Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Poverty Pimps Persistent Pop-Offs

Radio personality Don Imus, left, and Rev. Al Sharpton appear face-to-face on Rev. Sharpton's radio show, in New York Monday April 9, 2007. Imus issued another apology for referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as 'nappy-headed hos' on his morning show last week. Image Credit: AP Photo/Richard Drew

Poverty Pimps Persistent Pop-Offs

Where is the equity?

Where is the context calculation?

Where is their collective gun always aimed?

This is NOT a defense of Don Imus and the general degradation of behavior found throughout our society.

This posting is a calling out of those in the “Poverty Pimp” industry to start aiming their collective gun at the real degradation and objectification of those in their own segment of society as represented by the lyrics written and recorded by the likes of 50Cent, AKON, & SnoopDog as well as the actions of the real pimps that run their game on Hollywood and Sunset boulevards.

Address the REAL COST to society overall when the people do not respect people and this standard is not applied equally between different groups in our society and culture. On this standard, where are the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Reverend Al Sharpton, Marc H. Morial - National Urban League, and the corporate capitulators at NBC-Universal?

At MAXINE, we ask – Where is the outrage and where is the action at calling on Corporate America to hold to the higher standard when they (the Poverty Pimps) allow these recording artists and others in the African-American community to trash people (especially Black Americans) through their actions as they are holding to account Don Imus for his actions?

This opinion found in The New York Daily News -

A dangerous detour
Cycles of outrage and apology distract blacks from confronting many big, chronic problems
BY JOHN McWHORTER - Tuesday, April 10th 2007, 8:34 AM (McWhorter, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, is author of the book "Winning the Race.")

You can count on about one a month.

Last August it was Sen. George Allen's (R-Va.) "macaca" comment that led to the usual editorials about the "persistence of racism in America" and the duty of good-thinking people to police the country for "offensive language." Allen apologized.

We were barely past that episode when Michael Richards tossed off the N-word in a meltdown during a standup routine when some black men heckled him. More policing, more talk shows exploring the issue. Richards apologized, with the Rev. Jesse Jackson in tow.

Upon which Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) was dragged through the mud for calling Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) "articulate and bright and clean." Never mind that if you look at the actual transcript, he meant something different from what was reported. This was still water-cooler talk for a couple of weeks, complete with the Op-Eds and the requisite apology.

Not long ago, a radio host in Texas, making fun of Biden, called Obama a "clean darky." The local NAACP was up in arms.

Writing about this kind of thing a little while ago, I predicted that there would be a new episode the following week. I was off by seven days. Now it's Don Imus on the coals for saying that the women on Rutgers' basketball team are "nappy-headed ho's."

We know the drill. Reflective sorts have been tsk-tsking over Imus. Condemning him. Imus, just suspended, will be trotted out as one more example that on racism in America we've come a long way, but we have a ... (need I even finish?).

And what will the point be? What, really, is the goal of these monthly performances over something someone says in passing and usually in jest? If the goal is to stop people from ever uttering anything that can be construed as belittling to people of color, it doesn't appear to be working.

We have already succeeded in making the outright abusive wielding of racial slurs unacceptable in American society. Nicholas (Fat Nick) Minucci, the Howard Beach, Queens, twentysomething who assaulted a black man with a bat while shouting the N-word, deserved to go to prison.

However, the quest for an America where no one ever makes passing observations that are less than respectful of minority groups is futile. And why are so many of us so obsessed with chasing that rainbow anyway? The truth is that black people who go to pieces whenever anyone says a little something are revealing that they are not too sure about themselves.

Imus hosts a radio show and a lot of people listen to it. During a few seconds last week he said something tacky. The show went on, as did life. Black people continued to constitute most new AIDS cases, black men continued to come out of prison unsupervised. And we're supposed to be most interested in Imus saying "nappy-headed ho's"?

What creates that hypersensitivity is a poor racial self-image. Where, after all, did Imus pick up the very terminology he used? Rap music and the language young black people use themselves on the street to refer to one another.

What Imus said is lowdown indeed, but so is the way blacks refer to each other. And life goes on.

Street theater is not strength.

It saps energy better put to other uses. The focus we'll be dedicating to the next gaffe sometime in (this time I'll give myself a little more wiggle room) May will mean that much less commitment to addressing black people's real problems.
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After seeing the reaction on the morning shows, we can not help to think ... that the level of the "outrage" expressed over Don Imus, who has been doing this type of shock degradation for about 30 years on his program, isn't fueled by his open refusal to have Hillary Clinton on his program for an interview.


UPDATE: Jason Whitlock of Kansas City weighs in with his cultural perspective -

Imus isn’t the real bad guy
Instead of wasting time on irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture.

JASON WHITLOCK - Kansas City Star - April 11, 2007

Thank you, Don Imus. You’ve given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem.

You’ve given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality.
Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it’s 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again.

While we’re fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I’m sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent’s or Snoop Dogg’s or Young Jeezy’s latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.

I ain’t saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don’t have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas.

It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.
I’m no Don Imus apologist. He and his tiny companion Mike Lupica blasted me after I fell out with ESPN. Imus is a hack.

But, in my view, he didn’t do anything outside the norm for shock jocks and comedians. He also offered an apology. That should’ve been the end of this whole affair. Instead, it’s only the beginning. It’s an opportunity for Stringer, Jackson and Sharpton to step on victim platforms and elevate themselves and their agenda$.

