Monday, June 14, 2021

Rapper Jay Z Grow Up Please!!

October 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Some would say the recent altercation at the BET Hip-Hop Awards was just the latest embarrassment to befall hip-hop, an oft criticized slice of pop culture…and they would be correct.  It’s the “latest” incident, not an aberration.  It’s more behavior deserving of more criticism, only to fall on deaf ears.  It is criticism earned and deserved every step of the way.  Hip-hop has no intention of changing or improving, and its most respected members have no designs on raising the bar above ignorance.  I’m clear on this reality and you should be too.  Nothing is going to change, not at least until someone of real relevance within the genre begins to care, and not a moment before.

This isn’t the first brawl or violent foolishness connected to a hip-hop awards show, and it’s sad having to acknowledge such truths with each subsequent incident.  There was the gunshot into the ceiling during the 1994 Source Awards and the murder of Notorious B.I.G. in 1997 shortly after the Soul Train Music Awards.  We can’t forget the all-out melee at the 2000 Source Awards and Eminem’s tussle at the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards.  Surely you remember when rapper Young Buck allegedly stabbed a “fan” at the 2004 Vibe Music Awards.

(Cue Barbra Streisand) “Memories…like the corners of my mind.”

Those are only the award show-related incidents.  There is not enough space in this column (or my next 5 for that matter) to highlight the inordinate number of arrests for guns, drugs and random acts of misogyny commonly associated with hip-hop in the past five years alone.  For example, I’m not going to spend my time today discussing how rapper Webbie was arrested last month for “allegedly” robbing and kicking a woman down a flight of stairs.  I could…but not this time.  Today, we’ll just stick with the general themes of lawlessness, misogyny and ignorance; not necessarily in that order.

Recently, civil rights leader and entertainer Harry Belafonte accused some artists, including Jay-Z and Beyonce of “turning their backs on social responsibility.”  It’s in moments like these where Belafonte’s words ring loudly  and undeniably true.

For the all the financial success attained by Rapper Jay-Z, there has been no effort on his part to elevate his music personally or hip-hop more broadly.  Although “Jigga” is firmly ensconced in middle age, he still gleefully and carelessly advances his music career calling women Bs and Hs; and men Ns like his 20-something counterparts.  Not only is Rapper Jay-Z completely indifferent to the idea of acting his age and showing young Black men a better way; he is perfectly content and comfortable promulgating the worst imagery imaginable for the sake of a dollar and continued hip-hop relevancy.

It’s a mid-life crisis with a hip-hop twist.

Instead of being a voice of guidance, a  hip-hop elder statesman to the younger generation; Rapper Jay-Z still opts to spin yarns about N**** in Paris and sell them on iTunes.  You’re 40-WHAT Jay-Z?  No amount of wealth will ever validate or justify such a career trajectory.  No number of “hits” justifies the Peter Pan mentality or the ignorance and indifference which subsequently thrive on it.

But if Gwyneth Paltrow dares tweet the name of the song or makes direct reference to it, all hell breaks loose.  I guess only “we” are allowed to wallow in ignorance and we’re very territorial when it comes to it.  Bully for us.  Rapper Jay-Z can rap it and make money doing it, but the White actress shouldn’t even tweet a reference to the title of the song.  Got it.  That’s ignorance on top of ignorance.  It’s not popular to say, but it’s not untrue either.

But I digress…

Hip-hop has abrogated any and all responsibility as it relates to decency and accountability time and time again.  Brawls at award shows have all types of deleterious consequences for all Black men.  If you think such public displays of foolishness don’t impact the treatment of Black men around the country, you are a fool.  Racial profiling is real and there are laws against it to prove as much.  Racial bias is real.  And to think, hip-hop had plenty to say about the Trayvon Martin tragedy, but fails to make the connection between racial profiling and racial stereotype promulgation. Stop making these problems worse.

I know, I know, somebody will be quick to tell me about the singular and rare hip-hop artist “here” or “there” who doesn’t subscribe to the ignorance and foolishness; but let us deal with the overwhelming bulk of the art form.  Let’s deal with 99 percent as they say in this political season; 99 percent which offer nothing of substance or intrinsic social value.

