EPIPHANY

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The Stanky Leg

As if I didn’t already think Wal-Mart was the root of all evil, I am totally convinced now!  I agreed to do a friend a favor before I realized it would require going to my local Wal-Mart.  It was too late to weasel out of it, so off to Wal-Mart I went.  I thought I was mentally prepared for the tomfoolery that was bound to ensue, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would witness a spectacle such as a Stanky Leg “dance off” in the vestibule!

I am not sure if this god-awful “Stanky Leg” song has infiltrated everyone’s airwaves yet, but if it has not…count your blessings.  The song is horrible, and the dance is even worse.  It is basically a stripper recruitment theme song.  Granted dance songs are usually kind of lame with their lyrical content, but that is not my issue with this particular song.  As previously stated, it is the soundtrack for all aspiring pole dancers, and therein lies my issue!

So I am walking into Wal-Mart and there is a group of teens standing in the doorway listening to music.  My first thought was, “why are they blasting the music from their boom box in the Wal-Mart”, but then again it’s Wal-Mart and apparently anything goes.  My next thought was “Oh God not this mess”, once I realized it was that Stanky Leg song.  The two girls were apparently doing their best Stanky Leg while their three male friends looked on and captured the festivities on their camera phones.  What is this world coming to when teenage girls can record their stripper audition video’s in the Wal-Mart vestibule?!?!?!

I was very repulsed!  These girls were maybe sixteen, and found it socially acceptable to dip and gyrate in that manner.  I don’t have daughters, but I have cousins and the thought of any of them doing this nonsense really annoyed me.  I kept it moving and successfully resisted the urge to snatch one of those little girls up. As I stood on line in customer service I thought back to the kinds of dances I thought were okay to do in public when I was a teenager.  Nothing we did in the eighties can compare to the Stanky Leg.  Granted at the basement parties there might have been some slow dragging, bumping and grinding going on….but not in the Wal-Mart vestibule.

What has this world come to?   Am I the only person thoroughly repulsed by the spectacle that is the Stanky Leg,?  I must admit I was surprised by the number of grown women I recently saw in the club doing the dance.  Grown people have a right to do whatever they want, but for every teen girl doing the Stanky Leg, is there a stripper pole and pair of clear heels in her future?

The song sucks, there is no question about that, but the kids are doing it. In Jersey we used to have a commercial “It’s 6 o’clock do you know where your child is”. My question this week Epiphanyblog…is YOUR child doing the Stanky Leg?  Are you sure?
JerzeeChick

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March 26, 2009 Posted by | Children, Hip hop, Music, Opinion | 11 Comments

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!

JerzeeChick   

October 18, 2007 Posted by | Celebrity, Entertainment, Hip hop, Life, Opinion, Race, Society | 5 Comments

What’s your favorite Throwback?

I Googled the word Throwback recently, and this is what I found:  A sudden reminder of the past. This can be brought about by hearing a song from high school, seeing an ex, puffing on a j in your old puffin spot, etc. Similar to a flashback.

From what I understand about Throwback Jersey’s, the further back you go, or the more specific you are, the better the find.  For instance a Shaq jersey from the Orlando Magic is okay. If you could find his Jersey from LSU, then you might be doing something, but if you started rocking his Jersey from Robert G. Cole High School, then you are a super fan!

What is your throwback claim to fame?  Is television your throwback genre?  When people start talking about The Cosby Show, can you really take it there with the episodes?  Can you break down the Gordon Gartrell shirt debacle, or Vanessa sneaking out to have big fun with The Wretched?  Did you learn what the term “bootlegging” meant from Al Dunbar on the What’s Happening two-part episode with the Doobie Brothers?  

Back when rappers had background dancers that were mostly men (not scantily clad women) we all knew how to dance.  The Snake, The Steve Martin, The Prep….we had tons of dance moves!  If you are from a certain part of Jersey, I know you remember The Stolen Car and The Give It Up.  When I was in high school being able to dance was a requirement.  As part of our senior superlatives we had “Best Dance”.  I remember it came down to The Bart Simpson, and The All Beef…..but I digress.  My point is; when was the last time you got your dance on?  Not a simple two step, but a real deal, break it down, out of breath, dance move.  I think you should try TODAY, but please don’t hurt yourself J 

For some, nothing can put them in the nostalgic mood like music.  The right old school track can change your mood better than a good martini.  For those that like club music, when was the last time you heard Din Da Da or Break For Love?  Do you remember when You Are My Friend would cause everyone in the club to pack the dance floor?  If any of those things made you smile, then maybe old school club music is your throwback!   

