Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cosby Is Right, But...

I do believe the Bill Cosby’s of the world have a significant point when discussing rap music’s lyrics and videos. Some videos that find themselves on BET and MTV are beyond degrading toward women, and this “Bling” era of music has placed an emphasis on club bangers and lessened the importance of thoughtful lyrics. So, to paraphrase Chris Rock, while I still love rap music (mostly that of an elder generation, but also some of the new stuff), I can no longer defend it. in fact, that ability left me long ago, sometime around the time this goodie from Nelly dropped.

(excuse me while I wipe up the drool...)

However, just like every person who puts blinders on their strong opinion, Cosby does not paint a complete picture concerning what ails the black community. Now before you jump to Cosby’s defense and point out that there is no way to completely articulate all that ails those who are black, let me say that I agree with you…to an extent. I know there isn’t a plausible way to articulate everything that troubles such a diverse group. Nevertheless rap music and videos, while in the faces of those who turn on a TV on a regular basis, is not all that commonly captivates black folks. What about the negatives that the Black Church promotes?

While my past beefs with the Black Church are documented, my understanding of it has evolved. In short, I only have beef with those pastors who say stupid things.

Things along the lines of this.

And this.

If a child were placed in front of that Nelly video and then those pastors’ sermons, which do you think would scar the child worse? For different reasons, I say it’s a wash.

The explicit nature of “uncut” rap videos is undeniably problematic, to say the least. However, at least I can tell my little cousins that Nelly is relevant only for entertainment purposes, and therefore should not be looked up to. Conversely, how do I explain away a religious and community leader (a position that pastors have historically held within our communities) calling the black race “unreliable” and disrespecting another black man to such an extent? Obama is a long-legged mack-daddy? His African in-heat father?? He was born trash??? I understand that they are zealously supporting their candidate, but those words are ridiculous, and if white folks said that ish…well, you know the rest.

So where is the national voice against those hateful words? Where’s the gospel album denouncing that ish?


Anonymous said...

Things I learned from those YouTube clips:

A) One can divest his speech of racism simply by saying “now this isn’t racist or anything—praise the Lord!” I wonder if this works with all slights and slander? If it does, then it will turn the legal world on its head. For instance, maybe dubya doesn’t leave the white house and instead holds a press conference to state publicly” “Now this isn’t the end of my term or anything—praise the Lord!”
B) Yelling loudly makes things true. I believed this at one time and would yell at my girlfriend “I DID WASH EVERYTHING OFF THE PLATE BEFORE PUTTING IT IN THE DISHWASHER!” but my faith in volume’s ability to make something veracious was shaken when the still-dirty plate came flying at my head. However, now I realize I just wasn’t yelling loud enough.

In any case, if these crazy rantings precipitate a growing distrust of the position of pastor as dispenser of total wisdom, then maybe the crazies are serving an unintended purpose.

Is there something about pastoring that is best suited to tackling local problems and focusing on healing the individual rather than stumping for national politicos and damning generalized ills?

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Brother Spotless said...

Pastor's in the black church traditionally wear hats other than that "of the cloth." Historically, they have been the local leaders, dispensing advise concerning a myriad of issues from God's word to who to vote for to how to clear a clogged drain in the sink.

Because of this, come election time politicians curry the pastor's favor in order to gain "the black vote." There are clear pluses and minuses to this, but this fact highlights the platform that a pastor stands upon every Sunday. Not only does he speak the word of the Lord, but the pastor is seen rubbing elbows with everyone from local legislatures to (depending on the size of the church said pastor presides over) national political figures.

To be fair, I can't imagine either of the Clinton's talking to these pastors...