much stronger financial footing, the association is poised to create a much bolder advocacy-oriented movement that shakes up things from the school board to the Congress and everything in between," says Edley. "(Former Democratic presidential candidate) Howard Dean showed that you can raise money in small amounts to build a large movement. And with resources like that, the NAACP could create a cadre of community-based leadership that would generate a civil rights Renaissance."

However, lack of funds was only one of Mfume's problems.

"Mfume did a great job of raising money and he's got the right values and everything else, but I think he was not effective as a leader of the NAACP and as a policy player in national policy because he was so inaccessible," says Mary Frances Berry, chairwoman of the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights. "Anyone who is in policy-making or civil rights or government said the whole time he was there, they had trouble getting in touch with him."

Berry says the next NAACP president should focus on issues such as the continued assault on affirmative action, federal judicial appointments, the AIDS crisis, the decline of Black students in professional schools, and the high Black unemployment rate.

Charles Ogletree, the noted professor at the Harvard Law School, observes that a major reason activists were successful in the 1950s and 1960s was because of their close ties to Black churches and involving ministers, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Andrew Young, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Rev. Ralph Abernathy, Rev. Hosea Williams, Rev. James Bevel and Rev. John Lewis.

"It needs to go back to its historic base and try to re-energize its relationship with the Black church as one of our historic organizing centers," Ogletree suggests. "I think there was the sense that the mission of the 20th century of legal and racial segregation was accomplished and we didn't realize there was really a lot of additional work to be done.

Now it's time to go back to revisit those principals of a social and economic agenda."

Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, agrees.

"Post the King era, we've moved from a religious-based to an economics-based (movement) and so we have more millionaires, but we have less morals. But I think there needs to be a reconnect of the synergy with the religious community, because quite frankly, that's how the Republicans won – on morals," says Bryant, 33, who served as director of the NAACP Youth and College Division early in Mfume's tenure. "The NAACP is going to have to juxtapose those realities. We are the moral conscience; not just by our words, but by our actions."

According to an Edison Mitofsky election exit poll, when asked why they reported for a particular president in November, 22 percent of voters cited moral values as their top choice, followed by the economy/jobs (20 percent) and terrorism (19 percent). Like the general population, many Blacks are conservative on social issues. A Zogby International poll showed that 63 percent of African Americans polled are pro-life. A New York Times poll a year ago showed that 75 percent of Blacks oppose same-sex marriages.

Though African Americans are conservative on moral issues, they are liberal on civil rights issues and overwhelmingly support traditional civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP and the National Urban League.

The NAACP claims a membership of 500,000, which would make it the largest Black organization in the U.S.

"This is a clear opportunity to show America that Black America is no longer a monolithic people," Bryant says. "We're not all Democrats. There's a growing number of Republicans; that we're not all heterosexual, but there are gay African Americans and I think that it's an urgent imperative for the NAACP to expand its order so that all of Black America will know that this is a home and that the next person will have a much broader shoulder."

Casting too broad of a net, however, could hamper efforts to expand support for the NAACP. Support for homosexual relations between consenting adults has varied from a low of 32 percent in 1986 to a high of 60 percent in May, shortly after the Supreme Court struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law. Citing Bush's support for a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriages, some Black abandoned Democrats in Ohio to support the Republican candidate for president.

The NAACP should also establish an economics agenda beyond its annual corporate and hotel report cards, Ogletree says. "It's time to make sure this major civil rights organization is seated at the table where the economic benefits are being distributed," he says.

According to the University of Georgia's Selig Center for Economic Growth, annual Black spending power stood at $688 billion in 2002 and is projected to reach $921 billion in 2008.

Ogletree down plays report of strife between Mfume and Julian Bond.

"To me, the real story is how two strong-minded, incredibly gifted, committed people could work together so well," he says. "It's important to have organizations with strong independent presidents to get things done and it is equally essential to have a clear unambiguous chairman who's going to fight the public and private battles to make sure the organization has its place at the table where resources are being redistributed. I saw it as a strength; not as a conflict."

