Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Black Jesus: Did The Game Ghetto-rize the Gospel ?

Black Jesus:
Did the Game Ghetto-rize the Gospel
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“Religious images destroy the psychology of the Black Man/Who is crucified then vilified”
Crucified-Professor Griff

Last month, rapper ,”The Game” raised eyebrows when he released the cover art for his upcoming CD “Jesus Piece” which featured a thugged out “Black Jesus” wearin’ a bandanna. The controversy was further fueled with the weekly “Sunday Service” pre-release teases that featured songs like “Holy Water” and “Black Jesus”, in which the Game portrays himself as The Ghetto Messiah.

In interviews the Game has talked about his strong Christian beliefs and how “Jesus Piece” is about the conflict that arises when you are trying to do good in a world that rewards those who do evil.

I get that.

But the question becomes, is it necessary to Ghetto-rize the Gospel in order to reach the young Black males in the ‘hood? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to give the youth the true image of “Jesus” instead of tryin’ to make the Prince of Peace an OG?

The Game is not the first to try to make the Bible more appealing to young folks by replacing the King James version with a more King of Rock style.

In 1993, P.K. McCary published the “Black Bible Chronicles” in which she tried to mak " the Word " more hip. Not to mention the attempts by gospel artists like Kirk Franklin to mix Hip Hop with their music in order to reach the people in the clubs on Saturday Night who might not make it to service on Sunday morning. Also, a more socially conscious, “Black Jesus” by Tupac and The Outlawz was released in 1999 that begged a more laid back Black Messiah to come save the ‘hood. But as the scriptures teach us, it is the Truth that is going to make us free. And the truth is that the image of the blue eyed, blond haired Jesus is just as historically inaccurate as The Games CD cover and this image has been more destructive to Black children than gangsta rap ever was.

This is the story that must be told.

The idea that the historical Jesus (Yeshua ben Yosef) was Black is not new and its origins can be traced back as far as Bishop Henry McNeal Turner who, in the 19th century , preached about the importance of Black people embracing a Black deity.
During the early 20th century, this was also echoed by Marcus Garvey of the Universal Negro Improvement League and Archbishop George McGuire of the African Orthodox Church. According to William Mosley in his book, “What Color Was Jesus,” during the 1924 UNIA Convention, McGuire ordered that “all white pictures of Jesus and Mary , in homes and churches be “torn down and burned.”

The 60’s saw the creation of Black Liberation Theology which was advocated by ministers and theologians such as Rev. Albert Cleage (Jaramogi Abebe Agyeman) author of “The Black Messiah” and Dr. James Cone, (Black Theology /Black Power.) It must be noted that most of the early practitioners of the theology spoke of a “Black Christ” merely in symbolic terms.
However during the late 80’s and early 90’s , with the coming of the Afrocentric movement , historians such as Dr. Ishakamusa Barashango (Afrikan People and European Holidays) and Dr. John Henrik Clarke ,(The Boy Who Painted Christ Black) began to give historical proof to challenge traditional Euro-centric image of Yeshua.

According to historian, Dr. Yosef ben Jochannan, in his work “Our Black Seminarians and Black Clergy Without a Black Theology,” it was Michelangelo who painted the first pictures of a white Jesus, using his cousin as a model in 1512 at the request of Pope Julius II.

Furthermore, Dr. Barashango pointed out that, contrary to popular belief ,Yeshua was actually a revolutionary who was crucified for the crime of stirring up the people against the Roman Empire. This is contrary to the fragile looking white person who only preached about “turning the other cheek” and “loving your enemies.” Neither philosophy is very popular in a community plagued by racism and police brutality.

A few Hip Hop artists have been bold enough to challenge the image of a Caucasian Christ . One of the first was Professor Griff back in the early 90’s with his song “Crucified.” Also on “B.I.B.L.E. “(Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth) , Killah Priest claimed that one of the most popular images of “Jesus” was actually Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI. More recently, in 2004, on the remix of Jadakiss's “Why,” Nas asks the question, “Why is Jesus Christ never played by Black actors?”

However, most rap artists have, skillfully, avoided the issue, parroting the same line that Pastor Johnson gives,;“What difference does color make?” While ignoring the obvious, “if it didn’t matter why was he painted white in the first place?”

