Beyond the Bling: A Look at Hip Hop, African-American Leadership & The Black Church: Implications to African-American Youth Development
Hip Hop, Republicans & Energy Infrastructure Investment Opportunities
Imagine Jay-Z and Vice President Dick Cheney discussing how Halliburton could partner with a consortium of Hip Hop artists to finance electricity transmission lines. Imagine 50 Cent or other major rappers who started hip hop music trends and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Billy Tauzin discussing liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports and pipeline investments. Maybe it isn’t so farfetched. Instead of buying 20 cars and millions of dollars of bling bling, maybe millionaire rappers should consider investing in oil, coal, electric lines and gas.
Since it appears that Democrats have largely ceded the energy sector to Republicans and Republicans have ceded the black community to Democrats, some marketplace cross-pollination might be in order. The black community needs economic development and the energy sector needs massive investment dollars. To observe the glitter from the bling and the dollars from the songs they sing (or rhyme), The Williams Companies and Duke Energy should be talking to the man who started hip hop music, Dr. Dre. These might seem like odd pairings, but America’s strength is in its innovative entrepreneurship.
The energy sector is the new Wild, Wild West: electricity deregulation, electricity transmission and distribution, natural gas pipeline needs, black outs, Enron, air pollution control equipment requirements, increasing oil imports, SUVs (and rappers like SUVs—the bigger the better), small-scale off-grid photovoltaic, wind energy and hydro projects (renewables portfolio), nuclear power and nuclear/hydrogen/desalination drinking water plants, and the innovative financing structures that will accompany America’s neo-energy renaissance. The neo-energy marketplace cowboys just might be Exelon and Nellie, Eminem and ChevronTexaco, PG& E and P. Diddy (that has a ring to it), Pharrell and ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch/Shell and Murphy Lee. Actually, a consortium of multimillionaire hip hop artists – the artists who started hip hop music - and energy companies might form the appropriate limited liability corporation to serve America’s energy needs, increase the quarterly bottom line and clean the air.
Hip Hop Environmental Issues:
Poverty, Ignorance and Lack of Opportunity
"The tragic death of Jam Master Jay should serve as a reminder of the condition of poverty, ignorance and lack of opportunity inherent in our urban communities across the country," said Russell Simmons, Co-Founder of Island Def Jam Music Group and Chairman of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network. Statistics on hip hop music show that "young black men are being murdered in Hollis, Queens and elsewhere every day, but no one ever hears about them because they aren't famous. What the music reflects is the environment in which people live. Hopefully, the death of Jam Master Jay will remind us all that we need to address the disease plaguing our urban communities and not the symptons." (from Blackelectorate.com))
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME: The Quantum Mechanics of Hip-Hop
Hip-hop started in the early 1970s in the South Bronx as an alternative to violence.
Initially, hip-hop music was not violent and denounced brand mongering. When the hip-hop moguls, the artists (who started hip hop music), started out, they were ignored and underestimated by mainstream companies. So hip-hop entrepreneurs started doing business for themselves and came up with names like FUBU (For Us By Us) -- a black fashion label. Now, that phrase could be rewritten to read Big Business Buying Us, as the biggest brands in the world tap hip-hop's youth appeal. Hip-hop has gone from fighting the power to being the power. Of course, not all businesses are ready to openly embrace hip-hop. Much of corporate America still hides behind euphemisms such as ‘trendy’ or ‘urban.’ It's just a code word for black.
But the emergence of Gangsta Rap from Los Angeles in the early 1990s hardened hip-hop, giving rise to a thug ethos that's still prevalent. An intense East Coast-West Coast rivalry left two particularly prominent hip-hop artists dead: In 1996, Los Angeles' Tupac Shakur was murdered, and less than a year later, New York's Notorious B.I.G. was gunned down in an act considered to be payback.
On the plus side, hip-hop lingo has penetrated popular culture. For instance, hip-hop has given ‘bling bling’ to the world.
On the plus side, hip-hop lingo has penetrated popular culture. For instance, hip-hop has given bling bling to the world.
Murder in the USA in 2003
ENVIRONMENTAL SUICIDE in Chocolate City
Murder Still Up in SE DC
Statistics in hip hop music show homicides increased dramatically throughout the metropolitan area in 2002.
Although the 2001 homicide total for the District was down from 2000, the number of homicides east of the Anacostia River was little changed. The Washington, DC Metropolitan Area is probably a good barometer for the rest of the country.
The District ended the year with 262 slayings, a 12 percent increase from the 233 killings in 2001, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. It is the city's highest homicide tally since 1997, when 301 persons were slain.
Police in Prince George's County recorded 137 homicides last year, a 17 percent increase from the 2001 tally of 117 killings. The county had 71 slayings in 2000.
Montgomery County closed 2002 with 32 slayings, up from 19 in 2001 and the most since 1994, according to county police. Six of the killings occurred during the three-week sniper attacks that harried the area in October.
Fairfax County reported an increase in homicides from 12 in 2001 to 20 in 2002, one of which occurred during the sniper attacks.
Arlington County had six slayings last year, compared with three in 2001.
Statistics on hip hop music show that Alexandria was the only local jurisdiction to see a decrease in homicides, from three in 2001 to two last year.
