Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Economics of Holly'hood

The Economics of Holly'hood:
Why Hollywood Ain't Talkin' to Me:
Min. Paul Scott

I ain't gonna front. I've been feinin' to see "Talk to Me" since I peeped the preview when I went to see the Fantastic 4 months ago. So when July 27th rolled around I was really hyped to see the film. I wiped down my sneakers and even brought a brand new fitted baseball cap, just for this auspicious occasion. So, I loaded up the fam and rolled around town preparing to stop at the first theater that I saw with a poster of Don Cheadle. But at every theater, instead of Petey Green, there was a poster of a Black man with a diamond earring and loud, tacky golf shorts...

I know those who are going to accuse me of hatin' on "Who's Your Caddy" are saying "well, at least it doesn't show a young black Brotha blastin' a store owner because his 40 oz bottle of malt liquor was too warm." But you have to admit that to have "Caddy" playing in every hood and hollow in America while you have to hop a commuter flight to see the critically acclaimed "Talk to Me" is outrageous.

According to that one cool white dude with the Barry White voice who talks over the trailers for all the hood flicks, the movie is about a rejected rapper who turns a lilly white golf course into a Hip Hop strip club. It's not like we haven't seen the "there goes the neighborhood" plot a million times before. So, it's kinda like a hip version of "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" with fart and phallic jokes.

Hell hath no fury like a rapper scorned...

Hollywood has also had questionable standards in regards to what it chooses to show Black folks as entertainment. I remember back in the early 90's films such as "Daughters of the Dust" and "Sankofa" couldn't find a home in the same theaters that had no problems finding room for the Boyz in the Hoods and Menace to Socities. I can't remember last fall's "Color of the Cross" playing in too many places, either?

Black television shows haven't faired much better, as I can recall the protests over the cancellation of quality black shows such as "Frank's Place," "Roc" and "NY Undercover."
Pop Quiz.

Can anyone name one program that paints a realtistic portrait of Black America? (And no, wise apple, BET's reruns of "The Wire" don't count.)

Is this a case of racism? Does white America have a fear of showing a film about a member of the "lumpen proletariat" who rises from the ashes of prison to become an important media personality who challenged the system?

I remember how white folks thought that Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" was going to spark a mass uprising in an America where Black folks were still ticked off about Howard Beach and Virginia Beach?

Or is it more a case of stupid-ism, where the theater owners feel that the social relevance of "Talk to Me" may float high over the corn-rolled, bandana sportin' heads of the audience while the slap stick comedy of "Who's the Caddy" might strike home?

Also, I've heard that the real money in theaters is made from the concession stands.
Maybe they think that the people who watch dumb movies eat more popcorn and juju beans than intellectuals.

Well I, for one, am not going to take this laying down!

So call me the "Hip Hop Howard Beale."

Just like that old dude from the 70's movie "Network," I say that it's time to get mad.

So get up out of your chairs now and go to your windows....uh, I mean laptops, sidekicks and iphones and let the movie theaters owners know

We're mad as hell. and we're not going to take it anymore!

Min. Paul Scott is a writer and activist in Durham NC. His blog is He can be reached at (919) 451-8283

Thursday, July 26, 2007

When Mayberry Goes Gangsta

When Mayberry Goes Gangsta:
Justice Southern Style

Min. Paul Scott

Don't trust your soul to no back street southern lawyer
Cause the judge in town's got blood stains on his hands

The Night that the Lights Went Out in Georgia-Viki Lawrence

Summer time in Mayberry. Usually you can find Sherif Andy and Deputy Barney unarmed in the jailhouse playin' cards and just chillin'. Meanwhile, Aunt B and Opie sit on the front porch sippin' home made lemonade. But that was before "they" rode into town. Now Andy and Barney wear bulletproof vests. Aunt B carries a 45 in her Sunday purse, locked and loaded. And Opie is now "O dog" Main St assassin...

When most folks think of North Carolina, they think of apple pie, warm summer nights and college basketball. But like most places, the Ole North State has its share of crime. Some folks will warn you that if you see a kid dressed from head to toe in Carolina blue, he probably doesn't play for the UNC Tarheels. Especially in my city, Durham, as for the past few years the so called gang problem has received national attention thanks to the media and documentaries.