Even on “Jesus Walks,” although Kanye West rapped about Jesus walking with “drug dealers and even the strippers, “when it came to challenging the false European image, he said ,”I’m not here to argue ‘bout his facial features...

Rappers know which lines not to cross.

What The Game must realize is that the Black on Black violence that he talks about on “Black Jesus” can be directly attributed to the lack of kinship that our youth feel with the Creator. And it is easy to kill someone who you believe was not made in the image of God. Also, its hard to tell people to stand up against racism when they believe that the deity whom they worship condones it.

We must not be afraid to speak the truth to our children who are looking for answers as to why African Americans are suffering, disproportionately, from long prison sentences, police brutality, unemployment and other social ills.

Like Pac and the Outlaws said “We need help out here, so we search for Black Jesus.”

Don’t we all, brothers? Don’t we all...

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop,” a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. He can be reached at info@nowarningshotsfired.com Website NoWarningShotsFired.com Follow on Twitter @truthminista

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Saigon Said Knock You Out

Saigon Said Knock You Out:
Necessary or Unnecessary Roughness ?:
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“Shadow boxin’ when I heard you on the radio.”
Mama Said Knock You Out-LL Cool J

Recently, on the top rated, "Chicken and Waffles Morning Show," something happened that shook up the rap world. The hosts were kickin’ it with militant Hip Hop artist, “Songhai” when he started name checkin' rappers who he claimed were part of a diabolical conspiracy to destroy the youth. Songhai threatened to pimp slap the top five commercial Hip Hop artists if they didn’t change their wicked ways, ASAP. Strangely enough, he issued a retraction the next day , claiming that what he said was that he was gonna give the rappers a “hand clap.” But the damage had already been done. The seeds of revolution had already been planted in the minds of the people....

Last week, Hip Hop artist, Saigon created a controversy when, during a visit to NYC’s Breakfast Club Morning Show, he announced to the rap world that he was gonna punch rap’s top dogs, 2 Chainz and Rick Ross, in the grill if they didn’t stop making songs that were detrimental to the children. Immediately, the Twitter-verse was flooded with people who were proclaimin’ him Hip Hop’s new Savior. Then a few days later, in a whirlwind change of events, he announced on his Facebook page that some of his words were “ignorant” and part of a “strategy.”

I have always wondered why, when real Hip Hop artists keep it real about one of the cashin' out rappers, within 48 hours they release an apology or some sort of “clarification.” A few years ago, OG rapper, Ice T, apologized to Soulja Boy and more recently, Lupe Fiasco issued an apology to upstart Chief Keef regarding comments they made that were based on nothing but the pure, unadulterated truth.

So what gives?

Although Saigon has said that he didn't want to single out anybody in particular for the ratchet state of Hip Hop, since you can count all the rappers who are gettin' heavy radio play on one hand and still have a couple of fingers left, how can you not name the names ? Also, since we agree that someone has committed grand larceny on the culture, how can you have a crime without having a criminal?

It must be noted that when artists like “The Game” actually punch rappers they never apologize, they just say “Yeah, and if I see him in the streets, I’m probably gonna punch him again!” But “conscious” rappers go from Malcolm X to Martin Luther King in 2.5 seconds.

While some people may believe that the remarks of Maybach Music Group affiliate ,Gunplay, may have had a little something to do with Saigon’s sudden change of heart, I doubt that’s the case. I’m sure that the rapper risks gettin’ snuffed out by 10 Gunplay look-alikes every.day on the NYC subway. So it’s probably not the street thugs, but the Wall Street thugs that make rappers nervous. They are more scared of Morty Schiester, corporate attorney than they are of some rapper.

And who can blame them ?

If the rumor is true that 50 Cent has the power to shut down projects at rival record companies, how much power do you think his boss, Jimmy Iovine has ? That is why there is this code of silence between industry rappers, whether conscious or commercial.