Black-on-black murder is the most serious environmental issue in the black community today. Black-on-black murder is an insult to the sacrifices of our ancestors. It is an insult to the sacrifices of Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Huey Newton. And two of them were killed by blacks. No wonder whites (and many blacks) don't want to live in black communities. Melanin might be scary to many whites, but these headlines and statistics reinforce their worst stereotypes. External pollution is another nail in our coffin and supplements the interpersonal carnage being perpetrated by self-hating, petty, stupid, violent and dysfunctional murderers.
Schadenfreude (German word for the guilty pleasure one secretly takes in another's suffering) It is usually generated by people's own modest, uncelebrated, drab, dull, tedious and virtually purposeless lives.
Hip Hop Culture and Cash Should Address Environmental Problems Unique To the Black Community
Ada M. Fisher, MD
The maddening noise of victimization being sung by those of us so long denied an opportunity to sit at the table in full partnership in America must refocus. Coming down the highway, listening to PBS it was stated that in a New York high school the rate of AIDS among black males was more than 50%. Over 60% of black children are born out of wedlock. According to statistics on hip hop music, the highest recorded rate of AIDS in North Carolina’s college age population is unfortunately on our black campuses. 1 in 8 black males will be incarcerated or have some experience with the criminal justice system. The leading cause of death in black men and women between 20 and 40 is AIDS. The pollution of our communities with drugs isn’t solely due to sellers but users who willingly inflict pain and destruction on their bodies. Continuing along this path many are on, our very existence is threatened.
These crimes of neglect are no one’s fault but our own and it is time to own up to them. It is time to stop the madness of self-extermination and save ourselves. Our dwindling population reflects our disregard for our babies who are no longer being produced in numbers sufficient to sustain us and our young whose lifestyles our eliminating their gene pool from the family of man.
For a people victimized by the brutalizing effects of slavery where families were sold off and pulled apart, it is ironic that so few African Americans are choosing to marry and have their children in this sanctioned institution. Marriage between one man and one woman should be embraced for family is what has kept us together and will be our shelter in the rain. The numbers willing to allow people with alternative lifestyles to adopt our children who are already confused says we don’t value them enough to keep and protect them.
The willingness to kill our brothers over stupid stuff isn’t acceptable and not society’s fault. Black on black crime must end. It is time to own up to our complicity in our own destruction. It is time for us to appreciate that the prison system is the new plantation and we no longer want to be slaves in it. It is time to stop the madness of criminal behavior. Self-respect and getting our personal and private lives in order is crucial to our survival. The chorus of those complaining about the lack of jobs hasn’t dealt with the high numbers of our children who are dropping out of school, drifting into the streets and gangs, as well as not being on point in presenting themselves right for the available job markets. Our children of all colors are spoiled in thinking they are entitled to a job, entitled to the job they want, and can sponge off parents until something better comes along. Any child over 18 not working or in school should be given the option of leaving home and living on his/her own or going to the military, Peace Corps, Americorps, Job Corps, or similar programs.
The value of education was paramount in the baby boomers lives. It allowed us to get where we are. To accept less or expect less of our children is to produce a sorry generation. Life isn’t always fair, but it will be interesting. Get in it, get over it or be counted out of it.
Education is one of the keys to get us written in, not written out. The demise of Historically Black Colleges and Universities is but to remove a lynch pin in our survival. To not appreciate their necessity is to misunderstand what is happening. The state of North Carolina’s change in educational standards, has removed four-year college as an entry point for too many minority students. Our kids must study, engage in the educational system and get prepared for life in a global economy where the competition is a BRIC (Belgium, Russia, India and China). The lack of community support for our colleges and the recycling of administrators who have done us wrong, says we have a problem here and we need to deal with it. Community colleges are important but too often offer minimum access instead of entrée into competitive education. We need to grow our own educators. Teaching jobs aren’t going anywhere.
The abandonment of our communities as a place for investment and a place to work highlights a lack of faith in ourselves. They are not sending our jobs overseas. We don’t own the companies nor do most own stock. It’s not just the have vs. the have not’s, it’s those who are prepared for their future vs. those who are simply existing day to day and hand to mouth. We must be entrepreneurs and owners of businesses, which meet a need.
Our acceptance of role models, who have children out of wedlock, sends the wrong message to our kids. A million dollar birthday party for a star would be better spent on scholarships or the cost of a $50 million dollar house would save a black college. The desecration of the funeral of Coretta S. King into a political forum instead of a sacred remembrance of the dead shows a lack of respect for our religious institutions and honor for the dead. We have always been a prideful people who comforted and took care of our own. It is time to reach back and recapture this spirit. It is time for leaders to emerge that are about substance not just style.
I have had enough and will fight against our treatment as third class citizens as we continue to fail to act in our own self-interest. If we are to be a part of America we must make our own place at the table. No one is going to set it for us. We must clean up our own mess.
AIDS can be prevented if we take responsibility for our lives. AIDS must be stopped less my ethnic group face elimination not just here, but in Africa at our own hands. Black citizen’s survival is threatened. Unfortunately too often it is at our own hands. The problems’ solutions must first begin with self. It is time for the black silent majority to rise up and say enough is enough.
Dr. Ada M. Fisher is a PHYSICIAN, licensed teacher for secondary education in mathematics and science, previously elected school board member, and was and is a Republican candidate for the US Congress. Contact her at P. O. Box 777; Salisbury, NC 28145; telephone (704) 637-6134,DrFisher@DrAdaMFisher.org