Thank you for proving my point

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 1, 2007

&uot;Everyone is a prisoner of his own experiences. No one can eliminate prejudices, just recognize them.&uot; – Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965)

Happy New Year to all of our readers.

I hope you and your’s managed to get through the end of the year in good health and in good spirits.

Now let us get 2007 started with a bang.

One of the most popular rappers in the world today is named Lil’ John.

His name has come up in one of my previous columns.

Lil’ John is one of the music industry’s hottest record producers, and you have certainly heard quite a bit of his music on television and/or radio in the form of rap songs or commercial jingles.

For those of you who are not familiar with his name, he is the guy with the never-ending dreadlocks that likes to scream &uot;Yeah!&uot; in the middle of a song for no reason.

I do not like Lil’ John the artist.

Musically, his tracks are actually pretty good, but from a standpoint of lyrics and social value he is despicable and part of what I believe is the systematic &uot;dumbing down&uot; of black youth.

Of course tens of millions of music fans disagree with me as evidenced by Lil’ John’s bank account.

Still, the lyrics and culture that has been propagandized by Lil’ John and most rappers who are just getting started in the industry are what I believe attribute to the &uot;get rich or die trying&uot; attitude that causes so many young people to view a life of crime and decadence as a prerequisite to a successful music career.

I especially believe that young black women have been the biggest victims of this de-education of young blacks, as most of the music disguises promiscuity and obscenity as empowerment.

Early rappers spoke about uplifting the race and educating the masses despite being faced with a climate of non-exclusion concerning inner city youth.

Artists like Public Enemy, KRS ONE (Knowledge Reigns Supreme Over Nearly Everyone), Queen Latifah and X-Clan fought vigorously to create space for young black youth in the entertainment industry.

In my opinion, today’s youth have been suckered into using that space to bring crime and corruption to their community.

That is my opinion, and while there will be many rap music and Lil’ John fans who disagree with me, I do not expect a single one of them to threaten me with bodily harm via a phone call or an e-mail.

Which is in stark contrast to the response I got from Elvis fans after last week’s column.

Here’s the thing though.

I had not even thought about Elvis until I saw a reporter on FOX News (figures), while in the middle of speaking about James Brown’s accomplishments, try to compare Brown to Elvis in terms of musical accolades and talent.

I’ll bet you not one Elvis fan who took me to task mailed a single letter or made one phone call to FOX News and asked why they would belittle the memory of Brown by trying to make his accomplishments seem miniscule to Elvis’.

That was that reporter’s opinion and what I wrote in my column last week was my opinion.

Absolutely every black person that I have spoken to, or that has called me or sent me an e-mail in response to last week’s column agreed with me.

There was not as much as a consensus when it came to John Wayne fans as many blacks still love John Wayne movies.

Instead of getting angry with me, why don’t you ask the black people whom you know and work with if they agree with what I said about Elvis?

I bet you would be surprised with the responses you get.

Which brings me to the my main point.

It seems that the bigger problem about some of my columns is not my propensity to say what is on my mind, but whom I am speaking of.

Whenever I speak about black people who value materialism over education, I am courageous.

When I stated that I thought blacks in Ahoskie should not try to use the race card to bully the Ahoskie Town Council into a street name change, I was a visionary with a grasp on the big picture.

When I chastised black parents for not attending the political forum for the school board election, I had my finger on the heart of the problem in the black community.

But lo and behold I had the audacity to speak ill of Elvis Presley.

The problem there is that even though I was just giving my opinion, and as I noted it is an opinion shared by every other black person that I associate with; I obviously picked the wrong person to speak ill of.

Why is that?

What makes Elvis so untouchable?

There is an urban legend that may or may not be true. It states that says Elvis once said, &uot;A black man isn’t good enough to shine my shoes.&uot;

I never heard Elvis say it, but I have read many articles that discuss the rumor.

I even did a mock interview with Elvis several years ago where I had him reincarnated as a bass player in a reggae band.

In my fictitious interview, I asked Elvis about the rumor and he said that he did not remember saying it and there were a lot of things he had done as a youth that he thought better of as an adult.

Of course I never interviewed Elvis, but in my make-believe interview

I gave Elvis a pass for recognizing the error of his youthful indiscretions.

So obviously the problem is not Elvis, but rather Curly Morris for having to nerve to say something unflattering about a world-renowned musician.

But I just said something to the same effect about Lil’ John and guess what?

Nobody is going to threaten my life because of it even though many of Lil’ John’s fans carry guns, wear gold teeth and call themselves thugs.

So, just who are Elvis fans really and why should I be on the lookout for them?

My point exactly.