Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Pink Side of HipHop: Pimped Out & Pissed Off

Well it seems that Crunchy Black done did it now. All that talk about how hard it is out here to be a pimp has come back and pimped slap him right in the kisser. And surely if it had not won that dang Oscar, his song, like the movie (Hustle & Flow) in which it was featured, would have vanished right back into the blight realm of pop culture from whence it sprung without anyone so much as even remembering the lyrics or being concerned with how the social ramifications of pimp culture affect women, especially Black and Latina women. I mean we weren’t mesmerized or affected by the performances, or for that matter, the plot, of H&F like we were when we had seen other flicks like The Matrix, Daughters of the Dust or Do The Right Thing. And as far as that song was concerned it may have had a catchy hook that we couldn’t get out of our heads, but we all knew and agreed it was a horrible rap. No? The rhymes were simplistic, Mother Goose-like fodder that would never have the roof, the roof, the roof on fire. But real life is stranger than fiction and so when Crunchy Black and his Three 6 Mafia crew trounced the podium accepting their honor for having best song in a movie, it forced us to actually think about this rap for more than 2 minutes and consider what it may say about us as Americans-- that we honor a song that makes the exploitation of women sound so dutiful and sentimental. And it's when we started thinking deeply, that us so called beeyotches started to brew... with anger and disgust. First up, writer Jill Nelson and she’s fuming:

Recently, a grown-up, apparently sane Black woman suggested that I was being overly sensitive because I found the very words "It's hard out here for a pimp" to be absurd--let alone the idea that a song by that name would win an Academy Award in 2006. Couldn't I understand, she asked, that I was taking the words out of context? After all, she continued, what about the pimp's perspective? The pimp's perspective? Correct me if I'm wrong, but last time I looked, pimps were predators and parasites who didn't work. Men who made a living off the sexual labor of women they controlled through abuse and violence. It seems to me that being a pimp is kind of an easy, if reprehensible, way to make a living.... Call me a snob or a hater or whatever you'd like, but I've had enough. I'm bored with, tired of, and disgusted by the overwhelming majority of hip-hop music and culture... I don't think it's OK that Nelly sells pimp juice or Snoop pornography, and yes, I like Kanye West, but his progressive lyrics are a drop in the huge bucket of hip-hop mediocrity. Maybe what breaks my heart most of all is that the uncritical embrace of hip-hop culture by so many of us--and the attempts to dismiss those who speak out against its misogyny, violence, and materialism--are a manifestation of the profound cynicism and hopelessness that define so much of contemporary American life.
On last Sunday’s CBS Morning Show, actress and media commentator, Nancy Giles was simply fed up and pissed off:
“Watching these hoodlums and poser pimps I was at first embarrassed and then I became angry. What makes this aspect of Black life so entertaining? We’re steppin’ fetchin ourselves and I can’t get down with that!
Well when I saw Crunchy snag the award I was just as shocked as Dolly and Latifah and thought the group’s acceptance was hilarious. Honestly it took me a minute to get pissed off. I don’t even take the Academy Awards seriously when it comes to (dis)regarding Black folks. I mean these are the same knuckleheads that honored Denzel for his performance in Training Day and not Malcolm X, honored Whoopi for Ghost and not Color Purple, honored Halle for Monster’s Ball and not Dorothy Dandridge. I thought it was clear that the ignorance didn’t end when the credits rolled. It wasn’t until I realized that people were actually talking about Hard For A Pimp being a legit song, a good rap even that I was taken aback.

Poet Latasha N. Diggs has her theories and breaks this quagmire down along class lines:
Some have called this battle The Talented Tenth vs. the Niggas. Well, one could say that we are angry that a cat named Crunchy Black got an award for portraying a figure in our culture we least support.
Latasha then switches gears though and wonders if we aren’t all pimping ourselves:
Aren't we all pimps in some right? We give props to folks who hustle and flow into the academia, get their papers and pimp the system so fools can get genius awards, NEAs and homes of their own. And in the realm of music, pop or experimental, don't a mofo gotta pimp themselves to get on... ain't we pimping ourselves on myspace?
For the record I think pimping and hustling are fundamentally different than being driven, ingenious and savvy. Yeah maybe you can argue that pimps are savvy and word hard, but you'll never hear anyone say that um, Oprah Winfrey is a great pimp. The word pimp is rooted historically in something specific and like the word “nigger” I just don't believe you can dismiss all that lynching, raping, death and pain to just use it casually. But I do like how Latasha flips the script and turns the mirror around. I don’t know about myspace, but I do think the folks behind BET’s Uncut video series, specifically the President and COO, Debra Lee, is guilty of pimping. And yes I’m talking about pimping in the Hustle & Flow sense with butt naked girls shaking what their mama gave them. They may not be turning tricks in the back room but these girls are being screwed just the same. I think it’s time to pick up where those Spelman girls left off and at least send Ms. Lee an email or two to let her know we’re pimped out and pissed off.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, I wish that bloglet actually worked so I could get notications when you update. I had to switch to feedblitz for my own blogs. They let you automatically transfer your defunct bloget subscribers.

3/28/2006 2:44 AM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi, I think the point you raised in this post is valid.
As far as exploiting is concerned, I find it always wrong.
But then again, in England the radio would beep the word "muthafuckin'" and not P.I.M.P. during 50's song...

P.S.: Kanye is taking himself very seriously. And his last album is garbage (except for the Just Blaze song)!

3/28/2006 6:26 AM

 
Blogger Cocoa Girl said...

Pimps Up is a classic......!

Thanks for the ideas...though I am TOTALLY late!

3/28/2006 3:57 PM

 
Blogger Hot Grrrl said...

anonymous- thanks for the tip b/c that bloglet issue was just something else pissing me off! I am planning to put everything on thehotness.com where i have listbuilder but until then feedblitz it is!
antonio- interesting point about censoring of 50's song. iam very serious about petitioning against BET's uncut. I hope more men like you will back me and then wow.. i went to your blog and see you speak about hiphop in italian... what the ?!? Benisimo, Io parlo italiano anche. Non scrivo molto bene e non po ricordarsi molto della lingua in generale, ma io tenga migliore a leggendo il vostro Website. Vivete in Italia? Forse potere essere la mia guida urbana a Firenze!:)

3/28/2006 4:41 PM

 

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