We interrupt your regularly scheduled Reign O’Change conversation for this thought-provoking piece by our newest writer Tenebris Veritatis. Telling you to Do More & Require Better one line at a time with his introductory piece: Looking for Role Models in All the Wrong Places. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!
I grew up listening to rap, in my house there was not a day that went by where my mom was not playing artist like: Tupac, N.W.A, WU Tang clan, Run DMC, and others. Rap and hip-hop is pretty much a part of our culture, however as much as music is a part of our culture so is the history of our people. It is a problem to me when so many children can walk around reciting songs word for word from people like Young Thug, Nicki Minaj, and Fetty Wap but they cannot name a single famous black inventor and the only words they know from Dr.Martin Luther King’s speech is “I have a Dream”.
We have kids running the streets, getting into trouble growing up to be hoodlums, thugs, and pregnant with their second child by time they are eighteen, but what can you expect when the last generation fails the current one; when parents don’t regulate their children because they are too busy running the streets themselves. How can you expect your teen-aged daughter to dress and act respectably when from the age of seven she has been watching Nicki Manij videos, singing her songs, and learning to dance like her? We don’t want our sons running the streets killing each other, disrespecting women and treating them like sex objects, yet we let music where drugs, guns, calling women bitches and saying all they are good for is oral sex is the central theme be their guiding influence in life. I see so many young males and females refer to themselves as real niggas and bad bitches, and you know what it’s the truth because that is exactly what we are creating, “Creating” because we definitely are not raising them, a generation populated with real niggas and bad bitches instead of Real Men and Real Women.
Now I am not saying that music is solely to blame do not, interpret this as such. The fault lies on the parents as much as the music. When you do not give your children proper role models to look up to this is the result. I may have grown up listening to Tupac, and N.W.A, however my mother was a strong and present force in my life I also had my great grandmother, and although my father was not always around physically due to military services and the fact that he and my mother cant’t stand each other he was there as an influence as well through letters, phone calls and books that he mailed me about African-American history. Yes I heard Tupac and N.W.A.’s message about the streets, but I was also given and made to read books about people like Fredrick Douglas, W. E. B. Du Bois, and George Washington Carver. I knew that there was more to life than the streets and what’s portrayed in the media, had good role models to look up to, and something to aspire to be too. If we want things to improve, and for our children to have a future we have to stop failing them. Let them know they are capable of great things, that the first clock in America was made by a black man by the name of Benjamin Banneker , that the first beauty products for African-Americans were made by Madame CJ Walker, give them inspiration to be something more.
For a moment let’s take a look at the music that is being allowed to influence our lives and the lives of the up-and-coming generation of young men and women. Take for instance the song (and I use the word lightly) “Throw Some Mo” by Rae Sremmurd featuring Young Thug and Nicky Minaj. This song does not even have to play long; it opens with a hook sung by Nicky Minaj stating “Ass fat, yea I know. You got cash blow some mo” a few lines later she then continues with “Bad bitches on the floor, its rainin hunninds. Throw some mo” Those first few lines pretty much sum up the theme of this song, women using their bodies to gain money. This message is further conveyed in the lyrics of the second verse which states:
“Franklins, raining on your body
Raining on your body
Raining on your body
Won’t you do what I say
Start rubbing on your body
Hunnids on your body
But you need to get naughty
Hold up, hold on, her eyes on me
Is that your hoe, if so, Imma get her before the nights over.”
This verse no this entire song is degrading to women, teaching them to exploit their bodies for money and the accompanying music video only serves to make it worse. The entire video is full of women wearing barely any clothing dancing on each other and men as they throw money on them. When young men grow up watching and listening to this kind of message without guidance from their parents (not that I believe it is ok for a child to be exposed to this at all) they grow up thinking two things; One: it is ok to refer to women as bitches and hoes, Two: as long as you have money women will do what you want. On the opposite side of this, let us look at the message this song, its video and others like it could send to a young woman still growing who does not have proper parental influence in her life. Girls growing up looking up to the image of Nicki Minaji will want to emulate her behavior. Look like her, dress like her, and act like her. They will believe that it is ok to refer to themselves as bad bitches and that it is ok for men to call them that as well, never mind the negative meaning of the word bitch when used to address a woman. Is it really ok for a young girl to grow up believing it is ok to allow her-self to be sexually exploited and objectified for profit?
Let’s take another second to compare the typical or displayed behavior of those that address themselves as “real niggas” and “bad bitches” as opposed to those who are real men and women. The majority of the teens and young adult males who walk around these days referring to their self “Real Niggas” are loud, boisterous and frequently refer to themselves as “real niggas”, while a real man knows that actions speak louder than words. “Real niggas” are the type to look down on a man working two dead end jobs to help support his family. Instead they choose to sell drugs risking jail and fail to realize it is just as important to be in their child’s life as it is to put food on the table. “Real niggas” fight when they feel the least bit disrespected, calling a man who walks away from a fight a “punk”; not seeing the wisdom in picking their battles or that sometimes it is just not worth it. As for your typical “Bad bitch” they see themselves as strong, empowered women who can stand on their own and need no one’s help. However “bad bitches” mistake a rude, abrasive personality for a strong one. When angered, they tend to be loud, insulting, and in-your-face. They don’t realize that they can stand their ground without raising their voice; they can make their point without insulting the person they are talking to, and that when they get in someone’s face pushing them they’re are only lowering themselves to their position.
We have a duty to lead the next generation to guide our sons and daughters and lead them down the right path. Parents should want their children to be better than they, to succeed where they might have failed; to make something of themselves. When it is left to the media to guide and shape the children they grow up imitating the negative images in an attempt to be cool and “fit in” with their peers who do the same, thinking that it is alright to behave this way because their parents do. What future do we have as a people if we allow this to be what guides future generations?