Ronald Walters, a University of Maryland political science professor, disagrees.

"There's a problem with that," Walters says. "I think the CEO ought to take the point. This is the ironic thing about the NAACP. The chairman of the board had a stronger persona than the CEO. I've argued that they ought to have a much more aggressive CEO and that will take a lot of the heat off of the chairman of the board to be the out front person. It also would lessen, I think, some of the acrimony."

Bond says a search committee will be formed early next year, but the 64-member NAACP board will not rush into hiring a new president/CEO. General Counsel Dennis Hayes, who will serve as interim president, says he will not apply for the permanent position. The new president/CEO is expected to be hired by the NAACP annual convention in July.

The key for who ever gets elected president will be their ability to walk in unity with the chair, says Ramona Edelin, former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

"We need someone who will complement the strength of the chairman and members of the board and who will be effective at organizing around an agenda, both within the NAACP and within the larger African American and African-descendants global context," Edelin says. "This must be someone who's experienced as an organizer and who is willing to roll up their sleeves and actually do the how to. Hopefully, there will be a shared vision. I don't think there's been a time in history in which we've needed a clear agenda in a more compelling way."
Russell Simmons and Hip Hop Readers
Margaret Kimberley


The hottest rumor making the rounds is that entertainment and fashion impresario Russell Simmons wants to be the new president of the NAACP. As the story goes, Simmons is under consideration because he will know how to engage young people in political activity. If there is any credence to the rumor, his wealth is surely part of the consideration as well.

We are told that any effort to appeal to young black people today isn't possible without a reference to hip hop. Hip hop fashion and hip hop politics are already part of the pop culture lingo. Thanks to Simmons we now have the Hip Hop Reader program.

Americans of all ages and races are far less literate than they ought to be. Any initiative that encourages them to pick up a book should be encouraged. There is nothing wrong with reaching the youth where they live, but it is up to adults to tell them how to behave, what is appropriate and to value things they may not like or activities they may not want to take part in.



That ethos was accepted for generations. Now we are told that hip hop is the only way to talk to teens and that no effort should be made to broaden their outlook. Hip Hop Reader is the latest example of that misguided belief system.

Hip Hop Readers are encouraged to read in order to get stuff, stuff like Fubu clothes, Xbox video game systems, and Phat Farm clothes. Apparently the point of reading is to get more clothes and games. Hip Hop Reader makes no attempt to give young people a reason to read other than getting more stuff, something that teens need no encouragement to do.

The books on the Hip Hop Readers list are assessed a certain number of points. The more points earned through reading, the more stuff earned. The recommended authors list is quite diverse, including Angela Davis, Chinua Achebe, Malcolm X, William Shakespeare, DMX, Tupac Shakur and Maya Angelou.

Out of sixty-five recommended books on the web site, only eleven are written by women. It isn't good for girls or boys to think that women are less important or less intelligent than men. If Hip Hop Readers creates misogynistic boys or self hating girls it isn't doing anyone any good.



Simmons has won supporters who ought to know better than to ally themselves with an educational program that barely pretends to educate anyone. The Hip Hop Reader Leadership Council includes Dr. Howard Dodson, executive director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the world renowned research library. If Dr. Dodson wants to be part of this project he should point out that women write as many books as men do.

But Simmons' money talks, and the result is that organizations like the Schomburg Center and the National Urban League, who ought to say no thanks, have happily hopped on the bandwagon of middle brow taste and capitulation to what children think they need.

If Hip Hop reader Simmons heads the NAACP we have nothing good to look forward to. We will have hip hop political summits, only men will have anything to say, and everyone will get a brand new Xbox. It is difficult to be a naysayer concerning a project with seemingly worthy goals. So instead of complaining about giving kids more opportunities to watch Grand Theft Auto, a few suggestions may be in order.

