Friday, March 18, 2011

A Dog Returneth...

As a Dog Returneth...
Colt 45's Controversial Comeback

Min. Paul Scott

Many African Americans of my generation have fond (or not so fond) memories of getting up on Saturday mornings to watch our favorite Hip Hop video show, only to be scared out our wits by the sight of an angry, giant blue Schlitz Malt Liquor Bull bustin' through our tv sets. Even today, if you ride through any 'hood and yell out the window the familiar '90's ST Ides Malt Liquor jingle, "just hit the corner store, you know what I'm lookin' for..." I guarantee that some wino in the alley is gonna yell back, " ST IDES!!!!" There was even an evil scientist who came up with the diabolical formula to mix malt liquor with gen-sing, call it Phat Boy and pour it into giant bottles with graffiti on the label. However, thanks to the tireless and thankless work of grassroots activists, for a decade, the blatant advertising of cheap, high powered malt liquor to the "Hip Hop generation" virtually, disappeared.

Fast forward to March 2011, as the folks at Pabst Brewing Company are getting amped up to send another generation on a one way trip to Alcoholics Anonymous.

In a few weeks, the company is scheduled to launch its latest monster piece, "Colt 45 Blast," a 12% high octane malt liquor that comes in a variety of fruity flavors that would put the makers of Kool Aid to shame. The marketing scheme that Pabst is using is pretty much the same that the malt meisters of the past have used; grab a rapper with questionable morals and a bunch of video babes and, bingo, a match made in heaven (or some other place.)

Although the brew is not officially scheduled to come out until April 5th, the company has already launched a major marketing campaign staring the Doggfather, himself, Snoop Dogg. Ironically, it was Snoop who was one of the first rappers to appear in liquor commercials almost two decades ago. He has a history of getting people to join him in the game of "get to' up 'till you throw up" . So, to borrow from the scriptures, in 2011," the dog has returned to his vomit."

Unlike the marketing schemes of the early 90's, in the 21st century, liquor companies have gone high tech. Already, there are Colt 45 Blast Youtube, Facebook and Twitter pages set up that will deliver the latest booze news straight to your child's smart phone.

One may ask how, in the wake of the Four Loko controversy, can a company come out with a product that so blatantly, targets underage drinkers. The answer is quite simple.

Nobody cares.

Quiet as kept, when dealing with black youth issues, many people follow the sage wisdom from "The Godfather," "they're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls." And if you can make a profit in the process, so be it.

By the owners of Pabst own admission, Colt 45 has been known, primarily, a 'hood drink and as long as they keep it ghetto, they do not have to worry about those underage drinking crusader organizations throwing a monkey wrench in their program. Most of these organizations only seem to get MADD (pardon the pun) when alcohol abuse starts affecting middle class white kids at college frat parties.

I can remember on more than one occasion, going to an anti-teen drinking event and loudly proclaiming with a 40 oz bottle raised in a gesture of moral indignation , " In the name of the 'hood, I have come to warn thee of the plague that is about to come upon thy children" only to receive the classic "deer in headlights" look from a crowd who saw nothing wrong with a rapper bragging about malt liquor giving him super sexual prowess but thought some darn talking Budweiser bullfrogs signaled the coming of the Apocalypse.

Only when Bifffy and Buffy, start passing out in the middle of English Lit 101 will it become a problem. Which brings us to the proverbial question "if black kids start falling out in the 'hood do they make a sound?"

I think you know the answer.

What is, also, problematic is the liquor industry's uncanny ability to buy off voices of dissent within the African American community. Any time you start cutting checks to Hip Hop radio stations, Hip Hop magazines and start sponsoring (Black) cultural festivals, you can almost guarantee that your favorite Civil Rights leaders won't say a mumblin' word.

So, where does that leave the community activists who are going to be the ones picking up the pieces when the Colt 45 Tsunami floods the hood with alcohol? What can be done?

Community activists must demand that the neighborhood stores where their children go every morning, before school, to pick up honey buns and orange juice for lunch not stock the product in their establishments. We must also ask our local Hip Hop radio stations not to take the blood money that will have our children dancing down the road of destruction all summer long. Also, black organizations must not accept the 30 pieces of silver to have a malt liquor company sponsor "cultural" events that are supposed to be promoting the health and the well being of the community.

Finally, Hip Hop fans must stand up and tell Snoop Dogg and the legion of other rappers who will come behind him not to be "Pabst Blue Ribbon Pimps" putting poison in the 'hood.

We must not look for politicians nor underage drinking organizations to solve this problem. No one is going to save us but us .

As former malt liquor promoter, Ice Cube, once said in a classic line from a popular gangsta flick.

Either they don't know, don't show or don't care what's goin' on in the 'hood."

Paul Scott is a minister, activist and lecturer based in Durham NC. He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or Website

Regarding Colt 45 Blast

The Wall Street Journal is running a story, today about Pabst Liquor Company's new Malt Liquor, Colt 45 Blast.

The Malt Liquor is using rapper, Snoop Dogg and half naked women from music videos that our children watch to promote this poison.

Here are my thoughts.

Do we really need Colt 45 to "Blast" the brains of our children?

Snoop Dogg has a history of promoting Malt Liquor to disproportionately suffering communities dating back to the early 90's with ST Ides Malt Liquor, so in 2011, to borrow from the scriptures "the dog has returned to his vomit.".

I hope that Hip Hop magazines and radio stations who have the eyes and ears of our young people don't accept the 30 pieces of silver to sell us out.