Durham hasn't always had the reputation of being the New Jack City of the South. But a few years back the local media began to do cover stories with gangsta's throwin' up gang signs and well, the kids that weren't quite smart enough to get on the A honor roll or couldn't catch a pass for a hundred yards every Friday night found that one way to get noticed was to go to the Dollar store and get a bandana, white T shirt and mimic BET videos.

To add to that, as in many cities, there is also the practice of gentrification. For those not hip to the term. When you find a poor neighborhood, label it run down, drive the people out, sell property dirt cheap and then rebuild the area...That's gentrification.

What you have a self fulfilling prophecy..Tell the people they live in a "gang infested" area long enough and well...You know the rest.

So how do my southern friends and neighbors deal with the plague of gang violence?

Like folks in any other town below the Mason Dixon when they feel that their traditional way of life is threatened...

They panic.

For the past few years, some NC politicians have been trying to pass tougher legislation to deal with gang violence. In 2003, to capitalize off of post 9/11 paranoia they tried to pass a Street Gang and Terrorism Prevention Act but since public anxiety had begun to die down, it didn't work. In 2007, they are trying to sneak it under the public radar in the form of the Street Gang Prevention Act courtesy of House Bill 274 and Senate Bill 1358.

But the obvious question is, if it is such a darn good idea, then why hasn't it become law, yet?

Now, I like to take an afternoon walk to the mailbox without worrying about becoming the victim of a drive by as much as the next guy but using draconian methods to deter crime just doesn’t strike me right.

The main controversies surrounding the bills are how do you determine who is in a gang and is being in a gang illegal?

The intro to House Bill 274 says that:

"The General Assembly, however, further finds that the State of North Carolina is in a state of crisis that has been caused by violent street gangs whose members threaten, terrorize, and commit a multitude of crimes against the peaceful citizens of their neighborhoods. These activities, both individually and collectively, present a clear and present danger to public order and safety and are not constitutionally protected "

******Note to Gang members "clear and present danger" is the ultimate diss because once you get that label on you. You have no rights and mama can’t save you*******
According to the bill a "criminal street gang" is defined as:

"any ongoing organization, association, or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, which engages in a pattern of criminal gang activity as defined in subdivision (2) of this section. The existence of the organization, association, or group of individuals associated in fact may be established by evidence of a common name or common identifying signs, symbols, tattoos, graffiti, or attire or other distinguishing characteristics"

Translation: Anyone who dresses like the rapper lil Wayne.

I think that it is safe to say that most middle class white folks don't know how it feels to be stereotyped. I still have a not so fond memory of while attending a summer high school honors program, standing at a bus stop dressed in my freshest 1984 Hip Hop gear only to have a Winston Salem bus driver decide that his half full vehicle suddenly ran out of room and slam the door in my face.

Also according to the bill "criminal street gang activity" is a:

"Pattern of criminal gang activity" means the commission, attempted commission, conspiracy to commit, or solicitation, coercion, or intimidation of another person to commit at least two of " a whole bunch of offences. "

I'm not quite sure how you enforce "attempt and conspiracy to commit a crime."
Maybe I should turn myself in now for that cup of coffee I was thinking about swiping from the counter at EZ Mart last week.

Lastly, the bill calls for the heavy prosecution of 12 year olds. I've met some rotten little brats in my day but I wouldn't really consider a 6th grader another Al Capone.

The companion bill Senate Bill 1358 is only slightly more politically correct.

Yes Virginia, there are real gangs in the Bull City and it is not a utopia. But Durham ain't Compton either with its generations of gangsterism. This isn’t an overly crowded city and the same kid who is P-Rock on Saturday night is Lil Pookie who sings in the youth choir on Sunday morning.

In other words..It aint' that deep.

We have not reached the point yet when we should consider performing social retro abortions on twelve year old kids.

Already they are developing projected budgets based on the new residents that will be headed to Hotel Hoodlum. The prison industry is big business and who am I to knock the hustle. So if your no good, lazy cousin in Alabama is looking for a good paying job, he might want to hop the next Greyhound to North Carolina.