So imagine my (and probably Harry Belafonte’s) indifference to Rapper Jay-Z and Beyonce hosting a fundraiser for President Obama in recent weeks.  The reality is that Jay-Z prefers rubbing elbows with the cultural elite and raising money for the president while ignoring the communities he could positively impact for free.  But “promoting positive change” is so uncool and so unprofitable, I suppose.  It is in moments like these that Jay-Z (and others) could provide real leadership and direction for a generation of young Black men who obviously have lost their way.  This is the type of commitment and dedication to social responsibility that Belafonte is longing for yet is nonexistent in hip-hop.  The ignorance of the BET Hip-Hop Awards altercation is covered in the media, highlighted on the blogs and cheered on within our culture.

And…and…most importantly used as further “proof” of the incivility and criminality of Black men.

We are all connected.  If we can agree that the election of Barack Obama as president positively impacted the perception of African-American men, what do negative incidents such as these do for us?

I’ll tell you, not a damn thing, with all types of long-term consequences.

There are too many in our music communities perpetuating the myth that such behavior does not have repercussions or consequences on the rest of us.  I’m here to disabuse you of that notion.  It is why people like broadcaster Geraldo Rivera feel so comfortable conflating Blackness and hoodies with criminality.  Granted, Rivera’s ignorance can’t be justified, but neither can the ignorance of the likes of award show brawls which inform and undergird such opinions.  Lil Wayne acting a buffoon while wearing a hoodie for a courtroom deposition hurts all of us.

[youtube RImN4JXFAm8]

It wasn’t funny, it wasn’t cool, it was embarrassing and impacts all African-American males.

All of us.

Racism and ignorance are inextricably linked.  Hip-hop does not get to complain about stereotypes while simultaneously promoting them.

The foolishness has to stop.

Someone within the hip-hop community has to be bold enough to step forward and condemn the ignorance within the genre with the exact same enthusiasm we tend to condemn racism outside of it.  I don’t need Jay-Z and others “playing” political operative a five days out of the year and calling me “N****” all the rest.

I need him to effectively use his power and influence and step into the moment.  It doesn’t require any money, it just requires him to care.  It is the socially responsible thing to do.  Unfortunately, judging by Rapper Jay-Z’s discography, it is clear he doesn’t care now and never will.  He’s just not interested.  Not even a little bit. Miss Social Responsibility, “he’s just not that into you.”

And neither is Russell Simmons for that matter.

The violence must stop.  The misogyny must stop.  The brawls at award shows must stop.  The promotion of the drug culture must stop.  If this message angers hip-hop enthusiasts out there… fine.  Call me all the names you wish…but you won’t be calling me “wrong.”  Of that I’m sure.  Somebody out there has to care enough to say it, albeit unpopular in nature it may be.  The right thing to say and do aren’t often popular in nature.  But my compass of right and wrong is neither calibrated by purchasing patterns of adolescents nor impacted by the desire to remain relevant in “the streets.”

I answer to a higher power.

What saddens me the most is that Jay-Z, the former drug dealer with a mother, daughter, two sisters and most importantly the means in which to send hip-hop in an altogether different direction still celebrates the very worst of the African-American culture to make a buck.  There is “doing nothing” and there is “perpetuating the problem.”  I dislike the former and detest the latter.

We in the African-American community can no longer complain about stereotypes being used against us while simultaneously giving tacit approval to hip-hop’s promotion of them.  There is no excuse, so stop offering them.  It’s time to stop forwarding the lie that re-electing President Obama is of greater importance to our community than intelligently using the influence we already exert over our own communities.  These issues pre-date President Obama and will exist long after he leaves office, be it in 2012 or 2016.  The only way they can be addressed is when we decide to put an end to the ignorance once and for all.

Staff Writer; Morris O’Kelly

To read more of this brother stuff, head over to; The Mo’Kelly Report.



