VH1’s Black History Month…It’s everything you’d expect from VH1

I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to “Rock of Love”. I really don’t watch a lot of television, but something about that smutty filth we call television has sucked me in. As embarrassed as I am, I cannot look away.

While skimming through the channels to see if any Rock of Love reruns were on, I noticed VH1 was celebrating Black History Month. Is “celebrating” the right word?

For anyone who’s watched VH1, its celebration of Black History Month was set up just like their other shows: A series of men and women are interviewed, and in between the clips of their answers/statements are pieces of movies and TV shows to illustrate their points.

Well I happened to come to the station just as various black comedians, actors, and musicians were discussing the image of the black man/woman in movies before the 1980’s. The statement was made, “Before 1985, if you were a black man in Hollywood, you could never get a job as an actor unless you played a pimp.” Another interviewee came up and stated, “It was basically blacks playing out the white stereotype that all black men are pimps and all black women are hookers. Whites couldn’t see beyond that.”

WOW. Hold on… just one second please. The stereotypes that whites have about blacks…Seriously?
I am as liberal as they come as far as fighting inequality, racism, etc., but when I hear statements that seem to be blatant hypocrisy and absurdity, well I just can’t stand and fight for the minority.

How many songs have been written with the word “pimp” embedded at any point in the lyrics? Dear God. I know nothing about rap and pop culture, but I’ve heard enough rap at dances and parties to know how often the artists in rap and R&B songs profess to be pimps.

“I don’t know what you heard about me
But a b*tch can’t get a dollar out of me
No Cadillac, no perms, you can’t see
That I’m a motherf*cking P-I-M-P”
-50 Cent/Snoop Dogg

“Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too
You pay the right price and they’ll both do you
That’s the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin change off these women, yeah

You know it’s hard out here for a pimp
When he tryin to get this money for the rent
For the Cadillacs and gas money spent
Because a whole lot of bitches talkin sh*t”
-Djay f/ Shug

You know I thug ’em, f*ck ’em, love ’em, leave ’em
Cause I don’t f*ckin’ need ’em
Take ’em out the hood
Keep ’em looking good
But I don’t f*ckin’ feed em
First time they fuss I’m breezin’
Talking ’bout what’s the reasons
I’m a pimp in every sense of the word, b*tch ”

“Pimpin them hoes and put the b*tch on the track
And tell the ho to bring all my money back”
-Pimp C

The list goes on…

I don’t understand how the group of people on VH1, assuming that they are expressing the majority opinion, could possibly say that it was white stereotyping alone that kept them playing pimp roles in movies. Look at these lyrics! African Americans, by their own free will, categorizing themselves as pimping, degrading their women and selling their dignity for money. These rappers are PROMOTING THE VERY IMAGE ABOUT WHICH THEY COMPLAIN?! How can you claim to be kept down by the white man, to be disgusted with the image you have been given by whites in America, and still, by your own accord, calling yourself the very thing from which you are trying to shake free? I don’t understand… And don’t get me started on the things these lyrics do to black women.

To be honest, I almost started crying as I was searching for these lyrics. My eyes began to tear up. How can you talk about other human beings in this way and get away with it? How is this right? Why are black rappers willing to rob their own race of dignity, especially their females?

Ah yes…
The Almighty Dollar.

Most of my friends don’t understand how I can hate rap as much as I do, but there is my reason. I believe there is worth in every human being, and in my opinion, words like these rob that worth for all its value.

VH1’s charming Black History Month special continued with discussing the size of a black man’s penis. What a way to celebrate the solidarity, accomplishments, and advancements of the black culture by discussing the rumor of a black man’s penis size. Black men and women came on the screen making statements such as, “Oh yes. I am sure the majority of white women have fantasized about being with a black man… just to see if the rumor is true.” “Oh yeah, I’m sure white men are often belittled by our size. They know they can’t compete and wonder if their women would leave them for us for more sexual pleasure.”

This is the way you want to promote Black History Month??? THIS is the way you want to show the legitimacy of your race? Especially with so many young and old teens tuning in to VH1 on a daily basis, this is the opinion you want them to have of blacks? THIS is what you want them to think of when they think of black culture?