Have you ever been sitting in traffic and heard the DJ mixing in Nobody Beats The Biz by Biz Markie?  Did you not want to jump out of your car and break into an old school dance?  During that era when rap music was becoming hip hop music, we had Eric B and Rakim, EPMD, and Big Daddy Kane among others.  Unless you are going to Old School Second Saturday, your chances of hearing all those artists in one night are slim.  If you’re lucky, they might play Top Billin or A Children’s Story.  If the DJ is halfway decent, he’ll probably mute it at the appropriate time and everyone on the dance floor can yell “Dave the dope fiend shootin’ dope who don’t know the meaning of water nor soap…”! When was the last time you heard “…hear yea hear yea, come one come all, the princess is having a royal ball”?  Dana Dane didn’t have a lot of hits, but he stayed in Bally’s and a Kangol.

Some of us have boxes of things from the good old days.  Our acid washed jeans, our Gazelles, and our graffiti sweatshirts are nicely preserved for posterity’s sake!  We know we will never EVER squeeze into those red Lee’s with the black pin stripes again, but we refuse to throw them away because they’re classics!  Right there next to your old Bally’s is the belt buckle with your name on it and your souvenir from the senior prom.  These are the throwbacks we treasure. 

The best throwbacks will transport your mind to that era.  They can take you back to the days of house parties, backyard barbeques and fat rope chains.  Speaking of backyard barbeques….Do people still build barbeque pits in their backyards?  We all know some of the best cookouts were hosted at a house with a barbeque pit in the yard!  If a man took the time to build a pit in his yard, you know he took his grilling tasks seriously and his food was going to be slammin!

  Remember when we were buying cassette tapes, and most of our friends did not have cars?  We appreciated getting a ride someplace, and not having to walk home in the rain/snow/burning hot sun.  Back then our biggest concern was not breaking curfew and what we were going to wear to school the next day (and of course a ride home from the party).  Whatever your throwback is, wear it well.  You don’t need to spend $300, you may only need to pull out an old mix tape, or watch a few hours of Nik at Night. 

Before we cared about the terror threat level, FICA, and our 401K’s we were consumed by Dwayne and Whitley, shell toe Adidas, and doing the Cabbage Patch.  Adulthood is overrated and we all deserve a few moments to relive our carefree youth!  Come on y’all, rep for your throwback!!! Put on your Triple Fat Goose, and pose in front of the mirror a la Run DMC.  Go ahead and crack open a bottle on Boones Farm, but please don’t wear that acid washed jean suit to the mall.  Whop it out during your next conference call, and feel free to start pop locking in the break room the next time Corporate America tries to break you down! So I ask again….What is your throwback?  EpiphanyBlog wants to know J

JerzeeChick

July 12, 2007 Posted by | Hip hop, Life, Old School, Society | 10 Comments

The BET Awards

I watched the BET awards Tuesday night and I enjoyed the show.  I think the tribute to Diana Ross was great. I especially thought honoring Don Cheadle was appropriate and I enjoyed the Public Enemy performance.  As always, Chuck D and Flavor Flav put on a good show, complete with a few S1 W’s. Question: during the “I’m Black And I’m Proud” performance was that Doug E. Fresh in the background with the white blazer and sunglass on doing his signature head rub move?  If you blinked you would have missed it, but those with TiVo please play it back and let me know.

As with most award shows, there was plenty of speeches and scripted banter.  I will break down my three favorites.

 Music is about changing peoples lives…..there is content in hip-hop—Ludacris 

I am fully and wholly in agreement with this statement.  There are a lot of hip hop songs out there that make me cringe when I hear them, but it does not dismiss the entire genre. I used to love The Whisper Song.  Something about the beat just made me want to dance.  Eventually I heard the non radio version and that was that. There was no way I could bop to that beat knowing the true lyrics of the song.  Believe me I tried, but I just couldn’t do it.  The lyrics may not bother you, but “…wait til you see my d!*k” is just not for me! I still love hip hop, and I think there are plenty of artists out there making music that is relevant to our culture and generation. 