When Saigon, called out 2 Chainz and Rick Ross, he was not messin’ with individuals. He was messin’ with brands that people have invested a lot of cash creating and they weren’t gonna let some rap revolutionist cancel their meal ticket. Contrary to popular belief, industry beefs are not handled by the rappers but their image consultants. So, the same, " Pierre Escargot," that picks out your favorite ratchet rapper's outfit for the BET Awards is the same cat who handles his beefs.

When Saigon went on his rant he committed an unforgivable industry sin. He made people start to think. Also, as an industry insider, he co-signed something that we already knew. The masses are pissed off at the current state of Hip Hop and they were just waiting for an industry cat who was as pissed as them to articulate their frustrations in a large forum.

And it’s not only the brainiacs that are outraged. It’s the thugs too. Although rappers like Rick Rozay are flashin’ their jewels, the streets are just tryin’ to eat. While members of the Hip Hop Millionaire Boys Club are ridin’ around in Maybach’s with heated seats, the boyz in the hood are out in the cold rappin’ that line from Freeway’s “What We Do.”

“If my heat stops workin’/Ima rob me a person”

Already there are videos on Youtube of Rick Ross catching heat from members of the Gangster Disciples in various states. And America’s greatest fear is that the gangstas get politicized and stop stockin’ bullets and start pickin’ up some books. That’s why politically educated artists pose such a potential threat.

We may never know how many brain cells were sparked by the power of the Saigon interview. Even with the retraction, once words come outta your mouth, you can't call them back.

As omniscient as the heads of the multi-national corporations that control Hip Hop claim to be, they will never be able to discern where rap ends and revolution begins.

But that doesn’t stop them from trying. Many people have had their lives destroyed or ended for daring to wake up the masses.

J. Edgar Hoover's COINTELPRO “fear of a Black messiah who could electrify the youth” is still in effect and the rap industry is part of the program. So I don’t fault rappers like Saigon for being guarded with their words.

I blame us.

The blood of the martyrs is on hands of those who claim to want socio-political change but have not formed a Hip Hop United Front to make artists, writers and activists with a message feel secure in speaking truth to power

Remember during the 60’s, it was the student movements on college campuses that held Muhammad Ali down with speaking engagements after he was banned from boxing for speaking out on the war in Vietnam. Unfortunately we don’t have that structure any more.

We must rebuild it.

Also, as powerful as the music industry executives appear, they are not gonna put guns to our heads and force us to buy our children Chief Keef cds this holiday season. So we must join the “Take Back Hip Hop Black Friday Campaign” and only spend our money on music from artists with a message this holiday season.

And I’m not talking about those artists that are just using conscious Hip Hop as a marketing scheme or an entry level way into the industry. I’m talking about those who are actually involved in our physical and mental liberation.

This way we can honor those artists and activists , past, present and future, who sacrificed their lives for speakin’ the truth and were either blacklisted, put in jail, or, like Saigon said on his latest video, “Blown Away.”

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop,” a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. His website is No Warning Shots Fired.com For more information on the “Take Back Hip Hop Black Friday Campaign” contact info@nowarningshotsfired.com or follow on Twitter @truthminista

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Rap, Rock and Rape of Black Women

The Rap, Rock & Rape of Black Women:
Music, Misogyny or Myth ?
TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“Wonder why they call you Bitch ?”
Tupac Shakur

One morning while playin’ with the radio on my commute, I heard something that made me slam on breaks. There was a song playing glorifying the rape of a Black girl. My first thought was that Hip Hop had fallen to a new low. Surely, Lauren Hill, Queen Latifah or somebody was gonna organize a squad of Sister Souljahs and head to the local "Home of Hip Hop" station to tear stuff up. But it wasn’t a Rap station but a classic Rock station that was blastin' a song that The Rolling Stones made over 40 years ago....

Over the years Hip Hop artists have been criticized for disrespecting black women. Rapper Lil Reese once came under fire for a video that surfaced of him beatin’ a young woman. Although the controversy did not draw as much attention as the infamous Chris Brown/Rhianna slug-fest nor the mysterious video that surfaced of Jay Z, allegedly, mushin’ a female fan in the face years ago, it still created quite a stir on the ‘net. Coincidentally, around the same time it was reported that Cee Lo Green allegedly took advantage of a woman after slippin’ her an Ex pill. What is most disturbing is that the blatant disrespect of females, especially Black women, has been a part of rap music since the early years years.

