Friday, January 23, 2009

C.Y.I.N. Case Study - My President Is Black?!?

By now, you folks have prolly seen the aforementioned shirts, and heard the Young Jeezy song, "My President Is Black". I saw about a million (ok, maybe 20) of these shirts Tuesday, hey, maybe they're the new NoBitchAssNess. Since I don't get out much, I'm late with all this stuff, and it's relatively new to me.[1]

I've used this tune as an AverageSoundtrack™, but I'll admit, I'm still pretty split on its message, as well as the groundswell of support for Obama from the hip-hop nation. I chronicled this is a series called "Why You Should Never Ask A Rapper About Politricks" last year, but now that the deal's done and Barry's in office, I'm still not sure what to think of this whole "movement".

On one hand, anyone and anything that gets young black folks interested in the process of voting (not to be confused with just voting for Obama) is good. I had parents who stressed its importance, and I went to an Negro College HBCU where political figures were a campus staple. The concept of not voting sounds like a foreign language to me. So I suppose it's quite possible that these songs (and those by Nas, Jay-Z, Bun-B, etc.) are providing that level of insight to kids who don't have the same influences.

That said, c'mon mane, it's Young Jeezy. Mr. Traaap or Die! Mr. 17-5. Da' SnowMan. Two years ago he was wearing these shirts.

And no, that ice grilled snowman has nothing to do with Frosty and Rudolph. Use your imagination.

Besides, the whole "My President Is Black" thing is kinda stoopid, no? Would "My President Is White" t-shirts be considered racist? Would "My President Is Has Balls" be sexist?

I don't know many impressionable 17-18 year olds, but I'm betting they're confused as hell at the dichotomy of watching a guy tell them to vote, then bragging about a $500,000 car, slangin' yay, and murdering some random Negro all on the same track. And yeah, this is the same Jeezy who once very publicly endorsed John McCain.[2] I'm just sayin'.

And so are Bill O'Reilly and Dennis Miller, who somehow got ahold of this video from this past week in DC, where Jeezy and Jay-Z popped some Joseph Lowery-style sh*t at the outgoing President.

O'Reilly, as always, is a true a-hole. "...performed a rant in public that offended many people"? Fool, this was The Inaugural Ball at the illustrious Love Nightclub. Folks prolly paid a couple hunned to get in there. It's hardly the public square, nor do the "many people" seem the least bit offended. And has Dennis Miller ever been funny? Now, America's favorite ardvark-lookalike, Michelle Malkin also goes in. It's nice to see Fox News covering such a pressing issue.

Still, this raises an interesting issue. When rappers decide to put down the dro' and C.Y.I.N., their lack of anything more than a base level understanding of politics, coupled with the rest of their discography, adds up for a very confusing, and very mixed message in the end. Do the numbers of voters they get registered and somehow engaged in the political process somehow justify the rest of the negative and misogynistic messages they toss out there? Personally, I don't think so.

In a round-about way, I guess I'm asking, at what point does the good you do overshadow the bad you've done? Does creating a Nickelodeon show atone for making songs telling the very same kids how to "make make make make make crack like this"? Does sponsoring a bone marrow drive make up for a raunchy video than infamously included a woman's a$$cheeks being swiped with a credit card? Does throwing a scholarship yacht party the day after you just hosted something called The Stripper Olympics[3] balance things out? I don't have that answer.

And far be it from me to question someone's sincerity, but it seems like a lot of these entertainers (not just rappers) have jumped on the Obama bandwagon because it's been a nice promotional vehicle. Will these same folks hold Mr. Obama accountable now that he's in office, or what this all just about iTunes and ringtones in the first place?

Yeah, our President is black, but I'm not so sure he wants Young Jeezy as his spokesperson.

Question: When rappers talk politricks, is the net result a negative or a positive? At what point does the good you do overshadow the bad you've done? Are these folks serious about political engagement or is Obama merely the new "street team"? Would you rock a My President Is Black t-shirt? How bout' that Snowman?

[1] Is it just me, or is that sight at the 3:17 mark disturbing in a Creflo Dollar/"Welcome To Atlanta" kinda way? Man Up, John Lewis!

[2] He said he was "misunderstood". I think he was prolly just high.

[3] I am so not making that one up. Name this philanthropic "artist" and win some Cyber CapriSuns™.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.