As with every form of entertainment and every era, there are components that may not be for everybody.  In 1981 when Rick James released Super Freak, did our society rally against R&B and seek to shut Motown down?  Vanity 6 hit the charts wearing lingerie.  The “6” in the group name was derived from their total number of breasts, but as far as I know most people will still get their dance on when they hear Nasty Girl.  Let’s be honest, was there really much content in 80’s R&B/Soul Music?  Did that music tell the story of a generation or did it just provide us with good future hip hop samples and bad hair?  Did Mtume really seek to change anyone’s life?  Are bustiers, garters, braids and beads morally and socially superior to gold fronts, excessive jewelry, saggy jeans and thongs?   Were Jheri Curls better than hair weaves?

 We do not have to say the “F” word, we do not have to pump and grind, we do not have to do some of these things to have longevity in our career.  I think it’s very important for us to know that you can stand tall, and be classy, be ladies and gents, and have a long career–Diana Ross    

I agree with this statement too.  Some artist are totally classless one hit wonders.  These  days good production and mediocre lyrics can propel a person to platinum status.  In order to hide their inherent lackluster talent a female artist may play up her physical attributes, and a male artist might spin a ghetto wonder tale in hopes of gaining “street cred” and a fan base.  It’s all smoke and mirrors and eventually said artist will be thrust into relative obscurity.  There is also another side to that coin.  What about the girl that was raised to think all she could be was a scantily clad stripper, or the boy that only knows about being a low level drug dealer or a stick up kid?  Their demo tape falls into the right hands and he/she gets a deal.  Her image will probably be less than “lady-like”, he will more than likely rap about poverty and the drug game, and on the block they will both stand very tall.  We can not continue to blame the labels for that. Record labels do not hold the key to curing the inequalities of the hood.  Some of these artists have lived these lyrics.  Shouldn’t we be more concerned with curing that aspect of our society than shooting the messenger?  We have the free will to spend our money on the things we find deserving.  If you’re not a fan of hip hop, don’t listen.  Don’t spend your money on it.  Don’t go to places were the genre is predominant.

 Let’s all step up as parents and raise our own kids and let’s stop expecting other people to do it for us–Nelly 

Nelly sparked a controversy with his Tip Drill video.  I am guessing he’s doing some serious parenting to make sure his daughter never ends up with someone swiping a credit card through her behind.  As a woman, I do find a lot of the things I see in music video’s offensive, but that is because I know better and none of that is my reality.  If I were a parent I would make sure my child knew better than to emulate ANYTHING they saw that was contrary to the family values I was trying to impart.  I think the whole “entertainers as role models” thing is a cop out, regardless of the industry.  These people are in the limelight because of their talent, not because they are better than you or me.  Most of them have no desire to be an example for the next generation (except as it relates to fashion).

Think about the kids that know all the words to Pop Lock and Drop It, but can not tell you the answer to “what’s seven times six”.  We’ve all seen the email of the little girl in a pamper dancing to Crazy in Love, or the little boy leaning with it and rocking with it.  Do those kids know their phone numbers?  Who’s fault is it when the child is disruptive in class?  Too often we blame the schools for being overcrowded, or the teacher for not being able to “control” him.  What about the parents?  If parents were more involved in their child’s day to day activities instead of relying on music videos and cartoons, our children might not have such short attention spans and teachers might spend more time on educating and less time on discipline.  When I was a kid I got my daily dose of VJ Ralph McDaniels and Yo MTV Raps, but my homework was done, my grades were good, and I participated in extra-curricular activities.  Run DMC and Big Daddy Kane did not teach me right from wrong, I had parents for that. I listened to DJ Red Alert every weekend.  De La Soul and the rest of the Native Tongues posse was pretty much acceptable but I knew better than to pump Wild Thang by Almond Joy in the house.

I admit there is a lot of misogyny in SOME hip hop.  There are a lot of negative images in SOME hip hop.  Whatever side of the argument you fall on, we all should agree it is still a form of entertainment and not an avenue for teaching life skills.  The billions of dollars pumped in to the industry are not meant to finance moral values.  Hip hop is only a portion of our culture, and is not necessarily representative of the majority. If we, as the parents, aunties, and uncles of this impressionable generation are on our job, kids will know better and thus do better!

 JerzeeChick.

June 28, 2007 Posted by | Education, Changes, Hip hop, Society | 8 Comments