"Every woman in America/ Especially Black/ Bear with me/ Can't you see/ We're under attack?"
-"White Man's World" - Makaveli (Pac)
Tyanna Johnson wasn't sure how she got there. Three months ago, she moved from Mississippi to Atlanta for a better way of life. But when the crappy economy forced her company to shut down, she found herself standing at the intersection everyday holding a cardboard sign that read, "Please Help Me!" Every day, she just stood there trying to hold on to her last piece of dignity. Then, one day, a gold-toothed rapper rolled up in a new Maybach and asked her to "do sumthin' strange for a little piece of change..."
Last week, Hip-Hop superstar, Christopher "Ludacris" Bridges released the 1.21 Gigawatts mixtape. While much of the Hip-Hop buzz has centered around his disses of rival rappers, little attention has been paid to the disrespect of his primary target - Black women.
A few years ago, the song "Do Sumthin," where Luda and Rick Ross trade verses about the freaky stuff that they would make a starvin' sista do for a Klondike Bar, would have just been written off as another strip club anthem. But with people facing dire economic situations, the song takes on added socio-economic significance. With single mothers in the real world strugglin' to feed their kids, millionaire rappers promoting ho'in as a viable option is done in extremely bad taste.
Do rappers hate women that much?
While the disrespect of all women is a problem for all cultures, the disproportionate economic suffering of Black women plus the fact that they own most of the booties that are seen shakin' in Hip-Hop videos makes this issue more race specific. This is compounded by the jacked up relationship between Black men and Black women that has been promoted by the entertainment industry for the last couple of decades.
Black men dissin' Black women is nothing new, as its roots can be traced back to antiquity. Chancellor Williams in his classic work, "The Destruction of Black Civilization" wrote that the problem goes back thousands of years in Africa when foreign invaders raped Black, Egyptian women, causing the sons to hate their mothers and identify with the nationality of their fathers, the conquerors.
So the seed with which we are dealing today was planted eons ago.
Of course, this is not to say that White men have not exploited Black women, as this has been well documented for centuries. South African, Saartjie Baartman, was paraded across Europe as a freak show attraction because of the size of her badunkadunk almost two centuries before Nicki Minaj appeared on the MTV Music Awards.
Nor can the disrespect of Black women be totally blamed on Hip-Hop, as Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones were singing "Brown Sugar," a song glorifying the rape of a "slave girl," and "Some Girls" a decade before The Bad Boys dissed "Veronica" and Slick Rick "treated 'em like a prostitute."
But that does not give Black men of today a pass. Especially grown men with young daughters.
Dr. Frances Cress Welsing gave a psychological reason for rap's virtual rape of sistas in The Isis Papers, when she wrote that, "Black males engage in this activity out of their imposed frustration and sense of political powerlessness and inadequacy."
However, some have pointed to a more insidious reason; a conspiracy to turn Black men against Black women and initiate them into a secret society known as the "Hip Hop He-Man Woman Haters Club."
If what Immortal Technique alleges in his song , "Natural Beauty" is true - that "men who don't even like women control the business." This is not only possible but probable, as they take enjoyment from the gender war between Black men and Black women.
As noted historian J.A. Rogers wrote in his book, Sex and Race Vol. III, the deadliest form of the conflict and process of extermination within a civilization lies in the conflict between the two creative forces - Sex (woman) and Intellect (man).
Now some may argue that Luda is telling a true story and there are really women who act like that. But there are also women who act like Ida B. Wells, Assata Shakur and Kathleen Cleaver. Why are these stories not being told? Not to mention the story of the OG ride-or-die chick, Mary Turner, who, in 1918, along with her unborn child, was murdered and mutilated by a lynch mob in Valdosta, Georgia, for reppin' her husband who had been murdered by the same mob.
Some may consider the actual details of the horrific event, like how one of the members of the mob removed the fetus from Turner's belly and pounded it into the ground, too graphic. However, they are no more graphic then the acts rapped about on Luda's CD or in songs being played on the radio about Black men riding around with "choppers" in their cars hunting other Black men like prey.
Perhaps, if rappers were taught this history, they would be less likely to make misogynistic songs.
Personally, I think that a group of brothers should find Luda and kindly "escort" Mr. Bridges to the Folsom Bridge, the spot where Turner was lynched, and leave him there until he reconsiders his position on Black women.
Either way, this madness has got to stop.
Like Nas said in "Black Girl Lost," "Say men are all the same?/ What we need to do/ Is break this chain."
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott represents The Militant Mind Militia. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on his website at http://www.militantmindmilitia.com, or on Twitter at @truthminista.