Saturday, June 28, 2008

John McWhorter Actually Has a Point



Hear John McWhorter on NPR, discussing the book All About the Beat: Why Hip-Hop Can't Save Black America.

I typically don't agree with John McWhorter, but on the issue of Hip Hop, I tend to agree with his position more than I disagree. 15-20 years ago, I would have probably been more resistant to his position. I once saw Hip Hop as something that had a lot of potential to be a vehicle for social change. That's not the case anymore. That fire fizzled out a long time ago. It has been replaced by something completely different.... something much more destructive than constructive.

I have become a little more Conservative as I have gotten older, and I can't stand anything about Rap music or Rap culture, particularly as it is packaged today. The problem for folks like John McWhorter, Bill Cosby, and Juan Williams is that Black folks are not very open to their message...often because of the messenger. Part of the reason has to do with the fact that a large number of Black folks are so brainwashed and indoctrinated into the Hip Hop lifestyle, and brainwashed by the Black establishment (Civil Rights Inc.) that they will never be open to the ideas of McWhorter or Cosby/Puissant. And so the message fades with the messenger.

This will ultimately be to the detriment of Black people, IMO.

10 comments:

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]I have become a little more Conservative as I have gotten older, and I can't stand anything about Rap music or Rap culture, particularly as it is packaged today. The problem for folks like John McWhorter, Bill Cosby, and Juan Williams is that Black folks are not very open to their message...often because of the messenger. Part of the reason has to do with the fact that a large number of Black folks are so brainwashed and indoctrinated into the Hip Hop lifestyle, and brainwashed by the Black establishment (Civil Rights Inc.) that they will never be open to the ideas of McWhorter or Cosby/Puissant. And so the message fades with the messenger.[/quote]

Angry Independent:

I am going to drop all previous assumptions that I have made about you in the past.

From now on - you have a 0 bias (liberal negative or conservative positive) in my book. I will now evaluate you on what I read from you in the future.

Please note one key point that I have come to understand:

IT AIN'T THE MESSENGER!!!
It is all about the MASSES and their CONSCIOUSNESS of the END GAME which they seek.

We as Black people get caught up on METHODOLOGY and thus we form our ideological factions and don't accomplish shyt in the end.

We need to mature CULTURALLY to a point where the GOALS are primarily focused upon and we accept or reject methodology based on it moving us CLOSER TO THE GOAL.

Anonymous said...

To constructive feedback:

Why is your blog so hard to access so we can read and critique your postings? Every time i turn around, I run into your protracted comments, and yet I can't gain access to your blog to read your postings.

Are you afraid of criticism?

Truthiz said...

I hear ya AI and I couldn’t agree more!

I come from a very musical family and, quite frankly, was born Addicted to music_Soul, R&B, contemporary Jazz, Funk, P-Funk, Classical (Yep, Beethoven et al) Afro-Caribbean and Black gospel genres__lol.

But just as you stated:

“I can't stand anything about Rap music or Rap culture, particularly as it is packaged today.”

And the notion that Hip-Hop could “save” Black America was always lost on me.

However, I will admit this....

After years of totally dismissing Rap and Hip-Hop, I stumbled onto the underground world of, “Soul Fusion”, 1 year ago, and discovered an incredible art-form that blends rap, hip-hop, soul, neo-soul, R&B, jazz, poetry or spoken-word, even gospel, with creatively Positive and emotionally and socially conscious, “messages”.

They’re mostly independent Unsigned artists (groups of very talented producers, musicians, vocalists and other artists).

Collaborations such as W. Ellington Felton, Eric Roberson, Raheem DeVaughn (or “Cronkite”), Bilal Silaam, Sy Smith, aka the group The Crossrhodes.

The list of names goes on and on!

It’s some of the most creative and incredible music I’ve ever heard, and my ears just eat it up _lol!

But back to your post:

I agree with McWhorter_Hip-Hop canNOT save Black-America.

btw: I've been a moderate Conservative most of my adult life and the truth is, even if I'd been a moderate-liberal, I still wouldn't have liked Rap!

Professor Tracey said...

Sorry AI, but McWhorter is completely bogus on hip hop. His argument is a complete straw man. He has never cared for hip hop, never. He was bashing hip hop even when it still had social and political movement value. He's just trying to sell books.

Who ever said it was hip hop's goal to save black America.? It's a musical genre at the end of the day. Did rock and roll have to save white America? It's a ridiculous discussion.

15-20 years ago hip hop was still isolated on the east coast and only celebrated by blacks, latinos, and a handful of whites. When hip hop became a commercial entity controlled primarily by whites it lost the majority of its social and political value.

What social and political anti-establishment movement works when the voices that are supposed to be protesting and leading are dependent on someone else for their livelihood?

The truth is black folks need to let go of hip hop and stop whining about it.

The first generation of hip hop fans and artists are in early to late 40s, where the hell are they as leaders in black America? Gangsta rap had nothing to do with them and certainly has little influence on their lives.

Where is the second generations of hip hop fans and artists in their mid to late 30? Gangsta rap had nothing to do with them either.

Hip Hop failed to make a significant impact because civil rights leadership failed to get out of the way when the first two generations of hip hop activists were young and full of passion and vigor.

Bill Clinton crushed Sister Souljah when she was just 22-24 years old and never looked back. She was a serious activist at Rutgers then, on the leading black female voices on the hip hop scene, on HIV/AIDS, on South Africa. Silenced! I find it interesting how people gloss over that.