And finally, it is a shame that liquor companies would stoop so low as to use celebrities who appear on youth oriented shows and radio stations to pimp poison. My prayer is that our Hip Hop youth will not fall victim to "Colt's cult of personality" and drink some "killa Kool Aid."

I will continue my "Intelligence Over Ignorance" campaign to encourage Hip Hop artists to use their powerful influences to develop the minds of our children instead of destroy them.

Minister Paul Scott
Messianic Afrikan Nation Ministry
Durham NC

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How Rodney King Changed Hip Hop

Rap, Riots and Rodney:
How Rodney King Changed Hip Hop

Paul Scott

March 3, 1991. What started off as just another case of a brotha gettin' beat down by the Po Po, would set off a chain of events that would forever change the socio-political dynamics of America, especially for the Hip Hop generation.

Although, the beating of Rodney King by four Los Angeles police officers happened 20 years ago, the shock waves from the event are still being felt today. To grasp the gravity of the situation one has to look at it in historical terms.

The period of the late 80's was,possibly,the most revolutionary since the '60's, as the combination of Reaganomics and racial incidents such as the Virginia Beach and Crown Heights incidents had pushed America, once again to the brink of revolution. There was also a cultural revolution happening ion America, where Black youth were rediscovering the works of heroes such as Malcolm X and Huey P. Newton. The rapidly maturing Hip Hop genre also began to absorb the changes as the party music of the early 80's began to become what Public Enemy front-man, Chuck D, coined "The CNN of Black America."

While the music previously was seen as fad and just a blip on the radar screen of middle America, the idea of rebelling "ghetto youth" using rap music as an unregulated form of information dissemination sent shock America's political foundation.

This is not the first time that the rising collective voice of "the silent minority" became a matter of national security.

According to the March 21, 1993 edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, in 1917, a Lt Col. Ralph Van Deman created the Army's black spy network, which snitched on black organizations, even black churches. The article names Robert Morton of Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute and Joel Spingarn, one of the founders of the NAACP,as operatives in the spy network.

In the book, "Heard it Through the Grapevine," Patricia A. Turner wrote that "rumor clinics" were set up during World War II to "prevent potentially adverse hearsay of all sorts from gaining credibility."

Also, although the FBI's COINTELPRO is the best known of the "dirty trick" operations of the Civil Rights /Black Power Era, Clay Risen, in his book "A Nation On Fire: "America in the Wake of the King Assassination," wrote about the Army Operations Center and" its first operations plan for national disturbances, code named Steep Hill." Risen also talks about the U.S. Army Intelligence Command (USAINTC) which included 1000 agents "around tthe country whose job was to spy on militants and "monitor indicators of imminent violence."

The entertainment industry was not immune of the fear of a black uprising. In Peter Doggett's book, "There's a Riot Going On" he wrote about how James Brown was hired by the mayor of Boston , Kevin White, to throw a concert the night after the King murder to keep the natives calm.

From the very beginning it has been clear that America's fear was not the thugs in the street stealing hubcaps but the fear that they may become politicized, intelligent hoodlums. So on April 29, 1992, the day the police officers were acquitted of beating King, the apparatus was already in place to deal with young "urban" youth who were chanting Hip Hop lyrics challenging the system as their mantra.

As, rebellions took place in cities across the country, even the watchful eye of the Fed's underestimated the politicizing of the youth courtesy of rap lyrics. The site of "gangstas" articulating the political ideologies of Frantz Fanon on Night-line caught politicians with their pants down.

According, to the May 11, 1992 Time Magazine article "How TV failed to Get the Real Picture" it was reported that LA mayor Tom Bradley "requested" that in the midst of the chaos that the highly rated "Cosby Show:" air as an exercise in "crisis counter-programming." However, this was not 1986 and black youth were more responsive to the voices of the X-Clan, than they were "Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable."

So, another form of "crisis counter-programing" had to be developed that would insure that rebellions like what happened in LA would never happen again.

Even before the LA Rebellion, President George Bush had instituted the "Weed and Seed Program" which many residents of Los Angeles, such as those interviewed in the book "Uprisng" by Yusef Jah and Sister Shah Keyah considered a spy operation. The official purpose of weed and seed was to "weed" out gang members and in their places "seed"the hood with community programs.

So, we see the same strategy was used in Hip Hop as the biggest threat to this country's racial hegemony " conscious rappers" were weeded out and the industry was seeded with "gangsta" rappers.

One can clearly see how the careers of early conscious rappers suffered because of their courage to speak truth to power. However, the "gangster rappers" of the period became multi-millionaires and were rewarded with movie scripts and endorsement deals.

It is against this historical backdrop that two major post-LA Rebellion developments took place.

First the "no snitching" ethos was taken out of its historical context and was been replaced with a scapegoat for black on black violence and the demonization of entire black neighborhoods. Conveniently forgotten were the various government sponsored snitch operations that had plagued the black community for decades.h

More important is the overall anti-political direction of commercial Hip Hop, where, instead of "Cosby" crisis programming, the Hip Hop artists are now part of preemptive crisis programming, where the minds of the youth are distracted by such things as face tattoos This can help to explain, in part, why the incidents of police brutality in cities such as Cincinnati, New York, Oakland and Houston generated relatively little outcry.

Some may argue that times have changed and the season of "fighting the power" is a part of a bygone era.

However, with incidents of global outrage taking place from Egypt to Wisconsin, maybe not.

Perhaps Ice Cube was right when he once rapped ," April 29th brought power to the people, and we just might see a sequel."

Only the 'hood knows....

Paul Scott can be reached at (919) 451-8283 or