Asher Roth x Don Imus x Nappy Headed Ho’s

Apparently, Asher Roth was recently on the Rutgers campus
and tweeted that he was hanging out with some
“Nappy Headed
Hoe’s.” He then tried to clean it up and recant
by saying that “he
was trying to make fun of Don Imus.”
He apologize as well.

Recently my post, “Michael Baisden is a Misogynist Pig“,
ran on Racialicious. The post is about the fact that Michael
Baisden stated on his radio show that a wife “should just
lay there and take it”, if her husband want’s to have sex
and she doesn’t. One of the commenter’s, “Nina”
who was open, honest and thoughtful in several her comments,
said that she felt that Baisden was being hyperbolic. She writes,

Perhaps because I think of him as being like Chris Rock, someone who exaggerates but often has a bit of wisdom at the core of the shit talking, what I hear is the kind of thing many men say when alone. And there is the risk that he goes to far OR that listeners will take it as gospel and not hear it as hyperbole. I hear it as hyperbole, my brother and friends hear it as hyperbole but that doesnt mean everyone does.

I responded saying,

Let me ask you this, do you think Don Imus was being Hyperbolic when he called the Rutgers women?s team Nappy Headed Ho?s?

If he wasn?t being hyperbolic and was being racist, why should Imus not be tolerated but Baisdens comments are hyperbolic?
Often times, I have found that people hide behind the defense of laughter when in reality it constitutes hate speech.

Can?t sprinkle sugar on shit and call it ice cream.

Having just wrote these comments on Wednesday,
you can imagine my surprise at
seeing Asher Roth say the same thing,
on Twitter, on Thursday.

Why should Asher Roth be singled out when Black men call us
all the time?

I am not saying that Asher should not be criticized for what he has done
but we need to keep it even and acknowledge that many Black rappers
and Black men, and for that matter Black women, refer to Black women,
reflexively, as “hoes.”

Perhaps, the underlying assumption in the Black community
at large is that Black women, belong to Black men, that we do not have to
freedom to do what we wish with our bodies, without being subjected
to public scrutiny within our community.

Shoot, I love The Clipse, and I am excited about their new song
with Kanye and their new CD, but thangs havn’t been the same since their
“Tree Huggin Bitch” skit.

In some ways, I feel that if Black people want White folks to
take racism
seriously then Black folks need to start taking
sexism seriously

The elephant in the room, as far as I am concerned about rap music
is that in the same way that America no longer needs Detroit, rap
no longer needs Black people or Black listeners

Both the White American and global consumption of Black death and materialism
is part and parcel of Hip Hop. It may be hard for us to admit it, but it is
what it is.

In fact, what we have failed to admit publicly is that rap, by and large
is an opportunity to consume Black death, and the Black female body.

In the essay, “Get Rich and Die Trying”, Matthew Birkhold explains
the relationship between Hip Hop, capitalism and the White and
Black consumption of Black death. He writes,

S. Craig Watkins correctly remarks that the extraordinary
success of The Chronic signaled the incorporation of hip
hop into mainstream America. Following in the footsteps of
The Chronic, the years 1993-94 saw the release of debut
records by Nas, the Wu Tang Clan, and the Notorious B.I.G.

All three albums, which all contained descriptive stories
about selling drugs were largely hailed as classics as soon
as they were released and, with the exception of Nas, had
tremendous crossover appeal. However what Watkins does
not point out is that the incorporation of hip hop into mainstream
America was made possible by white consumption of
black men celebrating black on black murder, selling crack,
capitalism, misogyny, homophobia and a rejection of cultural
nationalism. Importantly, during this era, hip hop was not yet
overwhelmingly saturated with drug raps and many rappers
took cultural nationalist positions.

For example, artists such as Brand Nubian, A Tribe called
Quest and De La Soul all released albums that were hailed as
classics during this era. However, these groups did not cause hip hop
to crossover. Because the purchasing power of young whites
created the success of The Chronic and a lack of crossover
success for Brand Nubian, The Chronic was emulated by artists and
labels around the country. As an example, the success of the
Notorious B.I.G and Bad Boy Records is worth examining closer.

Yesterday, @Jarobione further nailed this sentiment when he tweeted that,

jarobione @fwmj lol…. hell no!!!! just making a parallel. Hip-Hop is like a sleazy strip mall with one health food store…lmao

In researching this post, I found an interesting article by Bakari Kitwana
titled, “The Cotton Club:
Black-conscious hip-hop deals with an
overwhelmingly white live audience.” He writes
about Hip Hop’s white audience,

Boots says he first noticed the shift one night in 1995, in
a concert on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon. Opening for
Coolio, he stepped center stage and grabbed the mic as
usual, but then saw something unusual about the audience:
a standing-room-only sea of
whitness. Some were almost
dressed like farmers, he recalls. Others had their heads
shaved. “Damn, skinheads are out there,” he thought.
“They can’t be here to see us.” But the frantic crowd
began chanting along rhyme for rhyme.