68 Responses to “Rapper Jay Z Grow Up Please!!”
  1. Aenschlen Mingia says:

    I want to know about JZ and Beyoncés money spending habits. Not about her handing out school bags, R they too young to know to spend their money on more valuable causes. Send millions to alleviate River Blindness, Spend millions on dozens of homes for mothers and children to live with water,elec, gas. Build an organization that houses young women so they don’t have to live on the street. Create a world wide business that can create jobs for men. Send 1000 young people to college. Then you can talk about legacy. Her opening her long beautiful legs, and him singing about having sex while using his wife to promote this crack, is wack. I know I know I’m old and I’m grateful I am. jz is ruthless and small minded, as is she. Maybe with age thank goodness for age they will Grow. Im going to go turn on my music and listen to Nina and Miriam.

  2. dazz says:

    mike williams is a funny guy, and keeps the sad reality alive in america that the self imposed mis-education of a negro still exists, even under the guise of individual sucess that a majority of black america whorships in the 21st century.

  3. TK McEachin says:

    Excellent piece! This is very well written & it’s just the truth. I have linked this to my blog & shared on social media last year & recently shared this again.

  4. Ramses says:

    People give too many celebrities to much of their time every article I see on this site is either about jay z or beyonce!!! These people occupy your orbit too much. Who cares about them damn dummies. Both of them are wack and weak and it’s entertainment. Rappers are not changing the world. WHen Pac was here you’ll wasn’t trying to implement he was talking about. He was spreading messages in a direct way did you change? No!!! Lauryn Hill gave you consciousness did you change? No!!! Stop putting the responsibility of collectivism on some dumb asses whose job is to entertain you. It’s business. You’ll give musicians too much power over your spirits’. Grow up seriously.

  5. Tiffany says:

    It’s just music we been called worst than that i would rather be my name but whatever makes ur boat floats let the man make his money it called if it don’t apply let it fly people of the world need to learn how to worry about themselves and not what the other one is doing or saying it will make they life much easier. u calling jz out what about u what’s in ur closet i don’t listen to hip hop but i support all black men that don’t have they hand out and is handing out it let’s our children no its a better way do u go day z keep doing u and ur family we stand behind u

  6. Marlin Conwell says:

    I just feel that tageting Jay z is wrong ….Jaz makes alot of music that does have deep meaning… to judge Jay z because he uses the N word.. freely… I do not agree …. Maybe You should listen a little deeper…The song,Minority Report Jay says,”The damage here along the gulf coast is catastrophic.
    There’s a frantic effort under way tonight to find
    survivors. There are an uncounted number of the dead tonight…
    People are being forced to live like animals…
    We are desperate…
    No one says the federal government is doing a good job..
    And hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people…
    No water, I fought my country for years..
    We need help, we really need help..
    In Baghdad, they they drop, they air drop water, food to people..why cant they do that to their own people?
    The same idiots that can’t get water into a major American city in less than three days are trying to
    win a war… He s refering to the Government not responding to huricane Katrina….or The song Murder to Excellence.. Jay says This is to the memory of Danroy Henry
    Too much enemy fire to catch a friendly
    Strays from the same shade nigga, we on the same team
    Giving you respect, I expect the same thing
    All-black everything, nigga you know my fresh code
    I’m out here fighting for you, don’t increase my stressload!
    Niggas watching the throne, very happy to be you
    Power to the people, when you see me, see you.. DO u kno who Danroy Henry is? Goggle him … SO i really think u should not judge ..Whats on the surface .. People have many layers.. I appreciate that Jay is conscious of whats going around him … but not consumed by it..

  7. James Wilson says:

    When you talk to these guys, the ones that seem to have some sense, you realize right away that they can’t stay relevant unless they have ignorant peers. Its kind of like a chain letter mentality.

    Their ambition is not a collective journey for a promised land as it was during the civil rights era, it has become an individual competition between black people for the chase of the American dream that can’t be realized individually.

    Lois Benjamin wrote a book called the black elite, a recommended read.

    To sum this up: Today we have the first black president, the most powerful man in government across the globe, who can’t openly address the plight of black people in America for fear of some kind of backlash. When the HNIC cant or won’t indulge black people (Targeted) because so much despair is black affect in particular America has not come far enough to erase the color line, and much of what we see in Hip Hop is self hate.

