Calling out “hip-hop mogul” Russell Simmons

Last night, I blogged about a rap music ‘summit’ that was organized in the aftermath of the Don Imus “nappy headed hos” controversy, a summit that was more a dog and pony show than a conference of leaders in the rap and music community who wanted to get together to do something meaningful in response to the heavy criticism rap music has come under in the last couple of weeks. In that post, I noted how Simmons wanted to shift the blame for rap’s negative influence on kids to the ‘conditions’ that supposedly ’cause’ the rappers to rap what they do.

I’m bringing this up again today in order to shine the spotlight even brighter on those BS claims from Simmons, for reasons I’ll get to in just a minute. First, from Simmons (emphasis added):

“We’re talking about a lot of these artists who come from the most extreme cases of poverty and ignorance … And when they write a song, and they write it from their heart, and they’re not educated, and they don’t believe there’s opportunity, they have a right, they have a right to say what’s on their mind” he said.

“Whether it’s our sexism, our racism, our homophobia or our violence, the hip-hop community sometimes can be a good mirror of our dirt and sometimes the dirt that we try to cover up” Simmons said. “Pointing at the conditions that create these words from the rappers … should be our No. 1 concern.”

I’d like Simmons, and other “hip-hop moguls” like him who have become famous and gotten rich off of a type of music that glorifies cop killling and violence against women to read the following from popular rapper “Cam’ron” and tell me exactly where the ‘civic duty’ aspect of ‘preaching about life on the streets’ – as Simmons implies rappers are doing – is in what he’s saying (emphasis added):

Rap star Cam’ron says there’s no situation — including a serial killer living next door — that would cause him to help police in any way, because to do so would hurt his music sales and violate his “code of ethics.” Cam’ron, whose real name is Cameron Giles, talks to Anderson Cooper for a report on how the hip-hop culture’s message to shun the police has undermined efforts to solve murders across the country. Cooper’s report will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, April 22 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

“If I knew the serial killer was living next door to me?” Giles responds to a hypothetical question posed by Cooper. “I wouldn’t call and tell anybody on him — but I’d probably move,” says Giles. “But I’m not going to call and be like, ‘The serial killer’s in 4E.’ ” ( For an excerpt of Giles’ interview, click here)

Giles’ “code of ethics” also extends to crimes committed against him. After being shot and wounded by gunmen, Giles refused to cooperate with police. Why? “Because…it would definitely hurt my business, and the way I was raised, I just don’t do that,” says Giles. Pressed by Cooper, who says had he been the victim, he would want his attacker to be caught, Giles explains further: “But then again, you’re not going to be on the stage tonight in the middle of, say, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, with people with gold and platinum teeth and dreadlocks jumping up and down singing your songs, either,” says Giles. “We’re in two different lines of business.”

“So for you, it’s really about business?” Cooper asks.

“It’s about business,” Giles says, “but it’s still also a code of ethics.”

Rappers appear to be concerned about damaging what’s known as their “street credibility,” says Geoffrey Canada, an anti-violence advocate and educator from New York City’s Harlem neighborhood. “It’s one of those things that sells music and no one really quite understands why,” says Canada. Their fans look up to artists if they come from the “meanest streets of the urban ghetto,” he tells Cooper. For that reason, Canada says, they do not cooperate with the police.

Canada says in the poor New York City neighborhood he grew up in, only the criminals didn’t talk to the police, but within today’s hip-hop culture, that’s changed. “It is now a cultural norm that is being preached in poor communities….It’s like you can’t be a black person if you have a set of values that say ‘I will not watch a crime happen in my community without getting involved to stop it,'” Canada tells Cooper.

Young people from some of New York’s toughest neighborhoods echo Canada’s assessment, calling the message not to help police “the rules” and helping the police “a crime” in their neighborhoods. These “rules” are contributing to a much lower percentage of arrests in homicide cases — a statistic known as the “clearance rate” — in largely poor, minority neighborhoods throughout the country, according to Prof. David Kennedy of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “I work in communities where the clearance rate for homicides has gone into the single digits,” says Kennedy. The national rate for homicide clearance is 60 percent. “In these neighborhoods, we are on the verge of — or maybe we have already lost — the rule of law,” he tells Cooper.

