Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Looks like I'm going to have to get on my soapbox, yet again. Folks around here should know by now that if you say anything derogatory about hip-hop, I'm going to come after you hard. Especially when your comments are not stemmed in fact, but based on outdated stereotypes and profiling, you are sure to read about yourself in my next column.
I am hip-hop.
Now, I don't mean that as an arrogant statement. I simply mean that I embody the principles that hip-hop was built on. It is the music of my generation, like it or not. Because it is so often ridiculed, I lie in wait for the next pundit to make some baseless claim so I can tear him/her a new one. I'm kind of like good ole Rev. Jesse Jackson waiting for some sorry soul to slip up and make a racist comment. Be careful what you say. This week's tirade is aimed at Motown Brown.
Mr. Brown is the entertainment manager at the neo-soul club, Santiago's. In a recent story in the JFP ("Almost Legal," Aug. 25, 2005), Brown said, "When hip-hop started out before, it had a message. There were storylines; there was a culture. Now, it's more physical than the material." He then described a club across the street from Santiago's that played rap and had a shooting on New Years Eve. Because of that, he says he allows "no rap" in his club.
I can't stand by and let you make such broad (very broad) suppositions. As a businessman, I suggest you do a little more research before you make statements based on personal opinion. I've never met you, but in your comments you come across as the same old fogey who looks at hip-hop as nothing but noise.
You see those who do it, listen to it or support it as mere thugs who can't congregate without being destructive. Your words remind me of the slave-owner who saw his "property" as only good for manual labor—workers who weren't worthy to read, write or vote. You don't give our young folks the same respect you expect them to give you or your establishment. When you say "kids" or "they," you group an entire demographic together instead of singling out the knuckleheads that cause these isolated incidents. There aren't fights every weekend at these clubs. These are isolated incidents that could happen anywhere with people listening to any type of music.
Stop putting the blame on rap! Your theory that underage clubs are dangerous and unsuccessful because they play rap is laughable at best. These kids love their music, and the majority of them are not bad. I don't know whom you've run into, but it appears the experience was not an endearing one. The best way for you to join us in the 21st century is to stop blaming exterior stimuli for the actions of some youth. It's not the music; it's something that that particular person has lacked in their upbringing that makes them a jerk. Don't penalize the majority.
Now, mind you, Santiago's is your club. You reserve every right to set your own rules and policies. But to say you don't cater to hip-hop lovers because of outdated beliefs isn't the greatest business move. I've been invited by members of the M.A.P. Coalition to come out and hear some good spoken word at Santiago's, but I think I'll pass until the house policy gets revised. Right now, it doesn't seem like my kind is welcomed.
And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.
Sho-nuff, I totally agree with your comments about Mr. Brown. He has to realize that some of the people who come to Santiagos actually do listen to hip hop as well. You can't put people in a bottle. Just like people that wear rainbow-colored hats, afros, shags, and tinted glasses can't be taken as naturally afro-centric, black power, fist-waving radicals. I guess my point is that just as burning incense doesn't make you a neo-soul lover, doesn't make hip hop music lovers gang-bangers or rioters. We can speak to people like this with one powerful force: our dollars. By not spending money at such places sends them a clear message.
EXACTLY. hurtin them pockets always gives businessmen a new perspective. I cant believe we still have neanderthals that think like this.