However, it must be, thoroughly, understood that the disrespect of sistas was taking place long before Just Ice recorded “Booga Bandit Bitch.”

Back in '71, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones released a hit record called "Brown Sugar." The song begins with a lyric about a slave owner getting his thrills off of beating a "slave girl" and raping her. He goes on to rejoice over how good sex with sistas is.

I guess Pac was right when he said " the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice."

Years later, since the black militants didn't snatch Jagger off stage and kick his bony butt all the way back to England, he felt comfortable enough to record "Some Girls" in which he, after talking about the materialistic attitudes of women of other nationalities, proudly proclaimed that "Black girls just want to F**** all night." Thus, making Jigga's "Black chic she don't know how to act" line from "Girls, Girls, Girls " mild in comparison.

Although we have discussed the misogynistic lyrics of Hip Hop artists since NWA released Niggaz4Life , we have left rockers such as Mick Jagger out of the conversation. We call it disgraceful when a Black male rapper makes a record calling a Black woman a "ho" but when Lou Reed refers to Black women as "colored girls" on "Walk on the Wild Side," we call that a classic.

Does this mean that sistas shouldn't get upset when rappers disrespect them and then try to justify it by saying that they" ain’t talkin’ about all women."

Of course they should.

But they must never forget that The Stones and 'em were dissin' sistas long before the Bad Boys made "Veronica" or Slick Rick first performed "Treat em Like a Prostitute."

Also, as scholars such as Dr. Amos Wilson and Dr. Bobby Wright have taught us, we must trace the historical roots of the pathological behavior exhibited by some Black men.

If we are to stop the misogynistic lyrics in Hip Hop, we must admit that the rappers are mimicking White men who have abused Black women for hundreds of years with impunity.

The relationship between White men and Black women has always been a taboo subject in the African America community.

Many in my generation never dared ask great Grandma how she wound up with those green eyes and that buttermilk complexion as we sat around the Sunday dinner table. So, we just wrote it off as having some "Indian" in our family tree and continued grubbin'.

In reality, during slavery and into the early 20th century, many Black women were raped by White men while their husbands cowered in corners. This feeling of helplessness resulted in misplaced aggression in Black men in which they began to blame the Black women, themselves, for getting raped. This disorder has now manifested itself in the actions of their great, great grandsons.

While many of the relationships between White men and Black women were forced, that was not always the case.

According to historian, E. Franklin Frazier, in his book, "Black Bourgeoisie,"

"In giving themselves to their white masters, there were certain concrete advantages to be gained." These advantages ranged from better food and clothing to the possibility that their mulatto children would enjoy special privileges or even be emancipated."

So, maybe some women actually felt honored that Jagger thought enough of them to shout them out on a record. Perhaps that is why, in the Hip Hop era, there was little fallout when a lost tape (Oh, Foolish Pride) by Eminem, was discovered on which he dissed Black females.
Ironically, while songs such as "Brown Sugar" are still played on the radio, today, without protest, Hip Hop is under constant scrutiny.

Even though some may say that this is a case of digging up ancient history, there is no statute of limitations on the degradation of Black women and Mick Jagger and the rest should be held accountable, as well as the rappers who carry on the tradition.
Also, as we celebrate Black Music Month we must uncover the historical precedents that made rap music what it is today.

Most importantly, we, as Black men, must fight against the abuse of Black women in honor of our ancestors who couldn't.

We must never forget the horrors of that period of our history no matter how it is celebrated in song.

We must always remember, as Styles P once rapped on "I'm Black,"

"Even though my skin's kinda light, that means my ancestors were raped by somebody white."

Min. Paul Scott is founder of the Messianic Afrikan Nation ministry in Durham NC.  He can be reached at (919) 972-8305  or info@nowarningshotsfired.com or follow on Twitter @truthminista

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Myth Bustas

Myth Bustas:
Hip Hop History or Hype?

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott

“Don’t believe the lies/look me in my eyes”
Fear -Drake

Recently, the History Network announced that it was launching a new program, “True Hip Hop History.” The show is being promoted as a groundbreaking effort to expose America to the authentic origins of rap music. The first episode, scheduled to air later this month is , “Eminem: The Father of Hip Hop...”