The bottom line is in 2007, we should be able to come together and think of more innovative solutions to saving our children than the usual lock em up and throw away the key.

And that ain't just whistlin' Dixie...

Min. Paul Scott is a writer and activist based in Durham NC. His blog is
For reach him contact (919) 451-8283

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Why Black Folks Blast Their Radios

Why Black Folks Blast Their Radio's:
The Silencing of Black Talk
Min. Paul Scott

"My radio believe me/ I like it loud
I'm the man with the box/that can rock a crowd"
I Can't Live Without My Radio- LL Cool J

It's a familiar scene. You're rolling down the street on a peaceful Sunday evening. You stop at a traffic light and the dude in the car next to you is blastin' his music so loud that it rattles your teeth and knocks the Pepsi that you were enjoying right out of your drink holder. While you may wonder how the kid can enjoy playing his radio that loud, in reality it is not for his enjoyment. He's just trying to be heard.

Members of my generation have always played our music loud, from the giant 50 pound boom boxes that we used to lug around on our shoulders in the early 80's to the 10,000 watt boomin' systems that we installed in our jeeps in the early 90's. Although many people assumed that we were just trying to be annoying, like the youth of today we were making a statement.

There is a new movie being released nationally July 27th called "Talk to Me" that chronicles the career of Ralph "Petey" Green who went from being a convict to a populor DC radio and then TV personality that told "tha man" where to stick it during the 60's through the early 80's.

But in 2007, where are the "Petey Green's" who are willing to force America to hear the truth about the trials that Black folks face on a daily basis?

While there are hundreds of white journalists, talk show hosts and other media personalities across the country there only a relative handful of African American opinion makers and yet fewer who comment from an Afrocentric perspective.

In every market you will find at least one white conservative talk show host. The trend really kicked off in the mid 90's as a reaction to Bill Clinton's Democratic Administration when Rush Limbuagh, G Gordon Liddy and others became overnight celebrities. Not to mention the increased popluarity of Right Wing journalists that espoused the values of and spoke unappologetically for white conservative Americans.

But who speaks for Black folks?

While there are a few nationally syndicated talk shows courtesy of Radio One’s Syndication One and a few other companies, it is safe to say that Bill O’Reilly reaches more homes than all the Black commentators combined.

What is especially disturbing is the disappearance of local talk programing. During the 70's, it wasn’t uncommon to have Bro. Righteous Raymond on WBLK giving the 411 on all the issues facing Black America. Even mainstream television stations in urban areas aired the obligatory Saturday night "Soul Sister Sheena’s Soul Sensation."

It must be noted , however, that this was not the result of benevolence on the part of white corporations but a necessary evil in an America that was not even a decade removed from the urban rebellions of the Black Power Era. White America needed someone to interpret the meaning of the sounds the African war drums still reverberating through the hoods. They just figured it was better to have Black folks express their rage over the airwaves where it could be monitored and regulated by advertising dollars instead of having Black folks hold clandestine meeting in the back of barbershops orchestrating ways to "get whitey." But as the white paranoia of some great bloody uprising subsided, so did their need for black programming.

During the 90's, the post LA Rebellion multi cultural movement gave rise to a "universalism" that made all racial issues colorless. Also, one cannot forget the impact of FCC deregulations that allowed corporations to monopolize media markets and allowed public affairs programing to be almost totally eradicated.

Perhaps the main cause of the demise of Black public affairs programming was the fear of the infinite possibilities of Black Talk by those in power (ie rich white folks) to the change social and political landscape of America.

This is best exemplified by the Right's hatred of Hip Hop. Contrary to popular belief, the first attacks on Hip Hop were not leveled against the "gangsta rappers" but the overtly political rap of Public Enemy and Sister Souljah and during that period, full time gangsta's and part time revolutionaries Tupac Shakur, Ice T and Ice Cube. If given a choice most Right Wingers would choose the nonpolitical rap of Cam'ron instead of the problack politics of Dead Prez, anyday.

What has scared the pants off of white America is the potential for Black Talk to galvanize the masses of Black people toward social action whether deliberate or accidental as was the case when the Magnificent Montague catch phrase "Burn Baby Burn," unintentionally, became the battle cry of the 1965 Watts Rebellion.

