"I say nigga 100 times every morning; it keeps my teeth white.”—Paul Mooney, comedian

Did that get your attention? Do you think that was uncalled for how I got your attention? Did I shock you by that statement? Well, shit that's what a shock jock does, so while I don't necessarily agree with what spewed out of Don Imus' mouth, I don't think the man should lose his job over it. There…I said it, a young educated black man believes that Don Imus shouldn't be fired. Break out the pitchforks. Now that I got that out the way, let me stress the reason for this awakening from my writing slumber (you guys really think I'm all about playing videogames and big-butt beauties, don't you?). What has been disturbing me over the past week is how Imus' knock on the Rutgers' women's basketball team gives know-it-all whites and holier-than-though African-Americans—who not for nothing, grew up on misogynists and drug abusers like Rick James and James Brown and the cinematic stylings of Superfly—the reason to blame hip-hop for the shock jock's "shocking” comments. Oh, and while I'm in a bold mood, let me say this—Oprah is full of shit!

Throughout this past weekend, I've sat through talk shows and forums out the woodwork slamming this culture…my culture, that everyone thought wasn't going to last to begin with, blaming the lyrics that are used and the images shown on music videos and magazines like the one I work my ass off for (it isn't all sunshine and lollipops, I'll tell you) as the base for Imus' "nappy-headed ho's” crack. I listened to their points, but I didn't listen, because I chalked it up to them, as my man Huey from The Boondocks says, "being an irresponsible white person.” Basically, people who aren't hip to this game we call hip-hop—finding any reason to place the smoking gun in our hands because it's that time of the month to gang up on the leading force in black culture today (on second thought, let me say mainstream America because African-Americans aren't the only one buying these albums and running these labels). But what gained my attention was Oprah's two-day "forum” on the Don Imus situation…or as I now refer to it, now that it is over, Hip-Hop Bashing 101.

Hip-Hop Townhall Meeting on Oprah Part 1

Look, I understand everyone's gripe, and I do agree with some of the points made. The lyrics are too much at times and some of the videos really do exploit women as wanton ass shakers (more on that later), but how do you link "nappy-headed ho” to BET Uncut, I'm still scratching my head about. There is no correlation, bottom line! And for Ms. Winfrey, the most powerful and influential African-American individual—not woman, individual—in media today, to totally make a sham out of what essentially is a great idea is very disheartening and makes her no better than the left-wing, right-wing…whatever wing pundits blaming hip-hop for everything except 9/11 off of three friggin' words.

Hip-Hop Townhall Meeting On Oprah Part 2

Let's start off by the panel itself: One show had respected, and I stress respected—in my eyes, at least—journalist, writers and former editors of Essence Magazine (like, nobody saw the misogyny card was going to be pulled once they were introduced?). And on the second, a live feed from Spellman College with seven female students, (I'll get to this hypocrisy later) moderated by Oprah's bff Gayle King, while our voices are heard through Russell Simmons, Kevin Liles, Dr. Benjamin Chavis and Common. Common?????? All due respect to Common, I love his music and I respect him as a person and a dope MC, but to have a discussion about the ills of hip-hop and have the only, and I stress again, the only artist be Common is…well, ludicrous (ahem). The man hasn't uttered a succession of expletives since he dropped the "Sense” from his Can I Borrow A Dollar days. And unless Mr. Baaaaaaaaalliiiiiiiin himself Jim Jones is lurking in the back of The Mighty O's Chi-town studios, probably getting higher than your blood pressure, why is Dr. Chavis on the panel? So let me get this straight, on your first show you have seven journalists linking hip-hop to Imus. Then on the second you have four people representing us (really, one in my opinion…Kevin Liles held it down) while the same journalists are in the audience throwing their jabs in, all while you have seven female students trying to get their points across, once again throwing their jabs bashing hip-hop, and who do you have defend our cause? Is this total misrepresentation of our culture intentional? When you have a forum where, whether they're outted by their hypocrisy or vilified for the stance they take, the likes of Ludacris, 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Melyssa Ford, Buffie The Body, Jimmy Iovine and others are non-existent, a unbiased discussion is not what you will have. But, on Thursday's show Simon Cowell will stop by. Yeah…like that bloody blot never said a racist word in his life. C'mon O, I know you hate hip-hop (when you went on a NYC hip-hop station to say otherwise last summer I wasn't fooled), but give the so-called culprits who corrupt the children's minds a chance to defend or stand up for themselves. At least have the Rutgers' team on the show in place of the seven Spellman students, who I'm more than certain are snappin' their fingers and poppin', lockin' and droppin' to the same degrading songs they gripe about at a ATL club near you as I write…at least five out of the seven, anyway. They did say that they don't listen to hip-hop but they go to clubs and "everyone” calls them hoes. What's being played at these non hip-hop hot spots where the word "ho” is used so frequently? Elevator music?

