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View Diary: Race & Prejudice in America Today – A Series: Exclusive Company (59 comments)

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  •  Thank you for a fascinating post. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Will Smith, cotterperson, kishik, oortdust

    I learned quite a bit from reading it.  

    A few thoughts:

    The background on LBJ was very interesting. He would undoubtedly be considered one of our greatest presidents if not for the Viet Nam war. Of course, part of the reason he was able to pass civil rights legislation was because America's egregious treatment of black people, especially in the South, was making it difficult for us to make a case against the Soviet Union for mistreating their citizens, but I think his heart was in the right place regarding civil rights.

    Why do you consider black athletes and hip hop stars to be exploited, and by whom?  Certainly the record companies and sports team owners make money from their efforts, but that is just how business works.

    Sadly, I think that this country is several generations from racial equality.  We are all products of what has occurred in the past and I think that, at this point, ending this grim cycle of poverty and hopelessness that so many black Americans are mired in will require lots of hard work and dedication from both the white and black people in this country.

    •  Thank you (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, 2thanks, kishik, oortdust
      Why do you consider black athletes and hip hop stars to be exploited, and by whom?  Certainly the record companies and sports team owners make money from their efforts, but that is just how business works.
      It is my contention that they aren't making the music they want to make. They're making the music they have to make. As referenced in one of my earlier post:
      Solomon Comissiong, in his article, Corporate Hip Hop, Corporate Media & Mainstream Black “Leadership,” states:
      Rich white men knew exactly what they were doing when they invested hundreds of millions of dollars into a cultural medium (hip hop) in which they did not give a damn about. They were primarily concerned with two things: money and stifling the progressive energy coming from Hip Hop music during the Golden Era of the genre (1986-1995/6). Hip Hop became another cash cow by which they could make billions from—all the while ensuring that only the most racist and deleterious images made their way to their mainstream airwaves. The last thing these white men wanted was to continue to let the radical, and much needed, political perspectives of black and brown rappers to be made popular.
      He goes on to add:
      Embracing your African and Latino roots became increasingly popular and was the antithesis of what much of white America wanted us to do. They wanted us to shed as much of our cultural identity as possible in exchange for the same European-American value system that was responsible for much of our oppression. Hip Hop music gave youth like me added energy, ideas, and confidence to combat this systematic oppression (psychological, economic, and physical) head on. Hip Hop was educating black and brown youth in a way that the flawed and Eurocentric modeled American school system was clearly not willing to do. Hip Hop music of the liberating ilk was, and still is, a natural enemy of white supremacy, capitalism, and injustice. This is why today’s most popular rappers and images of “hip hop” featured are eerily reminiscent of the minstrel shows of yesteryear. Having black men and women parade around mainstream airwaves as modern day sambos, mammies, jezebels, and social deviants, is what makes media corporations, like Viacom and Clear Channel, comfortable. These are the safe images of people of color that they wish to make most popular and therefore socially engineer how people think of black people and even how black youth think of themselves.
      Comissiong, Solomon (2010). Corporate Hip Hop, Corporate Media & Mainstream Black “Leadership,” Before It’s News, October 4, 2010. Retrieved from:

      It's a part of the job they have, and it appears to be necessary if they choose to live in the limelight. But they're being exploited. They are being told how to present their craft and if they don't do it the way they are told to do it, they won't make it. They are selling their souls.

      •  Do you think this is true (4+ / 0-)
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        Will Smith, 2thanks, kishik, cotterperson

        even for black performers successful enough to run their own production companies?

        •  It depends on what they feed off of. (6+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ozy, 2thanks, kishik, oortdust, cotterperson, a2nite

          No matter how much money you're making, you have to know when you're being exploitative, especially stereotypically in terms of your own people. And I can't imagine that one can act like the portrayed imagery of a hip hop "thug" (sorry to be stereotypical in my example, but I think it's necessary to make the point) and be successful in the business world. So if they are acting differently in the real world and that image is not who they portray or the artists they sign portray, it's exploitative and they have to know that. And the only way the music and the personas are going to change is maybe through the force of will of those black performers, even at the risk of not becoming a superstar. If they are truly in it for the art, then that's what they'll do. Unfortunately, growing up in extreme poverty may be all the motivation you need to sell your soul to the highest bidder. I hope that made sense.