One of the most popular shows on the Discovery Channel is “Myth Busters, “ a program where , every week, the cast sets out to reveal the truth about long held falsehoods. With all the lies that have circulated around Hip Hop for the last 30 years, the culture sure could use it’s own squad of Myth Bustas.

Although, November is, traditionally , celebrated as Hip Hop History Month, much of the information that has been propagated about the genre has been more hype than history.

Like any other aspect of history, Hip Hop Is vulnerable to revisionism. Facts are often distorted and sometimes flat out lies are regarded as the undisputed truth.

Napoleon once said ,”history is a set of lies agreed upon.” So it is with Hip Hop. There are so many historical inaccuracies within Hip Hop that it would take longer than a month to decipher them all.

Middle America loves to hear the fairytale over and over again about how the rapper who is now a multi-millionaire went from rags to riches, One minute he was sellin’ crack on the block and then magically he became part owner of a NBA franchise based, solely, on his uncanny, lyrical ability to convey ghetto survival stories. While this was cool for those who wanted to live the 'hood life, vicariously, through their favorite rappers, it became extremely problematic when those who knew better started to parrot the same tall tales. Using Hip Hop superstar, Jay Z, as an example, in a recent essay , Damon "ProfessorD.us" Sajnani, of the Dope Poet Society , chastised artists who “ organically understand the profitability of promoting the interests of the oligarchy in such a way that the masses mistake those interests as their own.”

In other words, we started to believe the hype.

If we are serious about celebrating Hip Hop history we must understand that history is a science and not a bunch of half truths strung together by some marketing executive at a record label or some editor of an overpriced glossy magazine. More than 30 years after the recording of the first rap record, the culture can no longer escape the critical microscope of historical analysis.
One of the biggest myths is that Hip Hop is controlled by “the streets” and is the legitimate voice of the proverbial “hood.”

Not true.

If you read books like Dan Charnas’s, “The Big Payback” or Steve Stoute's "The Tanning of America,” you will see that since the mid 80’s, rap music has been more the voice of Wall Street than the mean streets of the South Bronx. This is not much different than other forms of African American music that found crossover acceptance courtesy of think tanks at the Harvard Business School more so than Compton street corners.

Another myth is the one about the Hip Hop generational gap. According to revisionist rap historians , there was once a line dividing old school and new school rap that was determined by the age of the rappers.
Like VP Joe Biden would say, more "malarkey."
True Hip Hop historians know the time period between what was initially referred to as “old school Hip Hop” and “new school Hip Hop” was a matter of months, not years. The changing of the guard had nothing to do with age but the coming of a new style that made the older one obsolete. That’s why old school, new school and now school rap existed almost simultaneously between the years 1985 and 1988.

It must also be noted that the “conscious era” of Hip Hop only existed for four years which is about the same length of time of the apex of truly revolutionary movements in this country from the Garvey Movement to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense.

The last myth to be discussed, here, is the idea that Hip Hop somehow did away with racism/ white supremacy. Regardless of the rants of rappers like The Game proclaiming that “it ain’t about race, now, “ that premise is also false. The master/slave relationship still exists in the music industry. Although there have been some exceptions to the rule (like Sam Cooke), historically, Black folks have possessed the talent but White folks have controlled the masters ,publishing and distribution. This dynamic has not changed all that much during the Hip Hop Era. If you read Fredric Dannen ’s book “Hit Men” you will see that the music industry is still controlled by the same people or their biological or ideological heirs who controlled it during the 60’s.

The reason why it is imperative that we tell the true story about Hip Hop is the further rap gets away from it's origins, the more distorted the history becomes.
We are facing the real possibility that one day our children will not be able to tell the facts about Hip Hop from fiction. And the truth will be buried so deep in lies that they may not be able to extract it.

Like Lauren Hill said on “Mystery of Iniquity, “

“You’ll find what you sought/was based on the deception you bought”

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop,” a column for intelligent Hip Hop headz. For more information on the "Hip Hop History Month Myth Bustas” series contact info@nowarningshotsfired.com or follow on Twitter @truthminista