Juan Williams helped destroy Sister Souljah and Public Enemy with his sand-bagging press articles, so I'm not sure why anyone would want to listen to him. He hated positive, afro-centric hip hop in the early 1990s.

When need to let go of this what if hip hop could have been stuff. It's late in the day.

Anonymous said...

Professor Tracy,

Sorry, but the love of the prison culture and excitement of street games killed that movement. The racist undercurrents of Sista Soulja killed her movement.

Ask Yvonne Bynoe to "get off of hip hop" and to treat it as 'just' a musical genre. She claims that hip hop is a viable voice of black america for politics and everything else. And ppl are listening.

Can you ignore the negative influences of hip hop on our youth who are raised w/ no supervision? Will you ignore that music, period has started revolutions? Will you ignore the findings of a BLACK COLLEGE who followed young black ladies for over a decade and clearly showed the ones who were exposed to "its just music" did much worse in school, showed a much higher rate of teen pregnancy and STD's?

Just music? Music stirs emotion, hate, love, and passion. Again, look throughout history, I think you'll find that music is much more powerful than you give it credit for. As intelligent as you are I can't believe you can take this stance.

Professor Tracey said...

"our youth who are raised w/ no supervision?"

Sounds more like the failure of parents to take responsibility than hip hop to me. Only black people blame music for it's universal failure to raise their own children!

"Ask Yvonne Bynoe to "get off of hip hop" and to treat it as 'just' a musical genre. She claims that hip hop is a viable voice of black america for politics and everything else. And ppl are listening."

What's wrong with that? If she can do something positive with hip hop, why should she stop? You sound worried that she might be successful.

"Will you ignore the findings of a BLACK COLLEGE who followed young black ladies for over a decade and clearly showed the ones who were exposed to "its just music" did much worse in school, showed a much higher rate of teen pregnancy and STD's?"

What study is that? And once again, maybe it's the failure of the black community to do sex education and to discuss sex with their children, which would change those problems. Only black people blame music for what they fail to take care of themselves.

I'm intelligent and responsible. I think we need to stop blaming a musical genre for stuff we have clearly dropped all responsibility for.

Anonymous said...

Sounds more like the failure of parents to take responsibility than hip hop to me. Only black people blame music for it's universal failure to raise their own children!

Wrong! Whites, for the most part won't let their children listen to that crap because they know, as most anyone who has training in behavioral therapy, that negative messages pounded in the head of the youth can lead to negative behavior. Especially when those children live in a void of any type of supervision. Is hip-ho the cause? Of course not. But the most popular crap is adding DYNAMITE to a fire that is already out of control. It just does it to a beat you can boogie to.

BTW, ever hear of rock n roll? Whites were in an uproar about that music and the effects it had on their children. No almost universally, black ppl are naive enough to believe that constant NEGATIVE information has NOTHING to do with NEGATIVE behavior.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with that? If she can do something positive with hip hop, why should she stop? You sound worried that she might be successful.

Because I believe that it hurts the very ppl. she claims to be bringing to the political process. It sounds like the ol' "you have to talk and act like them for them to trust you" bit. 'They can't speak the language so let's try Ebonics.' It further goes to isolate us IMO. And now, we're not talking just US politics but international politics. I love Talib Quali (sp) and I loved Marvin Gaye but I don't know if I'd vote for either one to be my ambassador to China.

What study is that? And once again, maybe it's the failure of the black community to do sex education and to discuss sex with their children, which would change those problems. Only black people blame music for what they fail to take care of themselves.

Angela Davis' daughter sited it on "Our World" a while back. And I answered your next question above I believe.

ruffian96 said...

No No No! It is unfair to expect Hip Hop to be a tool for cultural upliftment of an ethnic group rather than an art form. Older whites railed against early rock and roll but in a different context than older Blacks reacting to Hip Hop. Hip Hop is not even maximized as an art form. KRS-One and Rakim are not revered as Mick Jagger and John Lennon are. Classic positive Hip Hop albums have been forgotten. Hip Hop has a love of prison culture and materialism? That sentiment doesn't come from the heart of the true emcee, it comes from the record industry whose M.O. is if it's hot ride it until it breaks. There is a reason why many positive Hip Hop acts like Talib Kweli, Common, Dead Prez, The Roots, and Pharohe Monche are not well known to casual observers or promoted in the mainstream media. And can we get past charachter judgements based on external attributes like clothing or body stance. The real thugs were three piece suits nowadays.

Anonymous said...

To No No No:

The 3-Piece suite thugs are:
PDiddy
Jay-Z
Suge Night
Real thugs? Tell that to the Dawson family. A black family of 6 burned alive by a "secondary thug" who didn't like being asked not to sell drugs on her stoop.

I think it's a distinction w/o a difference. One props up this culture and profits from the violence in the streets. The other plays it's role by keeping our streets hot, our grandparents in fear which keeps these 3-piece thugs in money.

Funny, no one disputes the power of music to move a ppl. whether it's considered art by the establishment or not. But no one makes the connection to the effect that hip hop is having on our children?

All hip hop is bad? Come on, I'm not saying that. I love The Roots, grew up on Rakim. But the blame doesn't stop with '3-piece suite thugs'. They're culpable but they couldn't do it alone and I think you know that.