Saturday, November 26, 2005

A misleading image of men in rap

It was the 1st Black Fatherhood Summit; the place was Harlem, New York. There were crucial issues to be tackled, but look what dominated the discussions during the summit:

Yes, fatherhood is hard. After years of neglect, the problem of "father absence" began to attract attention in the early 1990s, with the founding of national organizations like Promise Keepers and the National Fatherhood Initiative. A growing number of grass-roots African-American groups like Mr. Phillips's Real Dads Network provide moral and practical support. The current Real Dads newsletter contains brief, informative articles on "Improving Your Credit Score," "When She Makes More Money" and "Things to Remember When You Are Stopped [by the police]." Yet these subjects were not discussed at the summit. Instead, the conversation kept returning to the depiction of black men in rap.

First, the panelists expressed dismay at the way commercially successful rappers like 50 Cent, the Game, Snoop Doggy Dogg, and Nelly depict young black men. In countless song lyrics and videos, young men are either embittered losers despairing on the street corner (or cell block), or extravagant winners disporting themselves in surreal mansions or tropical paradises, amid harems of sexy, available and highly disposable young women. Some songs and videos are more offensive than others, but all reduce manhood to the pursuit of cash, followed by sex, in a world that requires no responsibility of any kind, least of all that of fatherhood.

Read the whole article at OpinionJournal

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