Zion, MC of the independent rap group Zion-I, agrees the
similarities to jazz are striking: “Jazz went white, then
Black, then white again. At this point African Americans
aren’t the ones supporting live jazz [performances]. It’s
the same in many ways with independent hip-hop. I’ve
been to shows where the only Black people in the place
are onstage. It’s kind of surreal.”

“I love Boots Riley’s music, but in general people in the
‘hood are not checking for the Coup,” says Brother Ali,
part owner of the Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective
Rhymesayers Entertainment. “It’s hard enough to get some
of our people to go to a Kweli show. It has a lot to do with the
fact that the emphasis on the culture has been taken
away. It’s just the industry now and it’s sold back to us?it’s
not ours anymore.
It used to be anti-establishment, off the radar, counterculture. People in the streets are now being told
what hip-hop is and what it looks like by TV.”

According to industry insiders and most media outlets, though,
the shifting audience isn’t just a Black consciousness thing?it’s
prevalent in mainstream hip-hop as well.
Whites run hip-hop, they
say, from the business executives at major labels to the suburban
teen consumers. But the often-intoned statistic claiming that 70
cent of American hip-hop sells to white people may cover
up more than it reveals.

No hard demographic study has ever been conducted on
hip-hop’s consumers
. And Nielsen SoundScan, the chief
reference source on music sales, by its own admission does
not break down its over-the-counter totals by race. “Any
conclusions drawn from our data that reference race involve
a great deal of conjecture,” a SoundScan spokesperson insists.

Wendy Day, founder of the Rap Coalition, a hip-hop
artist-advocacy group, says she’s attempted to pair up with
several popular hip-hop magazines on such a study, but none
would commit to help fund it. When she asked an executive at
a major record label, she got an even more interesting
response: “He didn’t see the value in writing that kind of check,”
she says. “Because rap is selling so well, he didn’t see the value
in knowing who his market is. ‘It’s not broken, Wendy,’
he said.
‘We don’t need to fix it.’ ”

This is relevant to me, because when I walk to the streets,
minding my own business, I, along with other Black women
that I observe, are treated, by default, as nappy headed hoe’s
by some Black men.

Some of the interactions are fine, sincere and are warmly
received compliments. Most though, constitute harassment.

We want to walk the street and be. It would make for a more just
sustainable and democratic society if we are able to do so.

With that in mind, last Sunday, I was eating some Mentos, walking
to the train station on 7th avenue to the 2/3 on 42nd street. There
were some young men near the entrance selling candy. They were
wearing skinny jeans, fitted’s, tee shirts and a purple
scarves, you know THE uniform. Here is how the exchange went,

Young man: Ms. do you want some candy? No, no thank you
Young man:Can, I have some of your candy?

I keep walking.

Young Man: “Can I have some of the candy between your legs?”

I stopped at the foot of the steps, raised my hand to God, asked for a
right thought or action
, then proceeded to walk down the steps.

Moments like this serve as a connection between the music and our day to day
lives and I wonder what it will take in order to get others to do the same.

I wrote this listening to 10 Jay Electronica songs on repeat.
I may get hate mail, but you know what. F-ck it.
I write this for the Black Girls & Boys in East Oakland that people
consider disposable.
Tionna Smalls on Mine.


Why are white men held to some higher standard
in terms of calling Black women 50 million hoe’s?

Why is it so hard to admit that hip hop by and large
involves selling the death of Black men and the bodies
of Black women for White, Black and arguably global consumption?

Why is it so much fun saying “You can’t sprinkle sugar on
and call it ice cream?”

Martin Luther King jr., Tionna Smalls and Me

About month ago, I cut my hand with a razor sharp stainless
steel Japanese cutting knife at about 6:30pm.
I was cutting green
onions for a fish soup when
I sliced through my finger and finger nail. Ouch.
Snapper, bell peppers, turmeric, red potatoes and cracked pepper. Delish.

At 11pm, Filthy called to check on me. I told him the wound was discolored
and still bleeding a little,
so he insisted that I go to the hospital.
I didn’t want to. He was in another
city, my momma is in another
state, and I didn’t want to be in
at the hospital alone.

Rather than pout like a big baby, I grabbed a pillow, some Cheez-its
and got a ride to ER.

I don’t have health care.

While sitting in ER, I began reading Martin Luther King’s Why We Can’t
. We pay a lot of lip service to Dr. King, but that man has
a way with words that can make you want to commit. I was particularly
moved by,

Moreover, I am cognizant of the interrelatedness
of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta
and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an
inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. Never again can
we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea.
Anyone who lives in the United States can never be considered an
outsider within its bounds.

I hope you can see why was moved by his words. Given the state
of our economy, these words resonated with me.

So, I left ER at 2 am and was struck by the fact that there were so more
people many in the waiting room, about ten, most of whom where young
men and women.