  8. Mike Williams says:

    @ H. Lewis Smith

    Of course its not huge group successes such as the sixties because we have already came so far. We do not get the resistance like we got in the sixties. So its no need to group together on a grand scale as in the sixties. Nowadays we unite through more subtles ways. The only resistance we get now to better ourselves are from people like you. But one huge way we united recently is going to the polls to help vote in a black president. Where is this regression you speak of??? There are more black businesses opening now more than ever. This is because people see Russell Simmons, Jayz, Diddy, Kenneth C. Frazier, Roger W. Ferguson Jr.,Kenneth Chenault, Don Thompson, Ursula M. Burns, Clarence Otis Jr. But not just huge self made millionares and Fortune 500 CEO’S such as these. There are also many self employed black business owners who make a living and hire mostly black employees such as myself. This is how we unite in more subtle ways. So Again I say, the rest of us are already UNITING!!! You are the one who needs to catch up!!! How old are you again??? You never answered that???

  9. Mike Williams,

    Thank you for confirming the obvious. You were unable to list any GROUP accomplishments since the 60s because there haven’t been any. In spite of the successes of some rappers, what they bring to the table is a Mike Williams mentality. Such a parochial, ingenious, uncouth mentality serves as a genuine threat to the continual neutralization of Black America. Instead of Black America ascending as a group to greater heights the Mike Williams syndrome mentality assures and reaffirms a process of retrogressing.

    In other words Black America is paying a very dear price for the shenanigans and monitary successes of a Lil Wayne, Jay Z, Kanye West, Russell Simmons etc. whom all possess a Mike Williams mentality inspite of their monetary successes.

  10. Mike Williams says:

    * Don’t let the “N” hold you back any longer!!

  11. Mike Williams says:

    H. Lewis Smith,

    Just to elaborate on my previous response to you on things being better for black people:

    How old are you? You have to be really young. How do you think you got all the privileges now that you now enjoy. It’s black people uniting in the fifties and sixties. What do you think all the Marches and Sit-ins were about??? Thats called black people uniting. Black businesses and black churches were being burned down. How many black businesses are burned down today? How many restaurants do you have to enter through a separate door or drink from a different water fountain. How many times are you called nigger a day now in a derogatory way? Black people united to help get Obama voted in along with white people. Black people who never cared about voting went and voted and will this November too. I was not in the sixties but my parents have told me about the sixties. Im 41 now and I did go through the eighties as a teen. The KKK was still prevalent in the eighties. I can tell you firsthand things are a lot better than in the eighties. Black people has always stood together! Man, break your chains of 400 years. 400 years ago dark skin blacks hated the light skin house nigga. You are calling Jay a house nigga and saying he sold out. Sounds like you are still stuck in your chains! Don’t let the “N” how you back any longer!!

  12. Mike Williams says:

    H. Lewis Smith ,

    Accomplished as a group??? How are we further along???

    I mean Really!!!….Are you serious???? Fist black president (even though he is half white, but he is black enough) and we can pretty much can do anything a white can do without punishment and ridicule as a whole. And you say NOT INDIVIDUAL accomplishments??? Why not??? A lot of the accomplishments made by black people today could have not been made in the sixties. All these black CEO’s of major Fortune 500 companies. The individual accomplishments affect us as a whole silly person. When one of us does great things, it shows all of us it can be done. Thats called UNITY!! You holler UNITY, but you have no idea what the word means. Like I said before…THE REST OF US HAVE ALREADY STARTED TO UNITE!!! Man, you are after your time. You should have been part of the Black Panther Party.

  13. Mike Williams,

    You say we are further along than we were in the 60s, other than certain INDIVIDUAL accomplishments; please feel free to enlighten everyone with specific examples of how we are so much further along. Once again this isn’t about individual accomplishments but what have we accomplished as a GROUP?