I turned the VH1 special off after this. I couldn’t take it anymore. Perhaps it went into details on the courage, honor, and determination of people like Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks. Maybe it mentioned the intelligence, talent, and skill of others like Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali, and Maya Angelou.

If I am wrong about VH1’s special, please correct me. If anyone watched the whole thing and would like to point out my errors, please do. I honestly encourage this.

But until then…

“I know why the caged bird sings.
Ah, me, when its wings are bruised and its bosom sore.
It beats its bars and would be free.
It’s not a carol of joy or glee,
but a prayer that it sends from its heart’s deep core,
a plea that upward to heaven it flings.
I know why the caged bird sings.”
-Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872-1906)


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17 Responses to “VH1’s Black History Month…It’s everything you’d expect from VH1”

  1. throughpaulseyes Says:

    Come on come on
    I see no changes wake up in the morning and I ask myself
    is life worth living should I blast myself?
    I’m tired of bein’ poor and even worse I’m black
    my stomach hurts so I’m lookin’ for a purse to snatch
    Cops give a damn about a negro
    pull the trigger kill a nigga he’s a hero
    Give crack to the kids who the hell cares
    one less ugly mouth on the welfare
    First ship ’em dope & let ’em deal the brothers
    give ’em guns step back watch ’em kill each other
    It’s time to fight back that’s what Huey said
    2 shots in the dark now Huey’s dead
    I got love for my brother but we can never go nowhere
    unless we share with each other
    We gotta start makin’ changes
    learn to see me as a brother instead of 2 distant strangers
    and that’s how it’s supposed to be
    How can the Devil take a brother if he’s close to me?
    I’d love to go back to when we played as kids
    but things changed, and that’s the way it is.
    I see no changes all I see is racist faces
    misplaced hate makes disgrace to races
    We under I wonder what it takes to make this
    one better place, let’s erase the wasted
    Take the evil out the people they’ll be acting right
    ’cause both black and white is smokin’ crack tonight
    and only time we chill is when we kill each other
    it takes skill to be real, time to heal each other
    And although it seems heaven sent
    We ain’t ready, to see a black President, uhh
    It ain’t a secret don’t conceal the fact
    the penitentiary’s packed, and it’s filled with blacks
    But some things will never change
    try to show another way but you stayin’ in the dope game
    Now tell me what’s a mother to do
    bein’ real don’t appeal to the brother in you
    You gotta operate the easy way
    “I made a G today” But you made it in a sleazy way
    sellin’ crack to the kid. ” I gotta get paid,”
    Well hey, well that’s the way it is.
    -Tupac Shakur’s Changes.

    And an awesome poem by Shihan is called The Auction Network. It’s a poem that basically agrees with everything you’re saying. Check it out on YouTube.

    It’s not all bad, but I totally get what you’re saying. It’s a real shame that there are so many black people out there who seem to want to cling to their downtrodden state, because it’s all they’ve grown up hearing about.

  2. amberfireinus Says:

    First of all… YAY you are back!

    For years I have said this exact same thing. Im so sick to death of Black History and Great African Americans… How about just Great Americans? Why does anyone feel the need to distinguish themselves (notice its they who do it to themselves these days with no help from the whites).

    I really get sick of the terms African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans. How come they arent Americans first I wonder? Why does your ancestry come first and not who you are today? Doesnt the country in which you live deserve your first loyalty?

    I get so tired of the illiteracy of these young people. They think they are so clever and cool with their made up street language. They can no longer spell basic words. S is now replaced with Z. Why? What was wrong with the correct spelling in the first place? It is to the point that they go into society and they honestly don’t know how to speak properly. This lack of skill and social functioning further prevents them from obtaining jobs that pay more than minimum wage. I wonder what it is they are thinking?

    The entire generation of children that the hip hop filters out to, including children of all races scares me. It is no longer confined. My 13 year old niece listens to it and thinks its cool. I want to rip my hair out. They even play it at her school! Wonderful songs full of good moral lessons like Lady Hump by The Black Eyed Peas. Lovely huh? Suddenly its ok for these young girls to think that they can have sex with any boy just as long as they are provided with designer wear? *sigh*

    Its distressing indeed. I wish I knew the solution. The Black people that do rise to the top are made fun of, called Oreos and other disgusting names. I don’t really get it. Not only do they not really want to get out of the Ghetto lifestyle, but they don’t really want to see any other Black person get out of there either.

