The Other “M” Word
A pimp couldn't have been happier when UGK's video for "International Players Anthem" featuring OutKast went out to the Internet some weeks ago. It had been years since I watched a music video in its entirety, and an even longer time since I had seen a video I actually had to tell everyone about. Shit, even the team over at KING couldn't stop watching and talking about the Bryan Barber-directed masterpiece. That video is waaaayyyy better than Idlewild.
Since then, I have searched high and low for the video on television. Admittedly, the task is a little more difficult for me because my cable provider isn't smart enough to get MTV Jams nor VH1 Soul, and since I work the kind of hours that keep me in the office long after BET's 106 & Park, and MTV's Direct Effect have aired, I can only hope to catch the video in the mornings when MTV, Vh1, and MTV2 are doing their music video blocks. The other thing about their morning progamming is the videos they usually play at this time feature the most popular artists playing their latest songs. Now, when I saw the video for UGK and OutKast, I definitely was under the impression "International Players Anthem" would be one of them.
Unfortunately, that dog didn't hunt.
Due to the above mentioned dilemma, please take this observation I spew to be very general. I'm not the type to spend my days watching music videos, though some would think that's a requirement working at KING, so I'm hardly an authority on any of the latest countdowns, but it seems to me the UGK/OutKast video is not getting the shine it deserves because the video actually portrays the beauty of our people rather than the ugly of our people. Not only does it portray the beauty of our people, it also portrays one of the holiest, important acts two human beings can partake in - the wedding. So, you would think this video is deserving of the red carpet treatment and be in constant rotation, right? Especially after all the recent scrutiny surrounding the imagery of our people in music videos, right?
You're dead wrong and this is disturbing for two reasons:
1) It's bad enough (but not necessarily shocking) I can't hear this great song on the radio up here in New York. And please, for those who live in the rest of the country, spare me the whole New York radio never plays southern rap. They do. If your name is T.I. and Yung Joc.
2) I can't say there's an agenda against UGK, the smaller of the two groups featured in the video. For five days in a row last week, I saw Bun B on MTV's morning block of videos, but of course, it wasn't for "International Players Anthem". It was his guest appearance on the video for Mike Jones' "My '64" also featuring Snoop. Trust me when I say, last week I could've set my watch to that video.
So what really gives with the seemingly overt neglect of the best hip-hop video since I can't even recall? Well, I'll tell you my theory:
To the bosses who run what you see on TV and hear on radio, the idea of a black wedding doesn't sell to the lowest common denominator. Forget age, few people under the age demographic of 106 and Direct Effect were barely alive when UGK dropped their first album, but that isn't why the video isn't getting any burn. The reason is class. In some cases, the packaging and selling of rap music isn't done by age group, it's done by class group. To many marketers and programmers the thought process of a poor black person, male or female, has been stunted since they turned 18, and once they get that job at UPS, it's a wrap. They believe we'll always listen to the next hot shit, because who in the 'hood doesn't want the next hot shit, so why bother giving them a video with two "throwback groups" at a wedding? Neither the group nor getting married is hot to the class of people who actually love rap music. Don't get mad at me, this is what I'm getting from their actions.
"Who in the 'hood gets married?" is what they're wondering out loud. To them, seeing black people get married or married died out with The Cosby Show, which is why you can only see Tyler Perry's latest show, House of Payne, on TBS, a station no one watches. Shit, the only time I watch TBS is when I'm looking for Saved By The Bell re-runs.
So there you have it folks. Unless you have a high-speed internet connection and click here or go to a site like onsmash.com, you're not really going to see the holy matrimony of a black man and woman (albeit they're actors) on television anytime soon, because at the end of the day, black people don't get married. They just roll around in hot cars all day and party like some rockstars.