I am sure that the success of the heavily attended 2006 mostly Latino , Immigration Reform Protests which were made possible largely because of Spanish speaking radio disc jockey's did not escape the watchful eyes of the media gatekeepers whose worst fears would be realized if black Hip Hop DJ's followed the Latino's lead and used the airwaves to politicize their listeners.

We need another Petey Green today, someone to push the envelope, to shake things up a bit. But we cannot expect him to descend from the towers of ABC, CBS or even the local commercial radio station.

The next media messiah will arrive via the new technology of internet radio, pod casts and blogs. Someone who demands to be heard. Just like the guy in the car next to you blastin' his radio.

To borrow the theme from "Talk to Me":

"You can't stop a man with something to say."

Min. Paul Scott is a writer and activist. His blog is
He can be reached at (919) 451-8283

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Imus: Forgive and Forget?

Imus: Forgive and Forget?
Min. Paul Scott

Alexander Pope once said," to err is human but to forgive is devine..."

Whatever, homie.

I bet Alex was the kid that got jacked for his lunch money everyday at school.

There is a buzz going around that Don Imus is about to make his triumphant entry back into the households of America by September and guess what?
Word is that Rev. Al Sharpton is cool with this...

Say what, now?

Wasn't this the same guy who was on all 120 channels on my TV not even four months ago, calling for Don Imus's head on a platter?

But I forgot. It wasn't poor Imus's fault. He was a victim of subliminal seduction courtesy of some evil gangsta rappers.

Now, according to news reports, Rev. Al is giving Imus his blessing to once again become the champion of the airwaves and show all the haters once and for all that you can't keep a good racist down.

That's the problem when Black folks flock behind one leader. After some bad guy does some despicable act, the great and powerful Black leader rises from his Cadillac, raises his arms and rains down thunder and lighting on the evil doer. And just like that, he snaps his fingers and the sun starts shining, the birds start singing and all is well with the world.

The late educator, Dr. John Henrik Clark in one of his lectures, points out that Booker T. Washington was the first "official" Black leader chosen by while America. Seems like it was better to deal with one man than a few million angry Black folks.

This same strategy was used during the Civil Rights Era as Malcolm X said in his "Message to the Grassroots:"

"The same strategy that was used in those days is used today, by the same white man. He takes a Negro, a so-called Negro, and makes him prominent, builds him up, publicizes him, makes him a celebrity. And then he becomes a spokesman for Negroes -- and a Negro leader."

Even in 2007, the game remains the same. White America props up one Black person and makes him the mouthpiece for every black man, woman and child in America from the Hamptons to tha hood. Someone who can spark the revolution with one hand and call it off with the other.

So, now according to news reports, Rev. Sharpton isn't going to oppose Imus's return because " he has the right to make a living."


Let him get a few cows and a couple of pigs and try his hand at farming at that big ol ranch he has in New Mexico.

Also, according to reports, Rev. Al says that "we had never asked him to never work again."

Sooooo, all that protesting and air time was just to get Imus transfered from MSNBC to Fox News ?

I guess history will record that the outcome of some old bigot calling a group of beautiful, mostly Black women "nappy headed ho's" was that he got an extended summer vacation and we now have an "undisputed" Black leader.

In fairness to Rev. Al, I guess that there are more important battles to fight. Hey, doesn't 50 Cent have a new CD coming out in a few months?

I guess sometimes you have to put the past behind you and forgive and forget.

Then again, I ain't the one that Imus called a nappy headed ho....

Min. Paul Scott is a writer and activist based in Durham NC. His blog is
He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 email:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Politics of Pimps and Ho's

The Politics of Pimps and Ho's
Min. Paul Scott

You know the type. You see him every Saturday night in the back of the club; expensive trench coat, dark aviator sun glasses and a $500 fedora pulled down slightly above eye level. He is a man on the prowl, propositioning any woman in a mini skirt and pumps who looks like she might be down for a little play for pay. No, I'm not talking about Snoop Dog or some other rapper, I'm referring to Republican Senator Dan "Big Daddy" Donaldson.

