Rev. Al Sharpton and his followers recently lead a March for Decency in New York. Rapper NYOIL editorialized the whole matter in an editorial on AllHipHop.com. Tamika Mallory organized the march with Sharpton and now responds the rapper in her own open letter.
We feel that you have a right to your opinion, but moreover we have an
opinion and a right to express ours. While we agree with some of what
you said, we overwhelmingly disagree with many of the points you made.
Mainly because the very thing you accuse Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson
of being (media whores) you are being yourself with your weak attempt to
exploit the media for your benefit. This is a right we defend and the
same right that was practiced by historic leaders such as Martin Luther
King, Jr., Malcolm X, and Dr. Dorothy Height, who regularly appeared on
talk shows and used media to spread the word about critical issues
during the civil rights movement. Ironically, they were called media
whores by white supremacists, and that you would call the leaders of
today the same thing is indicative of your ignorance.
Do you for a moment think that this work is a pleasure? It is just that,
work. One can not say that they see Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson on
Videos of the Rich and Famous or popping corks like many of your
peers that are being pimped by the entertainment industry and the like.
Alternatively, they are on shows arguing about issues that impact us and
I have been a part of the civil rights movement since I was 3-years-old
and I am in my mid-twenties now, and can say that I have fought
diligently alongside those who have sacrificed much for the
opportunities we now enjoy as African Americans. This struggle directly
correlates with what the Hip-Hop generation is now privileged to enjoy.
The mainstream media outlets that previously looked upon us with disdain
will now allow us air time. The civil rights movement began as our
response to the indecency put upon Blacks by a white racist society. It
was indecent for Blacks to sit at the back of the bus, to use Black-only
toilets and water fountains, and to not have access to public
accommodations such as lunch counters, or hotels. We now face the
indecency of misogynistic images and terminology which is used by Blacks
on Blacks to demean black women. It is one continuous cloth that must be
rejected by every generation.
The march which you called pitiful was attended by more than a thousand
people along with New York Councilwoman Darlene Mealey and James Brown’s children, all in the Hip-Hop generation. Their father is the
most sampled artist in Hip-Hop. The march was derived from a town hall
meeting that I chaired with Councilwoman Mealy during the National
Action Networks annual convention, and Rev. Sharpton did not sit on
the stage but chose to allow the young people to have a voice and
mobilize because their voices are so often ignored. At the Town Hall
Meeting, one person approached the mic with a point of view similar to
yours, and he was subsequently booed and darn near run out of the room
by young people.
The people that you referred to that marched on May 3, are the same
out of touch people that fought for Sean Bell, Abner Louima,
Amadou Diallo and for the every day issues that we as Black people face.
As far as the Decency March is concerned, it was not an exclusionary
march. All of the community and all of the Hip-Hoppers were invited to
participate, and many did. Not only were your numbers off but for you to
formulate demeaning conclusions about the people you saw speaks volumes
about your character and biases. It is obvious that your statements are
uninformed. I would ask you to defend your conclusion that those who
marched are out of touch. That you are the judge and jury based upon
what must have been a brief, casual and superficial observance, states
volumes about your lack of incite. Moreover those who were there were
only a minute representation of the millions more who feel the same way
we do as proven by the thousands of phone calls, letters and personal
testimonies that we receive at National Action Network.
The Decency Initiative was created in order to reduce the dialogue of
indecency that has become pervasive in our community as a form of
entertainment. We are calling for the removal of nigga,
bitch and ho from the lexicon of the music and entertainment industry. Contrary to the nay sayers and the haters, the decency
initiative is already beginning to catch hold across the nation. In New
York Power 105.1 has pledged to eliminate music from their airwaves that
uses these words and in direct response to our call, legendary Hip-Hop
entrepreneur and artist Master P, announced on Rev. Sharptons
national radio show a new label, Take A Stand Records, which will
feature positive Hip-Hop as you referred to you in your letter.
It is good that we do live in a country of free speech and that we can
disagree openly, but we can assure you that nothing will reduce of
resolve to insure a decent society for future generations. I would hope
that it is more important for us to raise our children in an environment
of decency than it is for you sir, to sell more rap records.
Tamika Mallory is the Director of the Decency Initiative.
views expressed inside this editorial arent necessarily the views of AllHipHop.com
or its employees.