Something changed in me.

Every since that night I have had this profound feeling that I should
be doing more.

I think it has something to do with the fact that
the day before I cut my finger, I learned about Tionna Smalls.

Tionna is that deal. She is straight ‘hood, committed, action oriented
and completely unashamed of who she is and where she comes from.

Tionna had a column on Gawker
, which is known for its NYC media
incrowd snarkiness. Apparently, Gawker fired her by e-mail
and then turned around and reprinted her statement. What I loved
about the statement was her matter of factness. She writes,

On December 31, 2007, Gawker’s owner/managing editor, Nick Denton, informed me through an email that Gawker was going into a different direction and that my beloved column, “Ask Tionna“, was no longer being published on the site. He left his number for me to call and emailed me the news twice, incase I didn’t understand what the email meant…….

I received the job from Gawker after I wrote an email to them regarding featuring me on their site because I was a motivated black girl from East New York, who wrote this fabulous, self-published book that had plenty of grammatical biscuits in it. To my surprise, they featured me the next day and made fun of my ass so much that it made me laugh (even though I was the subject). The commentators made so much fun of this “ghetto ass black girl” that the editors of Gawker stalked my blog site Talk Dat Ish ( I think it was amazing to them that this girl from the ghetto would write an email about herself and act as if it was coming from someone else. People were just outraged and excited about me, all at the same time.

I must admit when I started my column, I was a grammatical-mess (still am) but my voice was unique and my advice was real and soon the uppity folks at Gawker welcomed me with open arms. My pay at Gawker was minimal but I thought and still feel that it was a great opportunity. If it wasn’t for Gawker, many of you would never know who I was. I mean, you would have found out sooner or later, but it wouldn’t have been so quick. I learned that I was Gawker’s little secret when my column came out on Tuesdays at 6PM, but it didn’t bother me because my numbers always stayed between 8,000-20,000 views. That is an awful lot for someone who has never had a job in the industry. I know I got the job because Gawker knew that it would bring numbers and people would laugh at the little Black girl that could but let me explain something. I am the one who is laughing. I now have great connects in the media industry, a contract to sign tomorrow for a reality show of my life on the come up and in the entertainment business, I have genuine fans who loves me and my work, and I have dreams that cant be erased by no one not even Gawker.

Gawker didn’t make me, it only made me better. Sure they didn’t give me any notice, and leaves me to save up the little $1200, I have in the bank but you know what I have other bigger problems that the CEO who resides in SOHO could never understand or relate to. My cousin just died of AIDS and cops just killed a man (in a buy and bust ordeal) right around the corner from my house. I may rock Gucci sneakers and aviator lenses but listen, I am still bounded by the hood and I cant move out of it until my money get right and I am ok with that because without struggle, there isn’t any success but listen no one, not one person in this entertainment industry can stop me because I am a serious person to play games with.

What struck me the most about her was how real she was
and how she wouldn’t let anyone shame her.

I saw myself in her.

This became clearer to me after I read the closing to her Gawker
statement. She writes,

Most of all, I am a born leader who understands that it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you going baby. I can sit and beg for a chance to show my talent; hell, I could be like other woman who is trying to make it big in the world and blow balls for cheddar but that is not what my ancestors died for…

They died so we could go out there and make it for ourselves. They died so many of you people who never stepped foot in the ghetto could say, Tionna Smalls lives in East New York, and so it can’t be that bad. It is for that little girl that says if Tionna Smalls wrote a book, so can I. So as Robert Frost would say, there’s two paths (roads), which one are you going to take?

And my answer would definitely be the road on top because this black girl is going places. So please watch out for me and remember, I am still here to answer your advice, just hit me up and I will help you out.

Wishing you nothing but Hard Dick and Bubblegum,

Tionna Smalls

I came across Tionna at a turning point.

I have been struggling with the process of self promotion,
with relaunching the blog, with writing under by given name,
with marketing myself as a writer and web content manager.

Its hard. Holding oneself out publicly to be something requires
both humility, discipline and courage. It also, and perhaps most
requires the willingness to accept criticism
the way I accept praise. I have the capacity to do these things
most of the time but not all the time. When I don’t, I pray for it.

When I read about Tionna, I realized that we are similar in that
we see the work that we do as being important because
we want the girls who come from where we come from to see
that they CAN do something.

My whole crew, Jonzey, TR, Latoya,, Filthy and Ann have all
been crazy supportive in getting me to recognize that I have
a voice and to step out on faith and claim it.

On the other hand, there is a lot of money in the game of
trashing Black women. When I look at my bank account,
I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I haven’t thought
about running a site like that

But when I think about MLK’s words, I can only think,
that ain’t me. I need to embrace my lane and stop playing.

Thank you for reading, for commenting and your support.
It is in this blog that I have learned to develop my voice.
Feel free to digg, retweet or just ask questions.

This post felt good.