With all the hot scandals coming out of Washington, including the recent accusation of prosti...excuse me "call girl" solicitation by Louisiana Senator David Vitter, it is a wonder how the Right can open their mouths to say one bad thing about Hip Hop.

Now I’m not denying that to the chagrin of Hip Hop purists, like myself, the most popular music on the radio, right now, is the mysogynistic "Strip Club Music." For those who have lived sheltered lives and don't know what a Hip Hop strip club is, let me hip you to the facts. If you wander into a dimly lit room with loud, fast music playing and find yourself surrounded by a bunch of sharply dressed men with gold teeth throwing money at a naked overly developed woman sliding down a flag pole... you're in a strip club. Strip clubs are so popular in Hip Hop right now that some of the hottest producers boast of test marketing their music there to see if it will make the dancers drop it like its hot or not.

While some may point to this as evidence that Hip Hop is contributing to the moral decay of this country is this really any different than what goes on in those seedy little spots in DC (or New Orleans)?

Since the Don Imus scandal, rap music has been blamed for everything from juvenile delinquency to global warming. But can we really blame Hip Hop when the whole nation seems to be headed for hell in a handbasket?

I wouldn’t be surprised if my morning paper reports that Sen. Vitter is blaming the "serious sin" he committed in the 90's on Luke Campbell and the 2 Live Crew.

"Well, I was in my room listening to ‘Me So Horny’ and all of a sudden..."

In reality, there is not one thing going on in the world of Hip Hop that is not going on in the world of politics. And when the rappers say that their vile degrading lyrics are a reflection of a vile, degrading society, they are not too far off the mark.

This country is suffering from a severe case of selective morality.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want my little daughter going around the house singing Lil Kim lyrics and I do keep a Louisville Slugger handy just in case some knuckle head even thinks about calling her a "ho." But at the same time, I wouldn't want my son to grow up being a "ho hoppin' hypocrite" politician, either.

Is there a difference between Deborah Jean Palfrey (the DC Madame) providing a "special massage " for a joh...excuse me a "client" and Snoop Dog's side kick Bishop Don Juan hookin’ a Brotha up?

The reason why those on the Left high five each other in the check out line of the grocery store when they see one of the Right Wing moral crusaders on the cover of one of those tabloids caught with his hand in the cookie jar is not that they are gloating over misfortune but the Moral Majority front like they are just so darn...well, moral.
As we say on tha block, "they act like "feet" don't stank"

For those of us involved with steering our youth away from violence and misogyny but at the same time telling them the truth about "the system" the catch 22 is how do we expose the hypocrisy of politicians without green lighting some of the behavior of the rappers.

It’s simple...

We have to be consistent with our criticisms. If its wrong in "tha hood" than its wrong on "tha Hill. "

So, I guess, the moral of this story is that folks in glass whore houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Min. Paul Scott is a writer based in Durham NC. His blog is
He can be reached at (919) 451-8283

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The World Is a Ghetto

The World Is A Ghetto:
Is Hot Ghetto Really Messin' It Up For Black Folks?
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

Don't you know that it's true/ That for me and for you
The world is a ghetto

Meet Bob Roberts. He lives in a gated community with manicured lawns, talks "good" English and was the first "black" admitted to the Glen Haven Country Club. He thinks that he is a living example of the American Dream until a case of mistaken identity lands him in the same cell with Tyrone "T-Boogie" Johnson...

For those who aren't down with Black Entertainment Television, the network's latest attempt to provide wholesome family entertainment is a reality show called Hot Ghetto Mess, which (so far) is scheduled to debut on July 25th. The show is a spinoff of the website of the same name started by Jam Donaldson a few years back which bought attention to the "ghettorization" of Black culture by exposing the perpetrators to public ridicule.

Initially, it was a good idea as it was able to shine the spotlight on an issue in the Black community that had not really been addressed. And, believe it or not , a lot of really smart people visit the site on a regular basis. Also, to Donaldson's credit, she didn't duck the controversy surrounding the site but answered the critics, head on. So I ain't mad at Jam. I just question HGM under the auspices of Sumner Redstone's BET/Viacom empire.

