Fallout From Tough Talk About Rap
Anyone who has played a game of telephone knows how hard the job of a reporter is: You record the facts, quotes and impressions of others to tell a story that even those who are in the middle of it may not see the same way you do.
As you see in the story, I spent nearly two hours with a panel of five folks from the area's rap community. We all were affected by the film HipHop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, a documentary airing at 11 tonight on PBS which takes a hard look at some of the destructive images in rap music from a fan's unflinching perspective.
On his radio show this morning, Orlando accused me of taking advantage of him; twisting his words to raise my profile at the newspaper or get the story more attention. But during our panel discussion last week, Orlando offered many more pointed observations about gangsta rap and the culture -- I was surprised and intrigued by a man at the center of the area's hip hop scene stepping up to talk about its challenges so directly.
I'm giving Orlando the benefit of the doubt. I'm assuming that he just forgot some of the things he said during our discussion and is surprised at how stark these words can look in print.
But I'm also convinced that this reaction may be part of hip hop's problem these days. Rather than step up and face the troubling facts, it's far too easy to tell fans what they want to hear and perpetuate a dysfunctional merry-go-round.
I had planned to offer some additional comments from our wonderful discussion to coincide with the story's publication. I hope these help flesh out the amazing discussion we had last week.
Orlando Davis, 35, program director and morning show host at WLLD-98.7 FM (WiLD 98.7)
“When people started saying ‘I don’t mind dying’ and ‘I’m ready to die’ and ‘I’m a thug and you can kill me’…it went from (being called) gangsta rap and became just hip hop... everybody was violent. Now it’s the norm – the ground zero is violent hip hop.”
---“It’s a shell game too. The biggest thing you can say is I’m wanted by these other gangsters, so I need to wear a Kevlar (bullet-proof) vest. But two minutes into my set, somehow, I‘m taking it off…And I’m going to bring my child out with his miniature Kevlar vest…It’s an image -- just like Ronald McDonald with his clown makeup.”
Victoria Jackson, 24, teacher at Achieve Tampa Bay, a Tampa school for disabled kids, who raps as Janu:
“The people who already have that power need to direct it towards telling people how to flip the script…Trick Daddy said in one of his songs how he bought a home in Florida and in the summers he rents it out. (If) Trick Daddy pushed that more, I think others would follow. It’s not enough of it. It’s common sense – but there’s not enough of it.”
Kervens Joseph, studio owner and sometimes instructor at the International Academy of Design and Techonology in Tampa, also known as rapper Acafool:
“When they say hip hop is portraying the destructive black man; That’s not the definition of a man. Hip hop doesn’t make a man. It’s only job is to make you a businessman or display your artistry. That doesn’t make you a man. Your dad makes you a man, if you had the opportunity to grow up with one.”
“Those of us who are into soul music are resentful because there’s no R&B artists anymore. I’ll call a station and they’ll say I love lalah hathway, buy her stuff all day long, but we would never play her or promote her concert. People from all of these other types of music are starting to resent hip hop because it’s taking over R&B.”
Bobby "DJ Ekin" Hack, 29, mix show coordinator for WBTP-95.7FM (The Beat):
“(Rap star) 50 Cent has but one job: to take care of himself, please don’t rob my mom and take care of his people. That’s his job. Outside of that…he don’t owe me nothing. If I support that music, then it’s on me.”
“(Black Entertainment Television cable channel) as a business example: best business plan ever. Because they spend no money and make money hand over fist. But from a culture standpoint: I can’t stand BET….Every show they do is the same thing…We don’t have to be buffoons to be great, but we push those images out first.”
DONALD TRUMP INSPIRED BY BRITNEY???
WWE works its publicity magic again. Having challenged Donald Trump to a wrestling match April 1, where the loser saves his head bald, WWE svengali vince McMahon and his crack photoshot department came up with pictures to predict the outcome:
Something tells me the Trump-ster ain't going Telly Savalas for nobody...