Dear Black people, what has rap music done for you lately?
Do you feel empowered or encouraged when you hear it? Do these songs represent your world? Or do they glorify the world around you—one crippled by the evils of gun violence, drug abuse and blatant misogyny? Aren’t you more than these things?
I need help understanding how Colin Kaepernick can justify kneeling during the national anthem, yet he proudly endorses a brand created by a man who was once charged with domestic abuse, and who was part of a rap group that encouraged hatred for police (i.e. Dr. Dre).
I need help understanding the logic behind refusing to stand for a patriotic song representing your nation.
I also need help grasping the rationale behind someone who denounces the “Star Spangled Banner,” but can’t see the hypocrisy in going to a night club and singing along to crude rap lyrics.
Yes, I’m aware of the vague references to slavery embedded in the national anthem. However, I’m equally aware of the references to murder, prostitution and dope-dealing embedded in most rap songs of this era.
I’m also aware of the psychological impact of rap music, and how overexposure to these lyrics can sometimes trigger portions of the brain that cause violent and disruptive behavior.
Violent song lyrics increase negative emotions and thoughts that can lead to aggression, according to a study published in a 2003 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Researchers from Iowa State University and the Texas Department of Human Services found that aggressive music lyrics increase aggressive thoughts and feelings, which might perpetuate aggressive behavior and have long-term effects, such as influencing listeners’ perceptions of society and contributing to the development of aggressive personalities.
I’m also aware of the effect that rap music imposes on a young girl’s subconscious when the lyrics of a song tell her that she’s worth nothing more than a one-night stand.
I’m aware of how dumb I feel after exposing myself to a full three minutes of broken English and crude ideologies.
I’m aware that rap music often promotes harsh violence, misogyny, and criminal behavior.
So what’s the difference (I must know)? Why do Black people condemn the national anthem, but gather and party to music that promotes the genocide of their own people? That’s utterly stupid.
As a Black man, should I be less offended by the violent, misogynistic undertones of rap music? What makes the crudity of this genre permissible, while the national anthem sparks controversy every time it’s played? Does that make sense at all?
Considering the outbreak of terrorist attacks that have occurred overseas recently, I’m relieved to be a citizen the United States of America.
This country provides a sense of security and protection that other nations can’t. I don’t wake up in the morning worried about a missile being dropped on my home.
I don’t have to be concerned about the women in my family being stoned to death by a group of orthodox Muslims.
I can walk into my local grocery store and buy food, while thousands of people in Third World countries aren’t even sure where their next meal will come from.
That’s why I stand for the national anthem – because I’d rather be a U.S. citizen than a resident of North Korea.
I once asked an ex-girlfriend why she doesn’t stand for the national anthem? She said, “Because America treats Black people like second-class citizens.”
While I concentrated to keep my eyes from glazing over, she turned up her car radio and flipped on Pandora.
“B—-, shake the monkey,” blasted from the speakers. She reacted gleefully. I watched in disbelief, wanting desperately to jump out of the car.
Against my better judgment, I asked: “What makes this song any less offensive than the national anthem? You are a woman—and he’s [the rapper] marginalizing your gender. That doesn’t bother you?”
“He’s not speaking directly to me,” she rebutted. “I just like [the] melody.”
I briefly thought about lecturing her on the hypocrisy of downplaying rap music’s vulgarity while denigrating the “Star Spangled Banner.”
But I just sat and watched the other cars roll past, choking back vomit.
Her words still reverberate in my mind. But she’s not alone—apparently idiocy is becoming a Black thing.