Based on its line up over the last decade, one could make a convincing argument that BET wouldn't know good programing if it smacked it in the face...(And no, showing the movie Baby Boy twice a week with the introduction borrowed from Dr. Frances Cress Welsing doesn't count as uplifting the race.) But the main question is can Viacom, which brought us such "positive" shows like BET's sister company’s VH1's "Flavor of Love" and "I Love New York," really be able to separate "ghetto" as an unfortunate economic condition from "ghetto" as a comedy skit?

When I hear the term, "ghetto", my mind flashes back to the 70's sitcom, "Good Times" and the Evan family’s endless attempts to escape tha hood. However, the term "ghetto" wasn't originally a black thang. The term originally referred to the places where European Jews were forced to live and then where European immigrants resided when they came to America. It wasn't until decades later that the term became used to describe tha hood. The difference is that if Viacom was poking fun at the ghettos of Warsaw instead of the ghetto's of Chi-Town, nobody would be laughing.

So how did the ghetto become Chocolate City?

According to the 1965 Moynihan Report:

"the Negro family in the urban ghettos is crumbling. A middle-class group has managed to save itself, but for vast numbers of the unskilled, poorly educated city working class the fabric of conventional social relationships has all but disintegrated....So long as this situation persists, the cycle of poverty and disadvantage will continue to repeat itself."

And who is to blame for this?

According to the Kerner Commission Report published in 1968:

"..white America society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain and white society condones it."

The people of the ghetto have always been a source of embarrassment for the black bourgeois. Kinda like the light "skinned-ed" sista that was ashamed of her dark skinned mama in "An Imitation of Life."

It must be noted that the gains of the Civil Rights Era were mostly because of the "ghetto people" who were busy fighting in the streets while the "bougies" were busy trying to get "gov’ment" jobs. Instead of reaching back and hooking the Brotha’s and Sista’s up with a gig, those ingrates got their first paychecks and kept on truckin’.

What has changed since the 70's and 80's is that "ghetto" is no longer a place from where you try to elevate yourself but a place that you carry around for life, like old luggage. Also, the authentic "ghetto" look is expensive these days. Have you checked the price of gold grills, lately?

So, ghetto has moved from being a class to a caste from which one cannot escape.

Thanks largely to the entertainment industry a group of "untouchables" has been created that is not characterized by red dots on the forehead but gold teeth and jheri curls.

Since HGM is supposed to be an accurate portrayal of how "we" act I can't see Lakesha going out of her way to make sure that she watches the program every Wednesday night. However, I can see Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity loungin' around their living rooms, popping popcorn and laughing themselves silly at our expense.

The bright side of the controversy is that people like Latrice Janine, who started an online petition to remove the show months before everybody started jumpin on the post Imus Hip Hop bashin’ bandwagon and groups like Turn Off Channel Zero, that have been ragin’ against the machine by pushin’ anti -Viacom DVD’s in hood's across the country are proving that everyday folks can stick it to the man without the help of the Civil Rights leaders. Instead of burying the "N" word wouldn’t it have been more effective if the NAACP would have burned a wax figure of Sumner Redstone in effigy?

Already, sponsors are dropping their ads like hot ghetto hot cakes.

Surely, some will ask what good will boycotting Hot Ghetto Mess do and the critics will say that we are only fighting against it because we are too concerned about how white folks perceive us. In reality, it’s all about how we see ourselves...Because, to keep it real, white folks make an initial judgement based on skin color not what's in your wallet nor the degree hanging on your living room wall.

As the original theme of the Hot Ghetto Mess website proclaimed "We’ve got to do better." And that goes far beyond cancelling a television program.

I applaud the efforts to prevent another "diss" to black culture but removing a TV show still won't change the root causes that created the ghetto in the first place.

At the end of the day, will cancelling Hot Ghetto mess change the economic condition of the inner cities?


Will it force those Black folks who have "made it" to come back and help "tha hood?"


And lastly, will it change the perception of Black people by white society ?

As Malcolm X once asked in a debate.

"You know what white racists call black PH.Ds?"


