Sunday, June 11, 2006

Save the Verbal Assault for Your Lyrics, and Stop Dissin' Oprah!!!

I am sure you have all heard by now that some hip hop artists have openly "dissed" Oprah for not inviting rappers to appear as guests on her show. Ice Cube, Ludacris, 50 Cent, and Killer Mike (WHO?) have all publicly made comments -- some more harsh than others -- criticizing Oprah for her lack of support to the hip hop community.

50 was quoted saying he thinks she caters to older white women. According to 50, "Oprah's audience is my audience's parents. So, I could care less about Oprah or her show." Cube said, "[s]he's had damn rapists, child molesters and lying authors on her show," and then complained that Oprah invited Cedric the Entertainer and Eve to her show to promote Barber Shop, but didn't invite him. Ludacris complained that he was treated "unfairly" by Oprah when he appeared with the cast of "Crash" on her show. "She edited out a lot of my comments while keeping her own in," said the man with hoes in every area code. Killer Mike (again, WHO?) called the queen of daytime television a "dumb broad."

There is so much to which I can respond, so where do I start? Well first, the name of the show is "The Oprah Winfrey Show." With that said, when Cube, Luda, or 50 (I won't even address Killer Mike because no one even knows who he is) has their own show, they can invite whomever they want to invite. Until then, get over it. Oprah is not here to ensure the popularity and success of the hip hop community, or of any of the individually-named rappers who have spoken publicly against her. It's ironic that all of these rappers, from Cube to 50, have gained vast amounts of wealth by promoting lyrics that are derogatory to black women, and then now want the most powerful black woman to bow down and show respect for what they do. Such hypocrisy.

In a statement to Ed Lover on a New York radio station, Oprah dispelled the rumors that she doesn't like hip hop, informing Ed that she has some 50 on her iPod. I too am a fan of hip hop, but seriously, these guys need to grow up, show some maturity, and realize that Oprah doesn't owe them any handouts.

--Notta (a fan of Oprah who is not an older white woman)


r. parrish said...

I don't quite get why rappers would be upset at Oprah's disinterest in them. As a fan of hip hop I am personally relieved that Oprah wants nothing to do with hip hop. From all that I've seen of Oprah over the years I don't think she would really understand the cultural or aesthetic significance of the genre. I would be horrified to see the watered down version she would present on her show.

Unlike Notta, I am not a big fan of Oprah. I have nothing against her--she is a wonderful philanthropist and semi-social activist. However, her ubiquitous pressence is a bit annoying to me. Oprah is a talk show host with a near billion dollar income. That doesn't mean, however, that I need or care what Oprah has to say regarding the books I should read, how to live my life, who the next hot R&B singer is going to be, what I should buy people for Christmas gifts, etc. There are also other poets I like to read other than Maya Angelou (that's an unfair dig). It's just gotten a little out of control for my tastes. I don't need Oprah's guidance on any of these matters (again, she is only a talk show host). So, I'm actually relieved she has nothing to say about hip hop. Her opinion on the topic wouldn't be very valuable to me.

Notta, I see the gendered question you are asking; Are these male rappers and their masculinity somehow threatened by Oprah's success, wealth, and disinterest? I don't think their issue with Oprah has much to do with gender though. I think they just feel snubbed by her and they as a group that speaks to a large constituency (across racial lines) and is now a significant component of American culture are understandly curious as to why they don't seem to be on her radar screen. I just think the shouldn't really care for the reasons I've already mentioned and for the reason you gave. It is her show. Let her profile all of the serial killers and pedophiles she wants.

Notta's Sista said...

Will Smith doesn't count?

Anonymous said...

No. Will Smith comes on the show as an actor to promote his films. It's no different than when she has John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Bernie Mack, Julia Roberts, etc., on the show.

Notta Golddigger said...

The Russ Parr Show reported yesterday that Oprah came out with the following statement in response to being criticized for not supporting hip hop artists on her show:

“I'm not opposed to rap. I respect other people's rights to do whatever they want to do in music and art and whatever. So I am my own person, they are their own people. I respect their rights.” She adds, "I am a woman who has worked very hard for my status in the world and as a human being. I don't want to be marginalized by music or any form of art. I feel rap is a form of expression, as is jazz. I'm not opposed to rap. I'm opposed to being marginalized as a woman."