    Im not talking about every Black person here. My best girlfriend in the whole world happens to be Black. She is one of the most articulate and intelligent women I have ever met. Never has the color of her skin become an issue for her or anyone else around her.

  3. 06jk Says:

    I get what you’re saying. However…
    In my sociology class last semester we did some studies on black culture in America. As much as I don’t want to believe it, it is hard to refute that our politics and policies really work to keep the poor, poor… especially blacks. They don’t get the benefit of a proper education. They’re fed propaganda, slogan after slogan, telling them that if they behave well and work hard in school, they’ll get places. The problem is the schools they attend are hardly what they need to succeed.

    My problem comes with these rappers who make MILLIONS every year and ignore the plight of their brothers. Whites are just as guilty of ignoring some of the things blacks in this country still have to go through, but to listen to Rapper XYZ talk about his struggle to get out of “the hood” while he dances around in gold chains means nothing to me. What is he doing to help the people who are still stuck there? People that wealthy could have a big impact on policies, but they do nothing. Imagine what they could donate to an inner city school. Imagine the good they could do with their wealth.

    Instead, they need to support the pimp lifestyle. I mean… is a life worth living if you can’t drink bourbon out of a diamond-studded chalice?

    Of course not.

  4. amberfireinus Says:

    Oh how I understand. I dont disagree that our society works to keep the poor in their place. I dont doubt that for a moment.

    What irks me is the way that these young black people choose to spend any money that they do have (trying to emulate their hero rappers). Is it to feed and educate their children so that they can get out of the poverty? No, they spend it on gold teeth and an expensive car (a pimped out ride) and have no social or moral responsibility. They cause their own problems and then blame them on others. It amazes me.

    And another thing I would like to know. What is glamourous about living a gang banger lifestyle? These young men end up in jail or dead, or in a low paying crappy job for the rest of their lives. They get the joy of what? Killing, dealing drugs, and robbing? Then they sing about it and share it with the world because they think it is something that they should be proud of? Last time I checked, drug dealing and being a pimp (let alone murder) were things to be ashamed of and something you’d never want your grandmother to know about you. Besides, being a pimp is the worst kind of lazy coward. Pimps prey on weaker people, beat them up so that they can provide the pimp money. You are no man at all if you do that.

    In Wales, UK before the war in the 20’s and 30’s all of the miners knew that they were poor and illiterate. They didnt want their children to have to go down into the mines. So every single extra penny was spent building libraries and creating education funds for the smartest of these children to be educated. The young adult would receive “The golden purse”. This was to help pay for them to get educated so they could bring their knowledge back and help their people. It doesnt take a whole lot of sense to figure that one out. My husband’s grandfather was one of those recipients. He went on to be an engineer and built many famous tunnels that are still in use today. There is a tunnel named after him in India. When he made his fortune, he set up scholarship funds for several other young bright people, employed many, and helped the people who helped to give him a start in the world.

    As for these guys stating that before the 80’s there were no roles for black people on tv. Seems to me that there were quite a few. Starting from the 60’s . Lets name some off the top of my 40 year old brain without Google. The Mod Squad, Ironside, Sanford and son, The Jeffersons, Gordon on Sesame Street, Ohura on Star Trek, Good Times, Soul Train, there are many more faces that are coming to my head, but I cant name them.

    My point is, everyone can sit here and say poor me Im being kept down by this or that. I can say that I am being kept down because I am female and disabled. The system hates me. Do I? No. I educate myself. I work for the things that I want and need and life. I don’t complain, and I don’t blame anyone.

    They have their health……… to someone like me… that is everything.

  5. 06jk Says:

    The thrill of the “gang banger” lifestyle offers an alternative to the predominantly white world. You get the support of your “brothers” and the promise of making money by selling drugs (an important point because so many of them can’t really get jobs due to their lack of education). Masculinity also comes from it and that sense of belonging. In a way, they create their own subculture so that they can prosper in it, instead of constantly failing in America’s popular culture.

  6. amberfireinus Says:

    Growing up in Los Angeles, I know why people become Gang Bangers. If you read how I grew up as a poor Mexican child you will see that I am not so out of touch and lilly white as to not understand the social problems that are faced, and the reasons why.

