Friday, July 03, 2009

On the Largest stage in America, Black Folks still look so small

To all the black folks that watched the BET Awards, aka The Shame of Black America, hoping that you were going to see a tribute to Michael Jackson……I TOLD YOU SO!!!! I was on Blogger vacation but Hurricane Chris at the Louisiana State Legislature, The BET Awards and Michael Jackson’s crooked father brought me off the couch.

I knew BET was going to screw the pooch! They can’t help themselves. Just like the Democrats that are prone to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. BET couldn’t help themselves and had to put on a production that was worthy of ridicule and shame.

BET reminds me of a prostitute that is taken off the street in order to get their life back together. But eventually ends up going back on the stroll. Why? Because people revert back to what they know when they don’t know anything else. BET CEO Debra Lee has a law degree from Harvard University so she knows better. Why she continues her disdain for black folks by playing to the lowest common denominator is beyond me.

I didn’t watch the event but what was reported back to me was disheartening. I will talk on the following points and then get off my soapbox.

#1~Why was Jamie Foxx telling jokes about having unprotected sex? In 2005, blacks accounted for 49% of the new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the United States. Of the 126,964 women living with HIV/AIDS 64% were black women (64% people!!!!). HIV/AIDS was the leading cause of death for black women between the ages of 25 – 34. And HETEROSEXUAL contact provided 80% of the newly diagnosed infections (and this was in 2005 people!!!). All figures and facts are listed on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website. This is no laughing matter. Black folks, we are at a critical point in our existence. Young black men are dying early due to violence, such as my frat brother in Texas (Please Read Memorial for Michael Motte). And our young women are dying because men are transmitting a deadly disease to them. Jamie Foxx wants to be a Hollywood Star and Hood Famous at the same time. He must not be following the careers of Denzel Washington and Will Smith. Mr. Foxx you can’t do both!! Please decide which one you want to do and then get back with us.

#2~A Tribute to the movie Baby Boy, was this movie a classic or something? Outside of Higher Learning and Four Brothers, John Singleton hasn’t had anything worth looking at since Boyz N the Hood. I know you will argue me down about Poetic Justice but did you watch it for Janet Jackson or Tupac or the actual plot? Taraji P. Henson is an Oscar Nominee now. She can’t slip backwards into the abyss of coonery. And the Ving Rhames guns and butter skit??? Comparing Michael Jackson to a macroeconomics model involving the relationship between a nation’s investment in defense and civilian goods is downright foolish. Is this what we as black folks call a classic movie? I guess next year you will see the cast of “Who’s Your Caddy?”

#3~Eddie Levert I heard you cursed…Please smoke your dope after the show and not before. You are an old school performer you know how it goes.

#4~Drake, Lil Wayne, the Young Money crew performing “******* Every Girl In The World” with middle school girls dancing gleefully to the beat. Well it’s just par for the course I guess. Our Children (yes us black folks!!) can learn the latest songs and dances but we complain the loudest saying they can’t learn in a “white mans” school. You were probably asking where were the parents? If they had any, they were bought and paid for. They were probably sitting in the audience counting money while their children danced on stage. After all these years we (yes us black folks!!!) are still dancing a jig when Nubia is on Fire all around us.

So I ask you was this a true tribute to Michael Jackson or window dressing? One of the greatest (possibly the greatest) entertainer of our generation and this is what we give him? What really bothers me is the lack of class and dignity that we (yes us black folks!!) seem to display. Why do we have to make things “hip and urban” in order for it to be deemed a “real black affair”. Being black should not be confused with what was on display last Sunday. Being black is about honor and dignity. It is about knowing our history and living in a way that our ancestors would be proud of. As long as we have lived in this country we are still the least respected last place race. Other races and nationalities have come to this country and flourished (i.e. People from Africa, People from the Middle East). And we are still spinning our wheels.

I talked to one of my friends (a black male) about the awards show. He said that if he was in mixed company (i.e. white folks) he would have walked out of the room. The images that we give the world are powerful. People all over the world make judgments about black Americans from what they see on TV. (whether right or wrong). So it’s important that we show the world our greatness. But as it is right now, I wonder if we even know what “our” greatness looks like.


the uppity negro said...