      •  That reminds me of the early '70s, (5+ / 0-)

        when Willie Nelson got sick of the corporate crap in Nashville and moved back to Texas. He toured all over and gave exposure to other Texas singer-songwriters and "a whole other" musical subculture developed outward from Austin. It was central, had the state  university, and musicians toured out from there.

        Is there a place where Black musicians who want to do their own thing could have their own subculture? St. Louis had some of that when I was there. Certainly there's no shortage of musical talent in the world, and it doesn't have to go platinum to be important. It's good to have an escape from the dreadful corporate mold, and I suspect the greater freedom makes up for the smaller money (as long as it's enough).

        I hope that happens!

        "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

        by cotterperson on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 10:01:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The article you quote is interesting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Will Smith

        but I have difficulty accepting the premise.

        It weaves an insidious conspiracy where Hip Hop performers were forced into adopting negative images in exchange for their success, but the images were part of a scheme to undermine the legimitacy of black people as a whole.  

        Unless there is concrete evidence to support this conspiracy theory, I find it much more likely that the performers chose these images for themselves, and that the record companies did not discourage it because there was money to be made (the companies may even have encouraged it because there was money to be made).

        I don't think that the biggest music producers care about politics or undermining any race of people.  I think they only care about profit.  Additionally, there are black music producers whose Hip Hop artists adopt the same images.

        •  There is evidence (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, Will Smith

          Will Smith wrote about it in one of his recent diaries, posting the evidence.

          Here it is

          Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

          by moviemeister76 on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 10:48:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, Will Smith cited this reference in his reply (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Will Smith

            to my comment.  The reference makes a statement, but does not offer evidence.

            Can recorded conversations be produced, or e-mails that confirm the existence of this conspiracy?  Have any of the artists been quoted as having been told of this plot?  Are there whistleblowers from the recording industry who have records of this plan?  Additionally, what is the motivation of large multinational corporations in such a course of action, and who are they in collusion with?  

            The misogony, racist slurs, violent imagery, and obscenities in contemporary Hip Hop are offensive, but the "gangsta" image appeals to many young people, both black and white.  The recording industry is happy to jump on board to make money, but the idea that there is some sort of grand racist plan that guides the music industry is farfetched.

            Conspiracy theories are easy to invent, and as many come from the left as from the right.  People who agree with the point of view the theory supports are quick to believe.

            Ultimately however, it is counterproductive to believe in things that are not true.

            •  never forget... (0+ / 0-)
              “Doubling the conviction rate in this country would do more
              to cure crime in America than quadrupling the funds for
              [Hubert] Humphrey’s war on poverty.”
              –Richard Nixon, 38th President of the United States of America
              “[President Nixon] emphasized that you have to face the fact
              that the whole problem is really the blacks. The key is to
              devise a system that recognizes this while not appearing to.”
              –H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s Chief of Staff
              Both quotes from:
              Beckett, Katherine, & Sasson, Theodore (2004). Conservative agendas and campaigns: The rise of the modern “tough on crime” movement, the politics of injustice: Crime and punishment in America. Political Research Associates. Retrieved from:
              This is not a conspiracy theory. Please read this article on rapper Too Short:
              And watch these videos from hip hop veteran, record executive and former gangster rapper, Scarface:


      •  This is very true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson, Will Smith
        It is my contention that they aren't making the music they want to make. They're making the music they have to make.
        Many artists, hip hop, R&B, rock, pop of all races and cultures have complained of this.  The record companies decide who you are and how you should be "marketed".  If you disagree, then they will keep you on contract but not promote your music, not fund videos or tours, and you will rot away until your contract expires.  

        That is the "business", for everyone, black or white.

        Where it gets "racial" is that the powers that be have a certain image in mind that they think sells for black artists.  And unfortunately that image is not very flattering. But if you are an artist and you want to pay your rent, you play the "character" you are given, STFU and collect your check.

        I'll give you a recent example.  2 Chainz.  Hint: he is not really that character he plays in videos.

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