    When I was growing up in Los Angeles, Mansion neighborhoods backed up to “The Projects”. These young people would see all of this wealth that Los Angeles had to offer but felt they could never obtain for themselves. So they banded together to create their own pack. Steal it from the rich, and redistribute it. I have 3 close friends I grew up with that went to jail etc. for this thinking.

    I am with you when you say that these wealthy people could make a difference. They could sing about how really shitty and wasteful it is to be in a gang. Waste of your life, your mind and your talent. They can do talk shows and interviews and reach out to their young fans. Show them the right way. Tell them that staying in school is the way to success. Tell them that being a man is more than carrying a gun, its about carrying responsibility. If you father a child, you support it, and raise it.

    There are a few out there who do this. D.L. Hughly (sp) I heard his stand up and alot of it was about this subject. Chris Rock was another one who added this theme to his show.

    The fact is, Id like to hear more from the Will Smith’s of this world. The people who have built good lives for themselves and show a positive role model to these young people coming up.

    Anyway… thats just MY opinion… worthless though it may be….

  7. amberfireinus Says:

    P.S. Great Post!

  8. 06jk Says:

    Not worthless 🙂

  9. Jason Says:

    Wow, that was the craziest amount of bullshit I have ever heard. I was more entertained at the half-ass explanations on wealth and the black plight that I forgot that what the point of the blog was. I will not go back and re-read, cause there is no point. I need no more crazy, i am locked and stocked here.

  10. 06jk Says:

    You are ridiculous. Hahaha we will have to discuss this comment at work tomorrow.
    Also… I would love to see some of YOUR writings sometime.
    Hit me up, J-money!

  11. Jennifer Says:

    You should have seen The Top 25 Bad Things that Happened to Black Society. That wasn’t the title but it was something like it. Most of the entries were stupid things that had little relevance to black history. Others were so obscure I had to look them up. O.J’s trial was listed. Seems to me I remember a lot of black people thinking it was a good thing when he was acquitted.

  12. 06jk Says:

    Hahahaha good point.

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  14. Jami Says:

    wtf?! if you don’t like black history month don’t watch it on t.v…we get one month and its the shortest month of the year. Gosh get over it….

  15. Jami Says:

    and….we don’t look for your approval and or appreciation during this month…its a time for us to celebrate and remember all the people who fought and died for us to vote, eat at diners,sit where we chose. Maybe VH1 did portray an ignorant idea of black history but watch BET where it doesnt…Black people aren’t the only ones rapping about hoes and pimping….we don’t all consider ourselves products of our enviornments. There are a great amount of blacks who go to college, who work for more than minimum wage, we don’t all drive “pimped out” cars…we aren’t all on welfare! Black people aren’t the only group of people who replace s with z…its a slang text lingo thing that’s taken over…im black and do I like when people call me “african american” HELL NO! I’m not african! But some people choose to be asian american,african american etc. Because they hold a lot of pride for their descendants! I don’t think its fair to ask them to choose because they live in America. Face it we all live in the same country but in different worlds! And not just mentally! I don’t approve of rappers being ignorant but hell that’s what they choose to do so what are we going to do about it..bitch and complain…not going to change anything! I can’t afford a lot of things but do I consider myself without….not at all. I am rich in spirit and grateful for where God has brought me…just 40 years ago I couldn’t have been friends openly with white people but I can now….and that is why I celebrate this month! Stop complaining…all black don’t think whites are out to get us….its not something I ever think about. A lot of you just sound envious for nothing…

  16. 06jk Says:

    You obviously didn’t read my entire post. I never said anything along those lines. You are making a huge generalization here that has nothing to do with my post. You also chose to generalize all white people together, something you just condemned people for doing.

    I obviously used this post as a way to commemorate and honor the accomplishments of the black community, as well as their unity, solidarity, and HUMANITY. I was angry with VH1 for demeaning the importance of the month, turning it into a big joke that plays into all of our stereotypes and hatred toward others… why did that upset you again?

    I really have nothing to “get over”. I am from a poor neighborhood in Chicago, so I know first hand what poverty looks like. I really beg you to re read this post, not just pick and choose whatever you want in order to make a fuss over the Internet.

  17. Skalgeget Says:

    Cool post, I did not thought reading this would be so great when I klicked at your title with link!

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