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American Gangster?

I am so tired of hearing the rappers a role models argument.  These people are being paid to entertain us.  Do white people hold up their entertainers as role models?  Was little Becky Sue’s parent all up in arms when Paris had to do a bid?  As they watched Brittany Spears fall from grace did the collective white leaders (whoever they might be) stage rally’s and parades in front of her label?  No those people recognize her as a person that made a mistake, and more than likely tell their daughters don’t come in here acting like Brittany.  Why is it we look to everyone outside of our own family to be the example for our youth?


This past weekend we had another rapper catch a gun charge.  I think his actions were pretty much a display of his own stupidity (I mean come on, T.I., you are a convicted felon, you know you’re not supposed to have guns)!  He made a poor choice, got caught and now will have to pay a price for that.  Rather than hear people go on and on about what a poor example he is setting for his fans, lets talk about the real issue…..WHEN KEEPING IT REAL GOES HORRIBLY WRONG!!!!!


First of all, what is the obsession with “keeping it real” and more importantly how exactly does one “keep it real”?  No poor person wants to be poor.  People living in the projects would give their eye teeth to never have to ride in a pissy elevator again.  The little kid getting chased home by The Gooch everyday would gladly give up his lunch money in exchange for a full time body guard.  Somewhere along the line things got a little mixed up and now it’s more important to have street credibility than common sense.  Do you really think the Evans’ would have stayed in the projects so that J.J. could cultivate his image as a starving artist?  From 1974-1979 we watched episode after episode of them trying to get out of the ghetto.  If someone came knocking with a label deal for Michael I believe they would have gone straight to Michigan Avenue, and never looked back (well maybe Florida would have stopped by to visit Wilona, but not too often).  Why is that being an American Gangster is now more popular than being a neurosurgeon?


These days, children have access to a lot more with regards to technology.  While race is still a major factor (if you don’t believe, Google the Jena 6), opportunity does exists for those that are willing to work towards a better reality.  The problem is too many kids don’t want to WORK!  Do we blame the entertainment industry for that?  Is it Jay-Z’s fault that your son would rather sit on the stoop and freestyle, than be in the free library on their free internet researching how one starts his own record label?  Do we blame Kobe because your child would rather cut class to shoot jump shots so that he can buy his momma a house?  Children get these mixed up priorities from the powers that be….and that be YOU/US, not T.I., not Foxy, not Michael Vick.


Money can’t buy sense. With all T.I.’s money, with all his fame, he still went the dumb route!  His obsession with being an American Gangster got him caught up in a federal indictment.  (It wasn’t enough to have bodyguards; he had to have an arsenal in his bedroom closet???)  I don’t know enough about the case to speculate on what kind of danger his life might have been in, but seeing as I do know you can only shoot one gun at a time, I would say a state of the art security system and a few more legally armed guards would have been a wiser option!  Was T.I.’s raised to think it through to the consequences?  As a grown man he should know better, but if all you know is street foolishness, does common sense ever kick in? 


Entertainers mistakenly try to keep it real by maintaining relationships with their friends from the hood.  I hate to say it, but majority of the time those friends from the hood are plotting to bring you down, and you are just one photo away from being the cover story  on The National Enquirer.  You think you can do dirt with the people that knew you way back when, but rule number 3 in the Slimy Grimy handbook clearly states: Never do dirt with someone that doesn’t have more to lose than you do.   Poor Michael Vick thought his boys would never sell him out.  For a plea bargain and more than likely a new house for somebody’s momma, those clowns dropped a quarter on him quick!  They kept it real….they really wanted to get out of trouble and the fastest way to do that was to sell out Mike. 


What we need to do with our children is redefine what it means to keep it real!  I am going to give the rappers the benefit of the doubt in that no one ever taught them any better.  Their aunties never hit them with the tight teeth if you don’t go somewhere and sit your behind down, and thus they never had the boundaries that probably would have kept them out of trouble.  Fighting and drinking and cussing and carrying on might have been cute in their living room, but Jan didn’t go for that (and I’m sure most of you Epiphany Blog parents don’t either).   Our so called leaders are quick to denounce hip hop for the misogyny, the violence and negativity.  All of that is present, but the fact of the matter is it’s an art form, and pretty much here to stay.  Our children are going to be exposed to it, if not in our homes and cars, then definitely on the computer and on the play ground.  We should utilize the errors made by these artists as a way to direct our kids on what not to do.  Pacman Jones was just kickin it with his boys…you know keeping it real.  Does he have a job now, or are they using his locker for storage?  Prodigy was keeping it real.  He had a burner in the console…just in case!  He’s doing 3-5 now right?  