Thought u were still on vacation...

But, yeah, those were the main issues most everyone had with the show. In addition to the fact that people like Don Cornelius had lit up with Eddie before the show, combined with the fact that the teleprompter was soooo friggin far away.

BET woulda been better doing a strong five minute tribute, and still brought Janet, but save a REAL tribute for sometime later when they can really prepare for it. The ad hoc tributes off on the side of the stage were absolutely atrocious. The only classy moment was Janet Jackson and Jamie and Ne-Yo's final MJ song.

As for I Wanna Fuck Every Girl in the World--that's got to be the epitome of EPIC FAIL. Aside from the fact that the sensors woke up after Eddie Levert let his bomb slip, half the song was bleeped out for TV viewers and it totally knocked out any piece of the musical value of the song because CLEARLY it was not in the lyrics. Apparently his own daughter was out there as well.

Seriously, how could Debra Lee, as a WOMAN, let alone a black woman stomach that....Jesus we have a problem.

Citizen Ojo said...

Uppity - I was on vacation but foolishness wouldn't let me rest.

uglyblackjohn said...

The odd thing was - this was the most "class" shown on BET in years.

"Honor" seems to be the missing element of today's Black American culture.
In fact, I've been searching for it for years.

Citizen Ojo said...

Ugly Black John- Well keep searching Sir, keep searching

Max Reddick said...

I didn't watch either (thank God), but I got the same report you got. From all accounts, all accounts from people with relatively good sense, this show was the very height of coonery.

I certainly thought that by MJ being black and BET being presumably a black network, that they would produce a quality, dignified show worthy of the occassion. But as you said, they fell back on what they know best and put on perhaps the best minstrel show on record. And that Lil Wayne thing with the teens in back was completely unacceptable. Didn't anyone figure that out in rehearsals?

But in the words of that great black poet, my grandmother, we'll just pray for them.

KST said...

Citizen Ojo: I agree that the show was a H.A.M. There were some okay moments as others have pointed out.
Re: 1
He made jokes, but he was advising folks to get tested.

Re: 4 I couldn't watch or listen. This idiotic triflin' song is played over and over on radio stations, and it makes me sick. That Drake (although cute) is seen as the second coming in Hip Hop today is beyond sad. As the the mother of a little girl, I wanted to slap every single parent that allowed their little girls to be pimped on that stage.

You are so right about the image that we portray to the world. When I was in London, I became friends with a Swedish guy. He and his friends asked me about Michael Jackson (good) and The Maury Povitch (not good) show. Yes, I gave them the quick and quick and dirty black studies 101 lesson, but damn. I've met people from all over the world (Africa, Europe, Middle East, Canada) and they all have visions of the coonery displayed on BET and MTV dancing in their heads.

We've basically taken a televised crap on the world stage. Although it may be entertaining for others to watch, it has done nothing to elevate our standing in the world.

Citizen Ojo said...

KST - You are correct. When I was in Europe people would ask me if I knew Snoop Dogg. What?! Yeah we need to take over our image immediately. This is a national emergency!!!!

Kiss my black ads said...

It was a sweltering, festering, ashen, muttering shamble. I'm being nice. I actually had hopes of something better. It's kind of like the family crackhead. You clean them up for the funeral but they crack and can't handle the pressure. So they go and do what they are comfortable doing, getting high acting up. Come time for the funeral, you have "family" and "guest" in the procession. Lo and behold, what do you see? The crackhead family member out in the middle of the street making a huge spectacle of him/herself doing the cracked up version moonwalk!
I expected too much from the family f-up!

Bougie Applebum said...

I know I'm late to the party. Guess I must be on CP Time. But I totally agree with this post. I didn't watch the awards - in fact - I never watch BET. You hit all of the necessary angles on this one. Couldn't have said it better myself.

And I especially love this part - Why do we have to make things “hip and urban” in order for it to be deemed a “real black affair”.

If only I had a penny for every time I asked that question.

Citizen Ojo said...

Bougie Applebum - Thanks for stopping by. You aren't late at all. I thought I was the only person that didn't watch BET. We should form our own club...