What's Happening In Your World
by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World I love David Banner.  David is not the only brilliant hip hop artist that we hear on the radio, but he is one of the few who is proud of his intelligence.  Unlike brothers who fall for the temptation to mask their intelligence with counter-productive bo-jangling, Banner proudly uses his platform to promote the greater good. My love and respect for David was challenged when I read a recent statement he made about the response of the hip hop community to the death of Trayvon Martin.   In an interview with TheGrio.com , Banner stated that hip hop artists don’t have a responsibility to speak on behalf of Trayvon and that they are only required to make good music. Mind you, David Banner and artists like Vigalantee have been at the forefront when speaking on behalf of Trayvon Martin.   But his decision to conform and let his fellow artists off the hook requires those of us who aren’t on the corporate hip hop plantation to do Banner’s dirty work for him.   While Banner felt compelled to argue that hip hop artists have no obligation to speak up on either Trayvon Martin or any other social issue that comes to pass in black America, the truth is that many commercialized hip hop artists are already passionate activists when it comes to preaching the gospel of black self-destruction. An activist is someone who, among other things, promotes a message that is internalized by others that translates into action which transforms a community.  Anyone who listens to the radio knows that many hip hop artists gladly promote numerous messages, including the following:  Get high and drunk every day, have sex with as many women as possible, shoot other black men who disagree with you, waste your money at the club instead of investing it, take pride in being ignorant and disrespect women whenever you can. The message from leading commercialized hip hop activists is one that permeates all throughout black America, as young people look to these merchants of black death to teach them how to live, think, talk, dress and act.   If Malcolm X were to rise from his grave and appear at any high school in America, he could never draw a crowd as big as Lil Wayne.   So, when Lil Wayne repeats a chorus which says that he’s a “blunt smoking, polo drawz showing” gang member, who is “always strapped” and wants to “have sex with every girl in the world,” he is actively promoting a lifestyle that is reinforced in the psyches of millions of his disciples.   That’s no different from Martin Luther King changing history by saying “I have a dream,” with the only difference being that Lil Wayne might have a bigger audience. So, what I encourage my good brother David Banner to understand is this simple idea: Your colleagues in hip hop are already activists.   Many of them are voluntary poster children for the promotion of gang violence, homicide, drug abuse, sexual irresponsibility and blatant ignorance.  They are deeply committed to sharing a set of very specific instructions to our kids on how to end up ignorant, uneducated, broke, incarcerated or dead.   These corporate-funded death certificates are signed for our kids before they even have a chance to make a choice, so the activism of hip hop artists has been quite effective. So, does the hip hop community have an obligation to speak up on behalf of Trayvon Martin?  Who gives a damn.  The fact is that they are already speaking up on a whole host of issues, and our community is dying because of it.   It’s time to stop making excuses. Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at  Syracuse University  and founder of the  Your Black World Coalition . To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to  your email , please click here.

Dr. Boyce: David Banner, Don’t Let Your Home Boys Off the Hook

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black World

I love David Banner.  David is not the only brilliant hip hop artist that we hear on the radio, but he is one of the few who is proud of his intelligence.  Unlike brothers who fall for the temptation to mask their intelligence with counter-productive bo-jangling, Banner boldly uses his platform to promote the greater good.

My love and respect for David was challenged when I read a recent statement he made about the response of the hip hop community to the death of Trayvon Martin.  In an interview with TheGrio.com, Banner stated that hip hop artists don’t have a responsibility to speak on behalf of Trayvon and that they are only required to make good music.

Mind you, David Banner and artists like Vigalantee have been at the forefront when speaking up for the family of Trayvon Martin.   But his decision to conform and let his fellow artists off the hook requires those of us who aren’t on the corporate hip hop plantation to do Banner’s dirty work for him.   While Banner felt compelled to argue that hip hop artists have no obligation to speak up on either Trayvon Martin or any other social issue that comes to pass in black America, the truth is that many commercialized hip hop artists are already passionate activists when it comes to preaching the gospel of black self-destruction.

An activist is someone who, among other things, promotes a message that is internalized by others that translates into action which transforms a community.  Anyone who listens to the radio knows that many hip hop artists gladly promote numerous messages, including the following:  Get high and drunk every day, have sex with as many women as possible, shoot other black men who disagree with you, waste your money at the club instead of investing it, take pride in being ignorant and disrespect women whenever you can.

