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David Banner: Stop Attacking The Kids

To all the black ‘so called leaders’. Al, Oprah, Jesse, etc, etc, etc… I’m saddened by your current direction and current ‘pet projects’ you guys have taken under your wing at the expense of Young Black America. As an urban professional living in this crazy world, I dare ask, who are you leading? I listen to what you say, I hear you complain about the youth, and about the direction of our lives, the kids, and where Black America is going and yet I still ask – who are you guys leading? And most importantly, where are we going? Do we know the goal we are trying to reach before we get there? Have we identified our end before articulating our means to an end! Who are you REALLY reaching?

 

Why do you feel the need to attack the young generation for the things we are doing? “WHO DID WE LEARN THESE THINGS FROM?” We are trying to have fun in the midst of our traumatic circumstances. People are trying to make a living by any means necessary, people are voicing their experiences, people are speaking the truth about situations and honestly the truth hurts and sometimes it’s ugly. If music/Hip-Hop/ rappers are wrong with the language they use, the images they portray in their videos – then come talk to us – I use the term ‘us’ as a collective because I’m defending what I have a passion for so this also involves me. Pull us to the side and say “hey kids, that’s not the way to go” and then we can say “change what we see daily so we can sing and rap about the roses and not about the bullets”.

 

We will say, help give us better situations to create better verbal material”. Don’t just go running off to the media to air the dirty laundry of the family and not expect us to fight back in some kind of way. What you are doing is wrong and it’s pissing off a lot of people with less money and camera time! Young Black America’s problem is not Hip-Hop or the music, Young Black America’s problem is Old White America. In the young black community, there is a growing level of resentment toward the ‘so called leaders’ because you guys DON’T WANT TO REALLY FIX OUR PROBLEMS.

 

You guys don’t really want to be on our side fighting for better school systems, more after school programs, more money for college funding! Where are you leaders at when there’s a need to break down to freshman in college on how not to get caught up with credit cards by singing up for an MBNA card, with high interest rates that eventually screw up your credit and makes it that much harder for you to become a homeowner after you graduate college pending you can find a job in your field after you’ve spent all this money in student loans! Where are those seminars? Dubois had it right when he spoke of the Talented Tenth! Rally around us to help teach us about THIS life! It’s not our fault that the world is messed up and filled with debauchery. It’s not our fault that our communities are screwed! The problems in our community should not fall on our lap. And if you begin to hold us accountable for simply our words – then I will begin to hold you accountable for your actions; or lack there of. Right is right and wrong is wrong. You as our leaders should have taken a better approach to gaining the attention of those that you are dissatisfied with and had a conversation with them. You don’t scold your child in public without fair warning!

 

Al Sharpton: You run around towns and cities speaking words of wanting to better our community by cleaning up the airwaves. You hold rallies in front of radio stations saying turn off the music and clean the airwaves. You want to shut down local stations that are playing urban music when most of these local stations house and employ the same people in your community – the black community. When you visit any station in any city (big or small) playing urban/rap music, the staff is generally black. Now if those stations were to ever shut down – where do those employees go? Al, if you are for the people, where was your rally when the 3 college students were executed in New Jersey by black men. Where is the rally at for those families and that neighborhood??? I don’t see you out there asking for justice yet that incident happened in a black community. If someone was to rap about “how f**** up black on black crime is and how even if you go to college you aren’t safe on the streets and n***a’s aint’ s—” – that kind of tone is offensive to you and you want to stop that! If that’s the truth, then why are you censoring it? No, you need to stop the crime before it happens so that there is no gangster song about a gangster situation.

 

Oprah: You recently you held a town hall meeting dedicating 2 days of talk to have an open forum about the “Nappy Headed Ho” comment from Imus. Everyone had their 2cents to say and yet the people that needed to REALLY be there were not at all on your panel of ‘experts’. The questions all were about “why use the word ho or b**** or n***a etc” yet the rappers in question a la Nelly, Snoop, and Ludacris weren’t anywhere present on your panel. In my eyes you had all the wrong people on there representing and speaking on behalf of other people.

 

Common is great but he’s not gangsta. If you had a problem with the true content of rap songs then where were those that do that kind of rap 100%? You want to talk about change, and about having us not call women in rap songs “b**ches” and “hoes” but one thing I noted, you had all men on your panel of executives. Russell is wonderful but he’s not the Zenith when it comes to new school rappers or their new school mentality. Kevin Liles is great but what happened to Sylvia Rhone the head of the label that Nelly is signed to, or Kathy Hughes the head of Radio One or Deborah Lee the head of BET. If the problem really was about women and the “b**ch, ho” term being used, where were those ladies to speak on their stance on this issue! They are the ones with the ultimate say pulling all the strings and yet they weren’t dully noted as absent from your panel! Oprah you are supposed to protect us, I can find more harm being done to the black community by the movies and sponsors you promote than any rap song.

 

Just like your son or daughter, niece or nephew… rappers are just kids growing into their own. They aren’t always right, but they aren’t always wrong either. If our path is misguided, then help us get back on the right road. I’m young, I’m black, and I’m a hard worker. I’m from the hood where mother’s leave their kids in the hands of strangers and never look back, I’ve been with killers, dope dealers, b******, , church folk, grandparents, bad parenting from good parents, pushers, junkies, robbers, middleclass workers, but that’s the life I’ve been around. Gunshots and church hymns usually go hand in hand in most neighborhoods. The grim reality for a lot of kids out there living alone is that life is harsh and cold; kids grow up faster than they want to because they are forced too! Kids are growing up in situations that are f***** up. So the songs we listen to mirror the things we see, the things we dream about and the fantasies we have! Don’t change the songs I listen to, change the circumstance from which it comes from—then the situation will be better!

 

Growing up in this world of Hip-Hop it’s  disheartening to see our ‘so called leaders’ leave us out to dry. Fine you don’t like what we say. Fine disagree with our choice of topics; however, the things we talk about aren’t new. We didn’t invent the term pimps, pushers, hoes, tricks, doobies, n***a’s and gangsta’s. Hip-Hop didn’t create that. Those words were left here for us to use by you guys, your generation. This life we are continuing to live was handed to us by the people before us who didn’t do much to clean it up. There may never be a time that we agree on anything, but there is always room for change. As a family – we will agree to disagree but it’s the synergy in which we do it. If you are on one extreme tangent, and I’m on another, we will never meet eye to eye. At the same time, I will not allow you to bash, yell, condemn, and have a condescending tone on my source of refugee and happiness. As you leaders call out the Hip-Hop community saying that we are wrong for what we do and how we do it, I am CALLING EACH OF YOU OUT saying you are wrong for what you are doing to us.

 

How dare you guys not call Nelly, Snoop, Lil Wayne, David Banner, Jim Jones, Akon, Rick Ross, Fabulous, 50 cent, Young Buck, Bun B, Too Short and say let’s talk this through. Do you even know who ANY of these people are??????? You are so disconnected from us that we don’t even look at you for guidance. If you really want to change something, start by changing your dialogue. Don’t talk at us, talk to us!

 

-DAVID BANNER

 

 

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