TRUTH Minista Paul Scott is a writer and activist based in Durham NC. His blog is
He can be reached at (919) 451-8283

Saturday, July 7, 2007


Buryin' the "C" Word

Min. Paul Scott

And the things we write are always true, Sucka
Get a grip, now we're talkin' about you.
Talkin' All That Jazz-Stetsasonic

Every family has an Aunt Ruth, the Sista who shows up at every funeral dissin’ everybody who walks in the church. Unlike your other pompous and overly pretentious family members, "Ant" Ruth keeps it real. If it wasn't for her you wouldn't have known about Uncle Clarence's chick on the side or that prim and proper, Aunt Hazeline was a superfreak back in tha day. I can see Aunt Ruth at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's "mock" funeral for the "N" word as the NAACP dignitaries do the funeral march to greet the mourning Hip Hop family. She would be in the back pew, rolling her eyes, sucking her teeth and whispering. "Them bougie N****** ain't never liked our family, no way!"

Let's get this out the way from the jump. I'm not down with using the "N" word and frankly, if I was rollin' through tha hood and saw the NAACP scrappin' with G Unit, I'd just grab a big bag of chips and a Big Gulp and watch. However, in wrestling terms, this is more like a triple threat match between the old school Civil Rights Leaders, the commercial "gangsta" rappers and the Hip Hop activists all vying for the coveted World Championship of Black Culture.

It’s a tough question but someone has to ask it...Is it really fair to come down on tha Brotha's for using the "N" word, when in 2007, you still refer to Black folks as "colored people?"

Is there a real qualitative difference between the name NWA (N***** With Attitude) and the NAACP? I guarantee you that most rappers will not put up half the fight over the "N" word as the folks in the NAACP would if folks demanded that they take "colored" out of their title.

While many can trace the history of Hip Hop from its South Bronx origins most people are totally oblivious to the history of the NAACP. While many people automatically assume that it was always a "black thing", in reality, the first members of the NAACP were white, including the early presidents. Also, the integrationists of the NAACP fought against the self empowerment movement of Marcus Garvey and the UNIA.

Although many people argue (and rightly so) that corporations have ruined Hip Hop, it must be stated that white philanthropists/corporations have always invested heavily in the NAACP from its inception until this very day and as the old saying goes "who ever pays the piper picks the tune." I find ironic that the most notorious "gangsta" rapper, 50 cent is promoting bottled vitamin water while the NAACP promotes Anheuser Busch, the company responsible for the "hood" drink King Cobra Malt Liquor.

So, commercial Hip Hop and the NAACP have a lot in common. The NAACP had a white man as its first president and Hip Hop had Vanilla Ice. Many of the West Coast Rappers repped St. Ides while the NAACP rep's Budweiser. The rappers drink Moet and Hennessy the NAACP gets money from Moet Hennessy USA. Hip Hop headz give R. Kelly video awards and the NAACP gives R. Kelly Image Awards for songs like "I Wish) that dropped the "N" bomb a couple of times. Not to mention the remix that set a new world's record for "N" bombastics in 2001.

While some old heads may not understand the "stop snitchin' code" in Hip Hop, it must be noted that the Black community's hatred for rats is rooted in the actions of people like the former chairman of the board of the NAACP, Joel Spingarn, who according to an article in the March 21, 1993 edition of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, started spying on the NAACP for the Military Intelligence Division during WWI..

While some may see this article as another attempt at hip hopapologeics, it is not. This is an attempt to expand the dynamics of this country's long awaited "great conversation on race" that was supplanted by a "weak conversation about the evils of Hip Hop." What could have been a discussion about anything ranging from white male dominance in the media to the historical disrespect of black women quickly devolved into a weak, long drawn out discussion about rappers and dirty words.

What is most disturbing about the post Imus anti-Hip Hopism is that a movement to give Black children an analysis of Hip Hop by activists of their same age group was hijacked by Civil Rights activists trying to prove to white America that they were still relevant. Don't get it twisted, a Black leader is only as good his number of constituents, either real or imagined. That's is why some of them feel the need to continuously hold march after march after march.

The one great equalizer of the universe is TRUTH, no one is above it ; no one is below it. This TRUTH is a double-edged sword, it cuts on the right and the left.