The message from leading commercialized hip hop activists is one that permeates all throughout black America, as young people look to these merchants of black death to teach them how to live, think, talk, dress and act.   If Malcolm X were to rise from his grave and appear at any high school in America, he could never draw a crowd as big as Lil Wayne.   So, when Lil Wayne repeats a chorus which says that he’s a “blunt smoking, polo drawz showing” gang member, who is “always strapped” and wants to “have sex with every girl in the world,” he is actively promoting a lifestyle that is reinforced in the psyches of millions of his disciples.   That’s no different from Martin Luther King changing history by saying “I have a dream,” with the only difference being that Lil Wayne might have a bigger audience.

So, what I encourage my good brother David Banner to understand is this simple idea: Your colleagues in hip hop are already activists.   Many of them are voluntary poster children for the promotion of gang violence, homicide, drug abuse, sexual irresponsibility and blatant ignorance.  They are deeply committed to sharing a set of very specific instructions to our kids on how to end up ignorant, uneducated, broke, incarcerated or dead.   These corporate-funded death certificates are signed for our kids before they even have a chance to make a choice, so the activism of hip hop artists has been quite effective.

So, does the hip hop community have an obligation to speak up on behalf of Trayvon Martin?  Who gives a damn.  The fact is that they are already speaking up on a whole host of issues, and our community is dying because of it.   It’s time to stop making excuses.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email,please click here.

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6 comments

  1. I DO NOT SUPPORT THE IGNORANCE, SELF-LOATHING, AND DOWN RIGHT BAFOONERY THAT OME HIP-HOPPERS DISPLAY. BUT I WILL DEFEND THEIR RIGHTS TO DO WHAT EVER THEY FEEL ELEVATES THEIR MISGUIDED LIVES. THEY ARE THE RESULT OF SELLOUT BLACK POLITIANS, SO-CALLED LEADERS AND SIMPLE MINDED NEGROES, THAT ALLOWED OUR COMMUNITIES TO BE DISMANTLED. INTERGRATION HAS TAKEN THE BLACK RACE BACK 100 YEARS. NOW YOU SO CALLED INTELLECTS COWARDLY ATTACK AN ALREADY DOWN TROTTENED GROUP OF YOUNG MISGUIDED BLACK INDIVIDUALS, INSTEAD OF ATTACKING THE BOULE, WHITE CONTROLLED STRUCTURE SYSTEM, AND THE WAY SO-CALLED GREEK NEGROES SECRETLY SELL US DOWN THE RIVER.IT IS TO EASY TO POINT AT THE RAPPERS, BUT WHERE ARE THE BLACK ACTORS, SINGERS, ETC. THE REALITY IS THAT BLACKS ARE NOT A MONOLITHIC PEOPLE, SO IF INDIVIDUALS WITHIN OUR ETHNIC GROUP, CHOOSE NOT TO GET INVOLVED, PRIVATELY OR OPENLY, IT REALLY IS THEIR RIGHT. MARCUS GARVEY WAS TOTALLY DISRESPECTED BY W.E.B. DUBOIS AND BOOKER T WASHINGTON, BUT WE HOLD THOSE NEGROES UP AS HEROES, SO PLEASE, LETS FOCUS ON THE PROBLEM,ZIMMERMAN KILLED TRAYVON, NOT HIP-HOP.

  2. Herman Hawkins Jr.

    Enough is enough. I have become alienated from today’s music, especially gansta related hip-hop and Banner’s comments only serve to increase that alienation.

  3. Dr. Boyce,

    You “love” David Banner? Really? You must have a very short memory. You must’ve forgotten that back in August 2007 that Banner said publicly that Rev. Al Sharpton could “suck his d**k”. (See the whole thread over at the now defunct BlackVoices: http://www.bvnewswire.com/2007/08/16/rev-sharpton-v-david-banner-war-of-words/)

    Banner was about making money “by any means necessary” back then, and apparently is now. Given this, are you really surprised that he feels rappers have no obligation to speak on behalf of the Trayvon Martin’s of America, and that their only priority is to make money? Really?

  4. Well David Banner should read this and understand, that he did allow the devil to use him on this one. On point!, Dr. Boyce

  5. Right on Dr.Boyce.We need to tell the hip hoppers they are not all that and a bag of chips.They are being used to keep the followers brain dead.

  6. these young men and women are preachers of unrighteousness. all this goes back to morals, and the law of God ‘love the Lord God with all your heart mind soul and strength, love your neighbor as your self’ society and the culture we live in has allowed satan and his unrighteousness to infiltrate the minds of our youth.
    read your bible study the word, this is nothing new, there is nothing new under the sun. homosexuality, adultery,
    abortion{child sacrifice} greed, false prophets,liars gluttons,etc are the ills of an illicit society.
    the lies of the unrighteous can only be combated by the righteous with the truth of Jesus Christ.
    everything that can be shaken will be shaken, God is in the process of cleaning house,from the church down.

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