Says Canada, “It’s like we’re saying to the criminals, ‘You can have our community….Do anything you want and we will either deal with it ourselves or we’ll simply ignore it.’ “

Or make money off of it, which is what rappers like “Cam’ron” do.

So, Mr. Simmons, I ask again: What’s that civic duty you were implying rappers were doing by ‘telling it like it is about life on the streets’? Answer: They aren’t performing any civic duty. **They are profiting** off the misery, poverty, fear, misogyny, lack of respect for authority, and violence that infests the poorer segments of the black community. It’s a “BUSINESS.” Keeping young black men and women angry is a moneymaker for them, and these banes on an emotionally healthy and stable society don’t want to see them succeed.

The rappers who do this rank among the worst forms of human life out there because they are riding around in their fancy cars, wearing their expensive chains (not just on their necks and fingers, but on their teeth), with 20 women (or men, as there are plenty of female rappers, too) on each arm, preaching about the ‘oppressiveness’ of the white man and authority figures in general and glorifying a criminal lifestyle that will NOT lift up their fellow brothers and sisters out of a life of poverty but instead encourage them to wallow in it. And why shouldn’t they? If they’re told there’s no hope for the black man to be successful in a “white man’s world,” some of them are going to grow up believing it. If they’re told not to respect authority, again, some of them are going to grow up in trouble at school or in jail. Teach them that the only way they can ‘succeed’ is to do so within the poorer segments of the black community, and you limit their opportunities and choices to little more than crime and/or living on the public dole. Where is the ‘civic duty’ in that? Where is the uplifting your brother and sister in giving them so few alternatives other than a life of poverty and/or crime, and in some cases, death by drugs or being murdered? Oh, and what about that “code of ethics” “Cam’ron” talked about? It’s more like a commode of ethics.

And isn’t it especially ironic that the same people who claim there ‘is no opportunity’ for black people are the same people who have created an ‘opportunity’ to get rich based on playing to the fears of the people who buy their ‘music’ in the first place?

Here’s a newsflash for sell-outs like Simmons and others like him: black people today are lawyers, doctors, politicians, CEOs, talk show hosts, Oscar winners, sports champions … whatever they want to be. Black people in poor communities are no different from white people in poor communities: all it takes for them get started down that road to the American dream is having the faith in themselves to believe that they can achieve it, and that faith needs to be nurtured and reinforced all around them – by friends, family, teachers, and their culture. Rappers like “Cam’ron” don’t nurture that faith, they try to rip it out of the kids and young people who listen to their music. Because if more and more black people from poor communities become successful, that would mean that less of them would want to listen to the pure filth that so many rappers propagate. And that would also mean that the rappers would have less ‘victims’ to exploit, and therefore less $$$ in their pockets.

They know where their bread is buttered: from the backs of the same people they claim to want to “help.” What a freaking crock.

Hat tip for the Cam’ron link: Bryan at Hot Air, in a post about another popular rapper who simulated sex onstage with an underage girl – while the crowd cheered – because he thought it was ‘cool’:

(Warning: Not safe for kids to see)

Don Imus gets fired for calling the Rutgers women’s basketball team “nappy headed hos”, everyone gets ‘outraged’ by it and demands apologies and heads on platters, while rapper “Akon” simulates bruising, brutal sex on stage with an underage girl, tosses her away like a rag doll, and is laughing all the way to the bank – and no one cares, especially not Russell Simmons.

WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE? Jesse Jackson? Al Sharpton?

More: Jason Whitlock gets to the heart of the matter – once again:

The idiots are running the world now, and they’re telling our kids to sell crack and shoot each other over the slightest disrespect. We’ve even dressed the idiots up and passed them off as respectable, influential members of society. Snoop Dogg is as mainstream as apple pie.

Any intelligent person who thinks today’s pop culture is as harmless as yesterday’s hasn’t raised a child, or he has a financial stake in the continuation of the cultural genocide.

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