Oprah Part 3

Let's get to the real issues, and believe me there are more than what I can write. Hip-hop isn't perfect—it isn't, but it's not the reason Imus called a b-ball team what he called them. America is a society where someone has to be blamed for something, by hook or crook, and unfortunately the same can be said ten-fold for how us as a people point fingers at one another. The solution is not to point fingers, it's to work together and find a solution. What's unfortunate, is after the worst tragedy on an institution of higher learning, the local news was reporting on the monster that took the 30-plus lives on Monday at Virginia Tech (God bless those souls lost and the families that are going through a trying time now. Our prayers are with you all), and mentioned the type of gun (trusty ol' glock 9) he used…sure enough they linked that to hip-hop as well. You can start by changing up the gun laws on that one, even though Moses himself, Charleston Hesston would have an aneurism if that were to happen. The family structure in an urban home is out of whack. Yeah, I'm hip-hop. I walk it, I talk it, but do you see me slangin' those purple tops in a project hallway in Flatbush? I don't think so; my momma would have a field day with the belt. I say that to say this, we need to clean what's at home first before we can clean anything else. And that's just one of our issues! Babies having babies, men either locked up or six feet, racism in our own community with officers of the law…these things don't provide a stable environment for any young impressionable mind. Where are the televised forums on that? That's why this upcoming generation turn to what they see on Rap City and hear on Hot 97 50 times a day (we'll save that rant for another day). But if you don't have that authority to tell that young mind that this is not what's right, or this is not what's real, what do you expect? And as for our history and our ancestry, which is littered with degradation from the time our lineage stepped on a boat westward bound, the hatred and racism that slave owners rained on them was passed down…and passed down…and passed down. I don't know if Imus is a bigot, and I don't care, but from listening to his show from time to time, I can tell you that nappy joke wouldn't even make it in the top 10 of racist comments and jokes he ever uttered on radio.

As my man D-Dub says, "we build our castles on sand and it's much easier to knock them down.” We need to stop going at one another and work together for one common goal. And for the umpteenth time, you don't have this type of roundtable discussion about the plight of the white man on Dr. Phil—considering they degrade their women worse than we do (Girls Gone Wild, anyone?). Hugh Hefner is considered a God—to blacks and whites—for basically showing a blonde's red-haired snatch every month in Playboy, but I get looked down upon is some circles because of my affiliation, as basically a smut peddler (I've been told this, so I'm not bullshitting). Hip-hop is trashed for the depiction of women, but Halle Berry wins an Oscar for basically getting her back blown out by a hillbilly and she's praised (and for those who actually watched the movie beyond that scene pay attention to Ms. Berry's performance. Sounds like the basic beginnings of a few strippers that we all know, doesn't it? And if the money is good, most dancers will dance in a video regardless of how they're perceived…hence "Tip Drill”). Hip-hop is the target for how African-American women are depicted and put on display on magazine covers. Tyra Banks was celebrated for being the first black model on the cover of Sports Illustrated, showing off what was once a heavenly body, rocking a skimpier two-piece than anything I can remember on the cover of KING. Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino are celebrated directors, but if you sit through any one of their films, you're sure to here more "nigga,” "bitch” and my personal fav, "whore” in a half hour than most of the artists' material that's put up on this crucifix. This is what I say to the Oprahs, the Spellmans, the journalists and the opportunists…er, activist (yeah, I'm talking to you Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson): unless we fix all the problems, that link to the lack of respect we presumably don't receive from other races, let alone the lack of self pride we as African-Americans have been dealing with lately, talking to hear yourselves talk and point fingers at one thing is a waste of our time. Since the problem is too daunting to fix (as many complain to), this debate will continue on. So, if you can't clean up the world, clean up your block by leading by example—for your peers and your offspring if anything. I know that's what I will do.

So please leave hip-hop alone. It's not perfect, like I said—and it damn sure isn't the Native Tongue mid-90s burgeoning sound that defines me and most of the staff of KING—but it's what defines the generation that I am a part of. If you come down on it, you're coming down on me. And not for nothing, considering that hip-hop has become watered down and, at times, down right niggerish, it's all we have left. But that's another discussion for another time…that obviously some aren't ready for.

Hip-Hop Townhall Meeting on Oprah Part 4