  14. Mike Williams says:

    @ H. Lewis Smith

    We were a lot further in the sixties than we were in slavery time. We are a lot further today that we were in the sixties! We must be doing something right! Every decade things get better for black people. It definitely looks like to me we are headed in the right direction. You cannot argue that! If you do argue that you are a blind fool. All this progression came from black unity whether you see it or not. Get your head out the past and use all that energy you have to help our positive leaders, Jayz included, help our black culture evolve and become better. While you are stuck on the word Nigga and racial injustices, the rest of us are already uniting and moving forward!!

  15. Mike Williams,

    Read your comments to Mo’Kelly and clearly your understanding of unification is zero. And your reply relative to me about some rappers selling out serves as an indication that you just simply do not comprehend what’s going on. Nonetheless, your comments are deeply appreciated, you’ve made it abundantly clear where Hip hop is trying to lead the Black coummunity and it behooves Black America to wake up while there is still time. Take back control from rappers and hip hop businessmen and put the reins back into the hands of [sound] thinking, well meaning Black people who have the over-all concern of Black America at heart.

  16. Mike Williams says:

    @ H. Lewis Smith

    I just addresses Unity in my last comment to Mo’Kelly. Oh I get it now. You are jealous of these men accomplishments. You are proverbial crab in a bucket. They Sold Out their race. Here we go!!! I hate when black people say that. Every time a black man does well, he sold out. Now thats brain washing at its finest. There has always been black on black crime, drug issuses, poverty, high school drop-outs, high rates of incaceration long before Jay and others were even born. They are just telling once going on in the black communities and how we must overcome these problems. But again, you wouldnt know that. You do not listen to all of Jayz words. You just hear the word Nigga and go ape shit. Thats just like listening to Malcolm X in his early years and never listening to his words right before his death.

  17. Mike Williams says:


    Yes, I just did say that. Yes people died with it ringing in their ears and you want the word to stay that powerful as it was 400 years ago or even in the sixties. We are taking the power out of the word through the natural evolution of the word. Just like the world has evolved, and we had our first black president. You continue everyday to give the word power as if your mind is stuck in the sixties or in slavery. Man, this not slavery times or the sixties or even the ninties for that matter. Not saying there is not any racism but we have came a long way since slavery or the sixties. Racists are on youtube making racial comments all the time. Most of the black people on there now laugh at these racists. We do not get emotional about the word. We laugh at these people and continue our intelligent conversation. Black people always want to hold on to whats negative instead of celebrating the positives in our culture. Celebrating the positives is what will unite us not bad mouthing black men that have made it big. Again, I say its one stupid word. Really!! Its holds no one back!!! Well, except for the ones who continue to hold onto its origin. You complain about racism but its white people who voted Obama in and is fighting for his re-election. I have more white people who send me work than black people in my business. I have the most troubles with black people in my business but are the first to holla “My Brother”. When you are always complaining about racism you miss all the glory that this world has to offer. As black people we unite just as much as any other race. Just because we dont ride around with the Afican flag hanging from our rearview mirror as the Puerto Ricans do with their flag, doesnt mean we do not unite. Have you ever been in a room full of white people with only maybe 3 or 4 black people? What happens? The black people slowly migrate to each other. Black people unite all the time. What kind of unity do you want? You want us to overthrow the government or something? Dont you understand as you continue to preach the stereotype that black people dont stick together,you are feeding into the problem. Black people stick together all over all the time.

  18. Mike Williams,

    Not once did you address the issue of Unity nor the need for group achievements, obviously you just don’t get it. Also, the issue isn’t about Jay Z and all the other’s success, the issue is how they came about that success. They can all have billions along with fame and no problem, the problem comes in with what did they have to do to achieve such monetary success; in the case of rappers and certain hip hop business men they SOLD OUT their race for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver.

    There is black on black crime, drug issuses, poverty, high school drop-outs, high rates of incaceration and the messages that emulates from rap music lends to such self-destruction. Unless we come together as a community to address these problems, which calls for unification of Black America, these problems are never going to go away.

    However, before unification can even begin to become a possibiblity, we as Black Americans are going to first have to learn how to respect one another, and ourselve as individuals. Referring to one another as n**gahs is a clear sign that such respect is no where in sight. Without that foundation of self-respect we will never come together as a UNITED GROUP.

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