Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
by Dr. Boyce Watkins
Russell Simmons is a brilliant man, a jack of all hip-hop trades. He has leaped tall piles of money in a single bound, doing yoga one minute and rolling with Young Jeezy the next. There is part of me that respects Russell to the core, when I see him exert the kind of brilliance that could make a gangsta blush, but when I see Russell hawking problematic lending products and justifying straight up buffoonery, I want to jump out a window.
Simmons, the Godfather of hip-hop, was called to comment about the vicious beating that the rapper Lil Reese laid out on a young girl a couple of years ago. The video was plastered on Youtube and featured the artist punching the girl repeatedly with the kind of redundant one-two combination that reminds you of old Muhammad Ali training videos. The artist was using the poor girl’s face as a punching bag, and it’s hard to watch the video without being flat out mortified.
Simmons noted, quite accurately, that Reese’s actions were not acceptable, and neither was his pathetic apology. But Ebony.com relationship expert Sil lai Abrams took things a step further by noting that Simmons could easily be called a hypocrite on matters of domestic violence and misogyny. Simmons is one of the leading pioneers in much of the toxic, weaponized brainwashing being played on our radios every single day. Thanks to Russell and others who profit from selling black men a blue print to their own self-destruction, many of our kids don’t know the difference between a lady and a hoe, using the terms interchangeably.
In her article about the Lil Reese/Simmons incident, Abrams says that Russell needs to make his actions consistent with his words and not take the Mitt Romney approach to dealing with crises like this one.
“As the co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, Russell played a large role in the promotion of misogynistic and sexist music and videos that have helped shape many young rappers such as Lil Reese’s contempt for women. Yes, Def Jam had conscious and proud rap group Public Enemy on its’ roster…but it also had Bytches with Problems, Foxy Brown and post-Russell leadership (and co-distributed by Jive) the pied piper and golden shower lover of young girls, R. Kelly.”
Abrams continues to speak on how Simmons has spoken out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to hip-hop, earning a profit from the very worst of what we are, while simultaneously claiming to push us to be our best. To some extent, Simmons is trapped by the duel realities of hardcore capitalism: When you worship money as your Lord and savior, you find that the drug of money makes you do things that are deeply inconsistent with the fabric of your humanity.
I hope Russell can find peace with himself, while understanding just how deeply he and other hip-hop corporate captains have distorted the perspective of African American youth. We have far more kids headed to the club than to the library, more black men getting s**t than ever before, and the disrespect for women is so blatant that even women themselves are defending it. Welcome to Black America, 2012: Where brothers and sisters have happily transformed themselves into “n*ggas and b*tches,” and self-respect is a thing of the past.
Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. He is also the creator of the Building Outstanding Men and Boys Family Empowerment Series. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.