Simmons is a very wealthy man and there are a slew of corporate sponsors for Hip Hop Readers. They might consider anteing up for something more useful than Fubu. Perhaps the Hip Hop Readers can become Hip Hop theater goers, or maybe Hip Hop public speakers. Hip hop writing comes to mind. Maybe hip hoppers can learn foreign languages.



The participating high schools in the Hip Hop Readers program are all in New York City. Why not expose students to the many cultural opportunities unique to New York City life. They might learn to read music. On the other hand, that could be the death of hip hop. Never mind.

The education of young black people can't be left to music entrepreneurs. The black community has always had educators. They must speak up about Hip Hop Reader and any other well meaning but misguided efforts made on behalf of the youth. Someone has to point out adults must lead children, which among other things should mean that video game equipment can't be a prize for reading books. Responsible adults shouldn't run for cover because people and organizations who ought to know better have succumbed to the urge to rub shoulders with or perhaps profit from a connection with Simmons.

It is true that money rules, but we don't have to believe it is the be all and end all of how we live our lives or educate our children. The value of the Hip Hop Readers program should not be assumed because a rich man is its founder, nor should the post of NAACP president be given to him without question.

Philanthropy has its place, and if Mr. Simmons wants to play that role he must take a back seat to those with the expertise necessary to develop an educational program. If he isn't willing to do that, he should return to what he does best and leave education to educators.
Russell Simmons Eyed As New NAACP Prez

LOL td6 What a dayum shame, wow, has the NAACP sunk that low? Frankly I have little respect for Russell Simmons he is a fraud if I ever saw one, he is not married to a black woman. He certainly have made millions PROMOTING the distorted views of rap, gangsta rap songs and videos that is presented to our young people and have done damaged to the community. I for one will not respect anyone who have profited off the black community that way, just my personal view.

Russell Simmons is a light weight, he is a music and fashion promoter, nothing intellectually special about him, just another opportunist, and I see nothing genuine about him, disgusting.

Get someone who can demand respect just on his political and social record, someone already plugged in on both sides, politically and socially, someone who can uplift the reputation of the NAACP and take it another direction which is to create a trend in the black community for less dependence on government and more economically independent through black on black business, higher education and family development, it needs to be more politically independent organization that get the most out of politicians from both sides of the aisle. But instead it has sold it's soul to the Democrat Party who take black people for granted. Condi Rice, Colin Powell should have been history already made under Democrats who belie their concern and well being for black people, all we matter to them is our vote and sit our ahz'z down, that's all we good for. The NAACP is a bootlicker of the Democratic Party, butt kissers of white liberals who don't give a dayum about Black issues and concerns, it's pathetic!
quote:
Originally posted by Momentum:
Frankly I have little respect for Russell Simmons he is a fraud if I ever saw one, he is not married to a black woman.


Kimora Simmons would slap you silly! Her Asian looking self is 1/2 Black(believe it or not)... And she identifies as an "African American"... I didn't know either when they first got married... But check the hair texture(she straightens it), the "browner than your typical Japanese" complexion and the...(I hate to be tblunt)...booty(ect). Asian women aren't built like her... What I don't respect him for is getting at her when she was like 13 years old! That was ridiculous. Plus it would be nice if famous brothers would marry someone who actually looks African/Black once in a while.

It is kinda pitiful they are even considering him...The NAACP(Negroes Agents Against Colored People) is simply a reactionary organization at this point. If that.
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:

Kimora Simmons would slap you silly! Her Asian looking self is 1/2 Black(believe it or not)... And she identifies as an "African American"... I didn't know either when they first got married... But check the hair texture(she straightens it), the "browner than your typical Japanese" complexion and the...(I hate to be tblunt)...booty(ect). Asian women aren't built like her... What I don't respect him for is getting at her when she was like 13 years old! That was ridiculous. Plus it would be nice if famous brothers would marry someone who actually looks African/Black once in a while.


Interesting that you have no comment on him being a BIG TIME CAPITALIST. fo

Do you REALLY think that the panel of 64 would "feel" Russell Simmons?

They need an old style, Civil Rights battle axe who can talk about "BACK IN THE DAY".

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