Like I said earlier, only in the black community do we hold our entertainers up as some type of moral example.  So what if they parlayed their talent into a million dollar deal.  Let’s keep it real, does that really make them a better example for your kids than you are?  Rather than looking to people with obviously convoluted values to impart wisdom on our children, shouldn’t we be tasked with it instead?  If we don’t rein them in, they will think this American Gangster stuff is cute, and we all know most gangsters die at the end of the movie!



October 18, 2007 - Posted by | Celebrity, Entertainment, Hip hop, Life, Opinion, Race, Society


  1. […] Check it out! While looking through the blogosphere we stumbled on an interesting post today.Here’s a quick excerpt a gun charge.   I think his actions were pretty much a display of his own stupidity ( I mean come… shoot one gun at a time, I would say a state of the art security system and a few more legally […]

    Pingback by Ghillie Suits » American Gangster? | October 18, 2007

  2. I too am tired of hearing rappers blamed for everything our kids do wrong. I’m tired of hearing teachers catch all the heat because our kids can’t pass math. As a parent I am the end all be all when it comes to my kids and only I can be blamed if I am falling down on my job. I need to be checking homework, ipods, and what they are watching on cable. Parents STEP UP and DO YOUR DAMN JOB!

    Comment by Tameka | October 18, 2007

  3. I’m one of the BIGGEST Hip Hop / Rap Fan ever, but I stopped defending rap music and the action of rappers and their music about 15 years ago. We as Black people have the serious issue of not hardly having any national Black American leaders. I’m not mad at Rev. Al Sharpton and the crew(Great job in Jenna), but I feel at times they have separate agendas. So as a race we tend to look at the wrong examples as leaders and role models. Just because someone wrote a hit song, makes the winning shot or can knock people out in the 1st round does not mean they have the ability to lead our people to a new social consciousness.

    T.I. is one of the most accomplished artist of our day, but he’s a rapper and self proclaimed Gansta / Drug King Pin. This is not his first weapons charge. This is not his first serious legal problem. So why do you expect different from him then you do from the gansta / drug dealer in your community? Money? Please!!!! Trust and believe there are a couple of dope boys in your hood that have millions. I was in church last night and my Pastor made a comment about TI having millions and now he’s in all this trouble. Money is not the issue, the mentality is the problem. Ghetto ass mentality will have you with 10 machine guns up in your crib with babies and shit walkin and playin around. Watchin’ to much Scarface and not pickin up your Bible or even the Quran in search of a higher wisdom. See T.I. knew better, b/c I saw him get Punk’d on MTV in a very eerily similar situation regarding weapons and the FEDs. He spoke very intelligently about him being a Con and not messin’ with any guns. So sorry T.I. fans he should be right where he is. Won’t see me with a FREE T.I. Shirt on. He punched Chaka in the face last month for nothing. Read the writing on the wall, like Brit, Lindsey, Lil Wayne, Prodigy and the rest of the Cleb Posse he was a train wreck waiting to happen. And messin’ with that dude may have lead to someone getting seriously hurt or killed. He didn’t get set up, he set his self up.

    As a people we all need to step it up. Drugs, guns, pimpin, hoein’ AIN’T cute… It’s wack…So let’s act like it, hold these fools accountable. Stop empowering the BS, we are our own problem… No other races embraces things that tear there communities apart, why do we?!?!

    Congratulations to TYLER PERRY for being #1 @ the BOX OFFICE with no guns, dope or hoes in his movie, Barack Obama for running a clean campaign with class and all the mothers / fathers raising there children…I salute you…

    Comment by The Lone Wolf | October 18, 2007

  4. I totally agree with parents being the ones to set the standards for their children. But the truth to the matter is that in our race the majority of the parents are not raising their children; the television, radio, video games,my space, and celebrities are. As a people we have to step up and be a mentor to some of these children, so they can stop looking at dumb ass celebrities showing off their wealth and getting in trouble with the law. The children see enough drug dealers in the community showing off their wealth and getting in trouble with the law. So, if all the children see is people with money doing idiotic things, then that is what they will most likely do when they get older. So, we have to change the images of what they see. I am one of the people who get totally upset with people who are in the limelight who are given an opportunity to have things in life and make a difference and in turn they fuck it up. I get upset because I see the children idolizing these people and not seeing anything wrong with what they did. They feel that THE MAN always mess with the black people. So, again we as educated people with morals have to step it up because our race just wants to Keep It Real with the wrong things and it just will be a continuous cycle.

    Comment by Nichelle | October 18, 2007

  5. All I can say is “DITTO.” Those are my sentiments EXACTLY!.

    Comment by Pat | October 19, 2007

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