Should Black people refer to themselves as the "N" word. No, but we ain't "colored" either.

Should rappers be criticized for their actions? Sure, but we also need new Black leadership.

Should we be having a conversation in 2007 about the effect of Hip Hop on Black children? Of course, but a similar critique of the NAACP is about 90 years past due.

So, as the NAACP carries out its burial of the "N" word, let us remember the saying "TRUTH crushed to the earth shall rise again."

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott is a writer and activist based in Durham NC. His blog is
He can be reached at (919) 451-8283 email:

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Black Leaders...You're Fired!!!

Black Leaders....You're Fired!
Min. Paul Scott

Dear Black Leader,

As the unofficial self- appointed representative ofthe people who you are supposed to work for, I have a bit of bad news....

You're Fired!!!

Or as Martin Lawrence used to say "Gets ta steppin!".

It's not that we don't appreciate your hard work and dedication in fighting for our civil rights and everything. We know your bio, which you always share with us anytime we ask you what have you done for us, lately. We know about the marches, the demonstrations, the police dogs and the jail stays. But that history is lost on this generation. They are desensitized to the "going to jail thang." My cousin Clyde, the Klepto can do a 10 year bid standing on one hand. As far as the police dogs, Lil Tyrone has to deal with stray pitbulls everyday coming home from school. So the tales from the past just don't move Black folks like they used to.

Accounting is concerned about the expense account that you've been runnin' up. They say that you have been abusing the company's Bank of Harlem Black Card. Is it really necessary to wear $2000 Brooks Brothers suitsand $1500 Itallian leather shoes, everyday while the people you work for get their clothes from Wal Mart and Pick and Pay? (Work rule # 4081, never out dress the boss.) And how about the first class airline tickets and the 5 star hotels?

Also, the board of directors thinks that the $5000 honorarium that you charge historically Black colleges for 45 minutes of your wisdom is a little excessive. Especially when you are going to ask the strugglin' college kids to break you off $28.99 for your latest hard back after the lecture? My peeps in the street are also tired of seeing you flossin' on C-Span more than they see you in tha hood, homie. They want you to step your rap game up and come with something a little fresher than a remixed "I Have a Dream" speech every year. At least Jay Z and them can bust a funky freestyle off the top of their heads. And stop criticizing their spinning rims and platinum teeth when you are bling blingin' more than they are. And for the record, they said that they ain't gonna stop using the "n" word as long as you keep referring to Black folks as minorities and"colored people."

The Boyz in the Hood want a chance to shine on the cover of Ebony and on the radio, too. My boy, Tre said that he was in the newspaper one time and his mom's said that he looked real good dunking the basket ball in the Cross City Championship of 95. He once dropped some serious science after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in the middle of Mr Luther's Barber Shop and got a standing ovation and a free hair cut! Brotha's got some real talk for the people but NPR won't holla at him, though.

The interns who have been running around getting your coffee and filing your papers for the last 20 years are getting tired of being passed over for promotions. Word around the break room is that they are planning a hostile takeover if changes aren't made soon. I know that you always thought that the main threat to your job would come from the Conservative cats on the 5thFloor who you play golf with every weekend but you under estimated the Brotha in the Red, Black and GreenT-Shirt that you had in the field picking up garbage. You didn't know that the old school Public Enemy pumpin' in his IPod headphones and the books on Garvyism that he was reading during his lunch break would give him grand ideas about taking over the company.

We tried to get your pension straight, but funny thing, no one in Human Resources remembers hiring you. It must have happened during therace riots of '69 when the Brothas were handlin' their business in the streets. When the smoke cleared all the rest of the Brothas were doing long prison sentences but you were at the front of the line to bethe first negro to integrate Whiteman and Liverpool Inc. To find a suitable replacement we have decided to launch our own reality show "America's Next Black Leader" and we will be going through hoods across America with a camcorder to see who is actually out there feeding the people, fighting the power and all doing of the other things that you preached to us that we should be doing for the last 40 years. So we thank you for your years of service and we know that you will have no problem finding a new job with your white corporate sponsors.

Best Wishes,

Min. Paul Scott

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott is a writer and activist based in Durham NC. He can be reached at (919) 451-8283