Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Prelude to Got Misogyny? Part II

When I did the first 'Got Misogyny?' post, I though I was the only person who didnt see through the smoke and mirrors of Essence magazine's "Take Back the Music" campaign. This month, however, it became clear that I wasnt alone in my skeptisism of Essences motives- Shuttabug and Jimi Izrael arent buying it, either. So I'll use this post to highlight some of their observations and send Essence the message: We dont belive you, you need more people!

In the Urban Snapshot post 'A dyme for your thoughts', Shuttabug sites:
1) The hypocrisy of big-upping video models while criticizing the (supposedly) sexist messages that those videos promote. In her words:"As much as nobody wants to held accountable for the shortcomings of an entire generation of young people, the truth is, that we all play our part. For example, Essence has included photoshoots with "video chicks" and "XXL Hall of Famer" Liris Crosse. When I saw this, I immediately thought that Essence accepted that women such as Liris were in the business to be successful, and therefore endorsed/supported whatever other work Liris did. I think that to attack misogyny in hip hop (read: attacking other magazine's interpretation of "dimepiece") without ever implicating yourself is a contradiction about accountability that even reveals itself in Essence's polls."
2) Essence magazine is hardly the publication to pose as the magazine of Black female empowerment, with this take on the magazines typical content: "While somewhat informative, I find it ironic that the same magazine that criticizes rap's objectification of women in pursuit of fame and fortune places titles such as "Make him love you more", "Be richer this time next year" with tips on how to be sexy, "must have" information on plastic surgery, bleaching creams and medical weight loss procedures. What's more is that Essence's newest family member, Suede, glorifies the ostentatious lifestyle of hyperconsumption in the name of "urban multi-culti fashionistas" who revel in the glory of divadom."
3) The lack of Essence's commitment to its self appointed mission to protect women from the pyche-wrecking damage of 'Get Low' and 'Drop It Like Its Hot':"Yes, aligning yourselves with grassroots organizations who you've featured in past issues, who have the ability to actually touch the young women directly affected by the 45-55 hours of tip drillin, booty clappin, mini-skirt wearin, pole sliding, crystal sippin music videos on BET or MTV is too hard to do. It's true, protest signs may not always work, but to talk about wanting to encourage people to just think requires more than a 4 or 5 page spread on page 117 of your magazine. When you have the social and economic power to influence the way your entire demographic thinks about such an important issue, why just write about it? Chances are, you're preaching to the converted. Use your power and make real change!"
4) This campaign could have been hatched to divert attention from from the mags recent transfer to White ownership:"By assuming zero responsibility, I am left to believe that Take Back the Music is a ploy to point fingers at XXL and other urban media publications and increase Essence subscription revenues, rather that really address this issue of misogyny in hip hop music. In light of the recent business transaction, it would seem to me that with everyone pointing out that the nation's second largest black magazine would no longer being owned by black people, and the company needed to deflect the attention. What better way to do it than by rallying older black, "successful" women together to scoff at this monster we call "hip hop", which premeates our musical, social, political, and economic consciousness on a global scale?"
I'll take this theory one step further-maybe this series is a by-proxy attack on hip hop/Black men,with the Essence staff taking marching orders from Time Warner execs? Because so far, all these "Take Back the Music" pieces have amounted to are editorial finger snapping and head-rolling directed at the men of the rap industry.

In Jimis 'Essence Magazines War on Hip Hop: Are you serious?' post, he opines:
1) The alleged misogyny in hip hop didnt evolve in vaccum, nor is it new:"I've said it once and I'll say it again, hip-hop music is a reflection of the culture at large and inner-city politics in particular. Seism is a reality of popular society. The battle of the sexes has turned into an all out war, with economics and feminist-related issues taking precedent over building and fortifying the black family. Hip-hop didn't create that---it just reports it. My generation handed the next generation conscious hip-hop, and then it was sold Downtown. Not our fault. Consciousness changes, and I can concede that. Today's hip-hop music reflects this generation's frustration, but more than that, it satisfies the curiosity and fetishes of its mainly white audience."
2) Far from being a legitimate war on sexismin hip hop, this campaign is just a bunch of sabre- rattling:"The other peice of this is that--hello?--- Essence stakes claim to a 18 to 40 demographic, but I'm willing to bet it skews MUCH older, which means that the people belly-aching the most about hip-hop culture are likely the grandmothers, mothers, older sisters and aunts of the community. This conversation, I'm convinced, is being fortified largely by women that don't need to be convinced to maintain thier dignity or self-respect. Essence is the waaaaay wrong venue for this. Try "Right On" Magazine--something the next generation of hip-hoppers actually read." The amen-corner that Essence's message board on this topic confirm this observation.
3) Essence has a huge blind spot reagrding the potential contribution its readership makes to some artists' opinions on women:"The one thing those artist have in common is that they know, like you and I know, that women use what they got to to get what they want, and they are taught this from the womb. No Money, No Honey. Shake your Money-Maker. On and on. Black men don't teach this to our girls---black women do. So you give these messages to young women, and they in turn give this message to young men---what do you think the outcome of that will be, over time? Why are we surprised that the dating ritual has become little more than a pageantry of pimps and hoes? Why are you surprised to see 12-year old girls moving like shake-club dancers? Why doesn't it make sense that young black men would rather be pimps than accountants?"

Jimi and Shuttabug bring up some great points, maybe someone will mention them at the Images of Women in Hip Hop Panel today. And a big thanks to Hashim at Media Chin Check, Urban Snapshot, and The Underground Post for sharing my opinions on Essence's self-righteous campaign.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Daily Dose and Heaterz

Todays Daily Dose:
Jay Z is in talks to produce music for the upcoming Scarface video game. I think most of the groundwork for this deal was already done, considering that Def Jam already produced a featurette and "Music Inspired By" CD for the Scarface Anniversary Edition DVD.
Damon Dash has his hands full promoting upcoming albums for Sigel and ODB, so I'm going to lend a hand in promoting two of his upcoming films: Death of a Dynasty and State Property 2.
Apparently disappointed by the end of the 50/Game beef, the mainstream press is fast at work promoting the 50/Jadakiss situation; Jada thinks the media is grasping for straws.

Fat Joe responds to "Piggybank" with "Fuck 50"
Jada provides a much more lyrical and comedic reply with "Checkmate"

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Biggie Tributes

The always-on-point Honey Soul blog has linked to some very thorough audio Biggie tributes. Hit these up and reminisce:

Daily Dose and Heaterz

Todays Daily Dose:
If you've lost track of whos saying what in the ongoing 50 Cent vs Fat Joe,Nas and Jadakiss beef, check the March 2nd news post over at hiphopsite.com. I'm surprised there isnt a blog dedicated to this stuff yet.
Check these articles on Whoo Kid and Clinton Sparks, who should both be picking up some hardware at the Mixtape Awards tonight.
I also found some audio of Shade 45 interviews with Jay Z and 50 Cent.
Speaking of 50, expect a Nintedo DS licensing deal soon.
I've started a new blog,Strictly Business, where my first project will be tracking product placement in hip hop videos.
And surprise surprise, 50's preparing to call a truce to his beef with Game as I finish this post.
RIP BIG. Anybody find a radioblog tribute, feel free to link to it the comment section. Does Honey Soul take requests?
Todays Heater:
Theres a slew of remixes for Amerie's "1 Thing" floating around,but this one by Mick Boogie (right click,save as)featuring Jay Z is one of the best. It uses Jays verse from "Do You Like It" featuring Puff.