Quiet Riot: Campuses Rebel Against Gangsta Rap
In 1971, Gil Scott Heron recorded, "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Although the song was written during the time of the Vietnam War, Heron could have just as easily been talking about the war against gangsta-ism being waged on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's), today.
Across the country , students are protesting the fact that student funds are being used to give fat paychecks to Hip Hop artists that promote violence and disrespect of women. Every year, black institutions of higher learning, collectively, spend millions of dollars bankrolling Hip Hop homecoming shows that promote the worst kind of anti-intellectualism.
Unfortunately, except for a few Hip Hop websites and scant local media coverage, the protests have received little attention from a black community that should be rallying around such efforts to protect the minds of African American youth.
Earlier this month, students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, NC protested an appearance by rapper, Gucci Mane because of his lyrics that glorify gang life. Although, the concert is still scheduled for October 31, the students were successful in getting North Carolina A&T administrators to drop the school's support of the show.
Now, The FAMU People's Coalition, a group of students and community activists around the campus of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University have started a campaign against their upcoming homecoming show with the rallying call,' You Call that a Concert?".
According to group co founder, Terrance Darnell during an interview with No Warning Shots Fired.com, the current FAMU concert lineup is in direct conflict with the cultural and social guidance that the institution is supposed to provide. The lineup was originally scheduled to include Gucci Mane but he will not attend, supposedly, because of legal issues.
"The University shouldn't validate these artists, " said Darnell.
It has been reported that a HBCU can invest upwards of $100,000 to put on these types of shows , money that Darnell says should be put to better use.
"The money could have gone to get a higher caliber of artist," he said.
On the organization's website , they list a group of performers whom they feel would better represent the university's mission statement including, Common and Lupe Fiasco.
Although, many people believe that all young black people support the gangsta-ism of some of today's Hip Hop artists , Darnell says that his group's own research contradicts this long held myth.
"Where are all the people endorsing this" he asks? "The majority of the people understand where we are coming from."
Perhaps, the bigger question is why is so little attention being paid to these gangsta rap rebellions ? It can be argued that if the students of HBCU's were involved in some negative activity it would be front page news. However when young folks raise their voices against negative noise, the silence is deafening.
In an era when the educational gap between black males and their peers just keeps getting wider and children are being killed on the streets by senseless, gang violence, how can we hold our tongues and refuse to speak out?
Where are the religious leaders who should be on the front line of this fight? Where are the educators who should be waging war against the destruction of young minds? Where are the alumni of HBCU's who should be upholding the honor of their schools?
Could it be that the blood money that these concerts generate makes those who should be aiding the protesters look the other way?
The activities of these activists should be the main topic of conversation in barbershops, community meetings and Sunday morning church services in every city in America. Members of the community should be textin' and tweetin' this information to their circle of friends until the wee hours of the morning.
Some my ask, why with all the problems facing black folks, should we be so concerned about a rap concert?
Terrance Darnell said it best.
"I'm not willing to have this on my conscience when I'm 70 years old."
Neither should we, brother. Neither should we...
For more information on the FAMU People's Coalition visit http://petitionfamuconcert.blogspot.com/ or on Facebook (You Call that a Concert?)
Paul Scott is a self-syndicated columnist and author of the blog No Warning Shots Fired.com. He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or firstname.lastname@example.org He recently launched the Intelligence Over Ignorance Campaign http://www.ioimovement.com/