Rev. Daughtry's weekly article that appears in the NY Daily Challenge every Wednesday and Friday.
Jackie, Imus and Rappers - Part III
There are two important areas where the rappers have had enormous negative influence - international and youth. A few months ago I was in Antwerp, Belgium waiting for the delegation to meet me I ambled into a small hotel named Florida. There was television playing at the end of the reception desk, which attracted my attention. To my dismay, discuss, embarrassment and anger on the screen was a continuous parade of half naked, behind shaking, body gyrating, buffoon apparel, contorted faced, violence exalting, filthy mouth rappers. A modern version of the old blackface painted exaggerated pained white lips, stupid acting vaudeville or minstrel show that we had fought so hard to eradicate. Along with the name calling like niggers and darkies, colored toilets, restaurants and public transportation, little Sambo holding lanterns and statues, segregated schools, lynching and bombing, all designed to kill and/or dehumanize people of African ancestry. Now our children are outdoing the races in disparaging our people. What makes this worst is that they have an international stage. That’s the image that they are projecting influencing the thinking of the people of the world.
The second area where they excerpt extraordinary influence is among the youth. The harm they have done is incalculable. The violence, sex, profanity that saturates their art, if that is what it is, is played out in real life. We have risen up against Imus calling the Rutgers’s team “hardcore nappy head whores,” but rappers have been saying the same thing and worst. And while they are spurring forth these lewd and demeaning phases, young big butt shaking, big bust bearing, half naked grinding, gyrating women, smiling, grinning, as if they are enjoying being abused.
Contrary to the charge levied by ignorant conservatives, reactionaries and/or racist, many of us have criticized rappers who have been so engaged. To the eternal credit of Ms. C. Deloris Tucker, she led the fight early on.
It always presented a painful conflict for me when she and Tupac Shakur were exchanging verbal criticism. Ms. Tucker was a beautiful person, physically and in spirit, she had a deep sensitivity and racial consciousness. She worked hard to advance her people particularly women. In this foul phrased context, I remember how pained she was when a certain national leader who’s every phrase was peppered with profanity. She would cringe. She would pull me aside and ask if I could do anything to change the verbal habits of a highly regarded leader.
Tupac was a member of our church, along with his mother, Afeni, Aunt Gloria and sister, Setuwaa. He joined when he was 11. In the last year or so of his life during his incarceration, I used to have long and serious talks with him concerning his life, his music, his vision and his influence. He always evinced another side other than his public persona. I knew of the many good things he had done and planed to do. Also I knew the influence of the moneymakers, the corporations behind rapping. There is an article by George E. Curry in the 4/24/07 addition of the Daily Challenge entitled, “C. DeLores Tucker’s Fight Against Offensive Lyrics,” that I like to quote extensively. I do this to honor Ms. Tucker who I knew so well. Also to show the gallantry and the price she paid for the battle she fought.
“The late C. DeLores Tucker left a rich legacy when she died in 2005. A participant in the Selma-to-Montgomery, Ala. March and long time NAACP board member, she became Pennsylvania’s first Black Secretary of State in 1971. She would later chair the National Political Congress of Black Women, Inc. But perhaps her greatest – and least appreciated accomplishment might be her relentless campaign to eliminate sexist and degrading lyrics from the music industry.
It was a war for which she never volunteered.
‘I have, since 1993, led a crusade against this gangster, pomo rap,’ she said in a 2000 interview on CNN. ‘And all of the industry does not support it. In fact, I got involved by two of our entertainers coming to us and asking us to help: Dionne Warwick and Melba Moore and many others who did so, but didn’t want their names known.’
Quoting lyrics from one song, she said, ‘She was sucking ‘d’ up and down with a smooth stroke, taking nine inches of d-i-c-k like Deep Throat. The other bitch . . .’
Tucker took her campaign against sexually explicit lyrics to the streets, picketing music stores, and to the suites, purchasing stock in Time Warner and challenging its top executives at stockholders’ meetings.
Rap artists, in turn, attacked Tucker with a vengeance.
Tupac Shakur, in a song titled, “How Do U Want It/” raps: “DeLores Tucker you’s a [MF]. Instead of trying to help a ***** you destroy your brother.”
On another song titled “Wonder Why They Call U Bitch,” Shakur says: “Got you legs up trying to get rich. Keep your head up and your legs closed Dear Ms. Delores Tucker.”
Eminem, the rapper from Detroit, said on the “Rap Game” CD: “Tell that C. DeLores tucker slut to suck a dick/ [MF] ducked, what the ***? Son of a *****/Take away my gun, I’m gonna tuck some other ****.”
KRS-One, hailed as a race-conscious rapper, spent time denouncing Tucker on a CD supposedly about freeing Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The first verse:
Everywhere I look there’s another house Negro
Talkin about they people and how they should be equal
They talking but the conversation ain’t going nowhere
You can diss hip-hop, so don’t you even go there
C. DeLores Tucker, you wanna quote the scripture
Everytime you hear *****, listen up sista.
The second verse of the song was also spent attacking the “girl named Delores.”
The music industry refused to accept any responsibility. Responding to a news conference held in 1996 by Tucker, former Secretary of Education William Bennett and Sen. Joseph Lieberman [D-Conn.], the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) issued a statement that said, in part:
“ . . . The recording industry flags explicit sound recordings with a parental Advisory Logo. The highly visible black-and-white logo has provided parents, for the least 12 years, with a tool to determine what is appropriate for their children. Parents- not some special interest group – should be the arbiter of family values.”
Tucker countered that even free speech has its limitations – except when it comes to her.
Tupac Shakur was shot to death in Las Vegas in 1996. Undaunted, Tucker files a $10 million defamation lawsuit against Shakur’s estate, Time and Newsweek. Time reported that “claims that lewd remarks made about [Tucker] . . . caused her so much distress that she and her husband have not been able to have sex.” Newsweek referenced claims that the lyrics “iced their sex life.”
Tucker’s suit, taken all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court, was dismissed, according to judges at various points, largely because she was deemed to be a public figure and therefore must prove that malicious lyrics were written, knowing in advance that they would damage her reputation.”
To be continued
4/24/07Save the date Dar-fur Benefit
May 5, 2007 – 6 p.m. (film showing and update on Dar-Fur); 7-10 p.m.
At Medgar Evers College
Randy Weston, Lilias White, and others
Saturday, May 12 from 4-7 p.m.
Musical Tribute to the deceased son of
Featuring Randy Weston and othersSunday, May 20, 2007, 5-8 p.m.
An Evening with the famous Jazz musical
Jimmy HeathOrganizing Meeting on Dar-fur
Each Thursday: noon to 2:00 p.m.
At The House of the Lord Church, 415 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY