This op-ed piece was originally published on brotherjesseblog.com.
By If you follow Hip-Hop and frequent any of the major popular social media outlets, you have more than likely heard about the pending beef between Souljah Boy and Chris Brown. Both artists have been going at each other for some weeks now. Each have called each other names, each have threatened each other while MILLIONS watch. The most recent development in this beef included Floyd Mayweather and 50 Cent, who desire to help promote this fight! Some are hailing this as the proper way to “settle a beef!” I respectfully disagree. Encouraging them to fight only adds to the culture of violence that is already STEALING the lives of many young Black boys/girls and CUTTING holes in the hearts of those who loved these young people.
Offering fighting as a way to handle a beef that’s really over BS is not a good choice! I have heard people say, “This is the way we can reduce gun violence in the inner city,” or “It’s better than going pull a pistol!” I say no to both! This only encourages more people to beef over BS in a violent way! Proof of this is the number of similar challenges that artists (i.e. 22 Savage and Kodak Black are some of the few who have issued similar challenges) have issued to other artists they have issues with since the Chris Brown & Souljah Boy challenge. Many know that fist fights in this day and time is the gateway to gunplay! Do we really think that Chris Brown or Souljah Boy would be able to take an “L” in the boxing ring before MILLIONS of people, plus the continued viewing on social media and just let by-gones be by-gones? In the words of Ed Lover, “C’mon son!”
Why do we believe that physical violence is the BEST option for resolving a conflict? Have we ever thought about reaching out to someone to have a talk with them or reaching out to a third party to help us do so? The carnage that we are witnessing in our communities is evidence that we haven’t! We continue to kill and maim one another over BS!
The Black community needs a culture change when it comes to knowing how to properly resolve conflict. One of the quickest ways that this change in culture can begin is if the cultural leaders (entertainers) begin to make, “Talking It Out, Before Sparking It Out,” cool! The same way they have made Nerd glasses, Skinny Jeans, Using the N-word and other self-destructive practices cool! I know it can be done. I am a New Orleans native. During my youth when someone called you a ‘stunter or stunna” it meant that you were fake like a stuntman in a movie. However, with the power of Hip-Hop now years later to be called a “stunna” is a badge of honor. It means, “a person who drives around town in nice cars, on dubz, showing of their ice and bling,” according to the Urban dictionary.
Some will read this article and say, “Having people try to talk out beefs will not work!” I can understand the doubt, but I do not submit to it. You doubt because we do not see enough examples of people attempting to talk out their issues. At one time people doubted the possibility of cellphones, but look at them now! People doubted Trump would be president, he is.
If more of us begin to personally practice and promote conflict resolution we could add to the culture change. The question we must personally answer is, “Do we want to?”
(Brother Willie Muhammad is the student minister of Muhammad Mosque No. 46 in New Orleans. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram. If you’re interested in hosting a conflict resolution workshop in your city, see the information below!)
#SquashtheBeefBeforetheGrief! #TalkItb4uSparkItOut #10KFearless