Monday, April 28, 2008

The Epiphany of Black Pipe - Prophets of Rage

The spoken or written word wields immense power. It is one of the most powerful mediums in the world. So when words are spoken or read people tend to believe in them. That is why preachers, entertainers, athletes, spokespeople, and public officials have so much power; they are able to use words for the benefit. Something as powerful as words are also manipulated to the benefit of the user so that they can influence others to do for them what they are unable to do, whether it is to protest, hurt, attack, and build up. These so called prophets do not wield their power properly. It is the job of a prophet to lead his people to the promise land, whether their idea of the promise land is wealth, healthy living, closer to god, or material items. The prophet leads his people. There are many false prophets walking this earth, you hear them on the radio, see them on TV, you can recite every word that they say in their rhymes or songs, they are the one’s your kids wish to emulate no matter what their value system is. It is this power that should be used for a higher purpose but is not. Remember Kanye West said it best “We Rappers are role models. We rap we don’t think”. There could never be a better line said about what rappers do, they don’t think they refuse to utilize their influence for something positive and groundbreaking the uplifting of their people.
I grew up during a time and era when there were movements and organizations that were about uplifting the people. Shit that’s what rap first started out as the news channel of the hood. They talked about what was going on in the hood at the time, from clothes, to sports, police brutality, homelessness, and drugs. It wasn’t until the realization that money could be made off of the struggles and ills of these oppressed people did rap evolve into Hip Hop. Once it became a big business the relevancy of Hip Hop dwindled. It is still used to get out a message but the wrong type of message. Today rappers only talks about selling drugs and the cars and cribs that they buy from their illicit activities. They forget the numerous homes and families that are destroyed by drugs and drug wars. They forget to mention the innocent kids that are killed when they bust their guns. They forget to mention the decaying conditions of the community because of the effect that drugs have on everyone. What part of the game is this? This is not what a true prophet should do. A true prophet would tell them that drug dealing is not the way to go. There are alternatives to doing conventional work instead of drug dealing. A true prophet would show them how to clean up their neighborhood to get rid of the drugs, homelessness, crooked cops, crime, and many of societal ills. When Michael Jordan said buy my sneakers millions of kids and parents ran to the store nobody questioned what Michael Jordan’s beliefs about anything were. When Michael Jordan said he eats his Wheaties millions of parents bought his cereal never questioning if Mike feed anyone other that the stockholders and co owners of the business that he is aligned with. When Jordan drank Gatorade millions of people drank Gatorade. Have you ever wondered what would happen if Mike said put down your guns and embrace your brothers. When Oprah tells you to read this book from her book club or to listen to what Dr. Phil has to say you never question her. Can you imagine the spheres of influence she would have if she said that we are boycotting this business if they don’t hire some many black women or black men? These are the individuals with the power but are afraid to utilize it. Can you imagine if these celebrities stood up for something meaningful before it became a problem the power that they would wield over businesses and politicians, it would be immense. However the reality is that so many of them are afraid to stand up for something other than an endorsement deal or new contract.
The onus shouldn’t just be placed on the celebrities. We are not using our power as a community correctly. We are the true owners of shit. In most communities of color we are the predominant group. The politicians should be lining up begging for our votes and support. They work for us and we are not using them correctly. There should never be a building built anywhere in our communities without a minority contracting company being considered. I few don’t take the job the construction crew should be predominantly black or well represented by people of color. When the politician doesn’t give us what we want we create a new candidate and replace them with someone who will do what we want. That is true power this is community building. We should be in control of our communities not outsiders. We have to return to being a movement, a force to be reckoned with. Other groups do it and there is not a problem so why can’t we. We are responsible for over 500 billion dollars spent annually if we took our money out of any company or business they would falter and fail. They need us more than we need them. We have to create jobs for ourselves and not rely on others to create jobs for us. I can’t tell drug dealers to stop selling drugs and not provide them with an alternative source of income. I have to show them that they could still hustle but legally. Community mentoring needs to take place again. We can’t be afraid to step to our brothers and sisters when they are doing wrong. I don’t know who better to correct your behavior than your own brother. The message can be spread through each person individually but the power still resides in the hands of those who have a medium to reach millions, entertainers. Can you imagine the day Sean Combs says we aren’t buying anymore Gucci until they hire 250,000 people of color worldwide the panic and uproar that would create. Can you imagine the day that Russell Simmons says that until Chase Bank creates more jobs in the black community we will no longer bank with them and are planning to withdraw our money from our accounts I guarantee we will get some respect. We have to make this country understand the power and influence we have over things. This country’s economy runs smoothly because of our contributions and we should be treated and afforded the respect that it warrants. If not we will shake this mofo up. This is what America respects power and money. The power is truly in the money and it is up to us to show them we mean business.