Open Letter To NYOIL, From The Decency Initiative

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 Tamika Mallory organized the march with Sharpton and now responds the rapper in her own open letter.

Mr. Oil:

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 right’s 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 Network’s 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. Sharpton’s

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 aren’t necessarily the views of

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