hip hop wars-tricia rose

“Understanding and explaining are not the same as justifying and celebrating, and this is the crucial distinction we must make if we stand a fighting chance in this perpetual storm. The former-understanding and explaining-are an integral part of solving the problems with hip hop; the latter-justifying and celebrating-are lazy, reactionary, dangerous, and lacking in progressive political courage. Yes, hip hop’s excesses will continue to be used as a scapegoat; but we must develop our own progressive critique, not just stand around defending utter insanity because our enemies attack it. The mere fact that our enemies attack something we do does not make our actions worthy of defense.” (29)

“In this climate, one comment too many about hip hop’s sexism by any of these progressive writers could be interpreted as an anti-hip hop voice. Yet, at the same time, if they don’t sufficiently challenge the sexism in hip hop and constantly refer to other areas in which it arises in American culture, then they become apologists, serving the agendas both of the artists with the worst records of insulting women and of the corporations generating profits. This dynamic has contributed to the marginalization of many progressive black feminist voices that would otherwise force us to attend to sexism, not simply complain about disrespect.” (128)


5 thoughts on “hip hop wars-tricia rose

  1. the rest: http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll

    a few more (just in case):

    “Illuminating the injuries to black people would highlight how the lack of affordable, accessible child care in poor black neighborhoods forces poor working parents to leave their children in unsupervised environments-a situation that researchers have shown increases the risk of sexual abuse of young women and children. How is it that so many of these disgusted critics have virtually nothing to say about the depths of this kind of structural racism? Why are so many critics, black ones included, so outraged about black behavior and yet so very blind to, and bored with, the reasons for black pain and alienation?” (90)

    “This idea that we can successfully or meaningfully “educate” or “represent” poor black people while standing on the necks of black women is a fundamentally abusive form of community vision and education. It can create incredible levels of dissonance that lead men and women to think that one can promote the subordination and sexual exploitation of black women and still be radical. On Jay-Z’s 2007 CD America Gangster, his song “Say Hello” boasts that he doesn’t think Al Sharpton represents him-that when the public schools are fixed and when incidents like the Jena Six (a 2006 case in which people protested excessive criminal charges leveled at black male teenagers) stop happening, he’ll stop using the word “bitch”. When all structural and personal acts of racism end, then he’ll stop promoting ideas that profoundly demean black women. This argument is blatantly illogical: Black women are not responsible for injustices in education and incidents like the Jena Six. If he’s looking to punish those perpetrators, he ought to start talking and rapping about white racism and classism. Defending his “right” to call black women “bitches” because racial and class oppression exists represents a rage imploding on a community that pretends to be politically resistant. This is just the kind of sexism against black women that hip hop artists are responsible for, and it’s the ind that we have to challenge and resist.” (161)

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