This statement really captures the essence of what some hip hop artists convey in their lyrics. I think it is hypocritical to call women b!ctches and hoes, and then turn around and want a woman to promote their music. Even worse is the fact that they see nothing wrong with that.


r. parrish said...

I find Oprah's comments on Russ Parr interesting for a couple of reasons. Oprah often rightfully crusades against men who victimize women in various ways. She dedicates entire shows to exposing men who beat, sexually assault, are emotionally abusive, or just generally demeaning to women. Often the victims come on her show to tell their stories and once in awhile the abuser will show up to be confronted by Oprah. I've never seen Oprah back down from a confrontation with a man she has deemed demeaning or abusive to women. Except...when it comes to those hip hop artists who have demonstrated such behavior towards women in their music.

I would think that her show would be the ideal venue for her to attack such behavior, especially in an industry as influential and pervasive as the popular music industry. However, she has remained largely silent. Again it is odd in light of Oprah's willingness to wade into issues of general public concern (remember the whole mad cow debacle and subsequent lawsuit) and her deep commitment to the empowerment of women that she has ignored the issue even if she were just to simply condemn rappers who routinely disrespect women in their music. Nothing I've seen in her character would indicate she would shy away from that issue unless she is hesitant to critcize other black folk in public, which I could maybe understand. So, if Oprah is concerned about being marginalized as a woman by rap, why hasn't she spoken up? She has never held her tongue before except where politics are concerned.

Notta Golddigger said...

r. parrish -- You make a good point -- I fully agree with you in that Oprah should, but has never, taken the hip hop community to task over their lyrics. However, the rappers that have complained are upset because she hasn't invited them to her show to promote them or their music -- not because she hasn't invited them on her show talk about their disrespectful lyrics. My guess is they would probably still be complaining if she did.

In any event, I still agree that Oprah should have a show where she addresses the degrading lyrics in hip hop. Your guess is as good as mine as to why she hasn't done so yet.


vwunder1 said...

Ok, I'm a little late to this fight, but never let it be said the kid from Paterson, NJ who grew up on the Sugarhill Gang, the Soul Sonic Force, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, Run-DMC (my nick-name was Run and my boy was DMC), LL Cool G, Big Daddy Kane, Chubb Rock, Queen Latifah, Biggie, Mary J, Outkast, Jigga, , and, and ... couldn't jump into a fight on the subject of hip-hop.

Yeah “the and ….” that's when hip-hop began to fail me. It started with the brothas from the West Coast feelin slighted by the East and showin off how many bodies that had dropped. The East then, feeling threatened, had to respond in kind - we have never recovered. Hip-hop is now identified primarily by its violent and misogynistic themes. That's too bad. I loved and still do love the beats, the tongue in-cheek braggadocio, the makin somethin from nothin motif that is the hallmark of the African-American experience and the potential for social and political empowerment (see Public Enemy and Dead Prez) hip-hop represents.

Well, so VWUNDER1, enough about your hip-hop credentials, what about Oprah you ask. Oprah has made the right move. I must admit I was surprised to hear she actually enjoys hip-hop. She as a responsible adult and "elder" in the black community MUST take a stand and do the right thing. Hip-hop artists too often take Malcom's "By Any Means Necessary" credo and pervert it. They are some of the brightest and most articulate talents in the black community, yet they let the pursuit of cash become their religion. They see that other groups historically did whatever it took to rise through American society and they say I'm going to get mine too. The difference - we as a people are defined by their depictions of black people. The little kid listening to Fifty's lyrics in Japan only identifies black people by the image Fifty paints. That means Fifty and those like him perpetuate negativity, stereotypes etc. My kids suffer, your kids suffer, I suffer. Oprah need not validate that.

On the other hand, this fight ain't about Oprah, it's about the rest of us as responsible members of this community (elders no matter how old we are) taking a stand against these depictions in our own right.

Will we?

On hip-hop

“I love it (some of it), yet I must stop it (some of it).”