I watched the Rutgers news conference and was ashamed.

Martin Luther King Jr. spoke for eight minutes in 1963 at the March on Washington. At the time, black people could be lynched and denied fundamental rights with little thought. With the comments of a talk-show host most of her players had never heard of before last week serving as her excuse, Vivian Stringer rambled on for 30 minutes about the amazing season her team had.

Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that the comments of a man with virtually no connection to the sports world ruined Rutgers’ wonderful season. Had a broadcaster with credibility and a platform in the sports world uttered the words Imus did, I could understand a level of outrage.

But an hourlong press conference over a man who has already apologized, already been suspended and is already insignificant is just plain intellectually dishonest. This is opportunism. This is a distraction.

In the grand scheme, Don Imus is no threat to us in general and no threat to black women in particular. If his words are so powerful and so destructive and must be rebuked so forcefully, then what should we do about the idiot rappers on BET, MTV and every black-owned radio station in the country who use words much more powerful and much more destructive?

I don’t listen or watch Imus’ show regularly. Has he at any point glorified selling crack cocaine to black women? Has he celebrated black men shooting each other randomly? Has he suggested in any way that it’s cool to be a baby-daddy rather than a husband and a parent?

Does he tell his listeners that they’re suckers for pursuing education and that they’re selling out their race if they do?

When Imus does any of that, call me and I’ll get upset. Until then, he is what he is — a washed-up shock jock who is very easy to ignore when you’re not looking to be made a victim.

No. We all know where the real battleground is. We know that the gangsta rappers and their followers in the athletic world have far bigger platforms to negatively define us than some old white man with a bad radio show. There’s no money and lots of danger in that battle, so Jesse and Al are going to sit it out.
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'Nuff Said! ... and then, maybe not!

UPDATE 4-11-2007: Imus gets the "Poverty Pimp/Corporate Capitulating" boot

The Rev. Jesse Jackson leads a protest outside Chicago's NBC Studios Monday, April 9, 2007, calling for the firing of radio talk show host Don Imus for his offensive comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Image Credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Imus gets the "Poverty Pimp/Corporate Capitulating" boot

It came down to a New York media mafia moment that had the squinty eyed, scruffy looking Steven Capus, President of NBC NEWS - NBC-Universal, to stand small for selective standards.

This dropping of the Imus In The Morning simulcast comes just before a fund raising marathon for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and the Imus Ranch for kids with cancer.

Will NBC-Universal now have the backbone to curb the dialog and uplift the conversation throughout the rest of the properties it promotes and makes money from ... like the lyrics and actions found in videos in their many RAP and Hip-Hop stable of artists?

In a style as Don Imus would be fond of saying - It's sad to see Steve Capus become the "butt boy" for the clamoring and attitudes of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, and others who gain in the one way exchange of the shakedown paradigm.

I know Don Imus has hurt people along the way throughout his 30+ year broadcasting career, but if you are going to cancel him because of those feelings (ala Al Roker) then at least be honest about that.

MSNBC's action came after a growing list of sponsors — including American Express Co., Sprint Nextel Corp., Staples Inc., Procter & Gamble Co., and General Motors Corp. — said they were pulling ads from Imus' show for the indefinite future.

Maybe these advertisers would like to pull their ads and call for the removal of Robert Johnson, President of the cable channel - BET?

At MAXINE, we won't be holding our breath.

Final IMUS Update ... the other shoe drops:

Racist remarks cost Imus CBS radio job
By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer - 4-12-2007

NEW YORK - Don Imus' racist remarks got him fired by CBS on Thursday, the finale to a stunning fall for one of the nation's most prominent broadcasters.

Imus was initially suspended for two weeks after he called the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos" on the air last week. But outrage kept growing and advertisers kept bolting from his CBS radio show and its MSNBC simulcast, which was canceled Wednesday.

"There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society," CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said in announcing the decision. "That consideration has weighed most heavily on our minds as we made our decision."
The team met with Imus for about three hours at the governor's mansion in Princeton, N.J. Thursday night. Imus left without commenting to reporters, but C. Vivian Stringer, the team's coach, spoke briefly on the mansion's steps.

"We had a very productive meeting," she said. "We were able to really dialogue. ... Hopefully, we can put all of this behind us."
Imus was fired in the middle of a two-day radio fundraiser for children's charities. CBS announced that Imus' wife, Deirdre, and his longtime newsman, Charles McCord, will host Friday's show.

The cantankerous Imus, once named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time magazine and a member of the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame, was one of radio's original shock jocks. His career took flight in the 1970s and with a cocaine- and vodka-fueled outrageous humor. After sobering up, he settled into a mix of highbrow talk about politics and culture, with locker room humor sprinkled in.

He issued repeated apologies as protests intensified. But it wasn't enough as everyone from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) to Oprah Winfrey joined the criticism.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson met with Moonves on Thursday to demand Imus' removal.

Jackson called the firing "a victory for public decency. No one should use the public airwaves to transmit racial or sexual degradation."

Said Sharpton: "He says he wants to be forgiven. I hope he continues in that process. But we cannot afford a precedent established that the airways can commercialize and mainstream sexism and racism."
It's also likely to trigger a wider debate about expression and forgiveness. Some of Imus' fans have pointed to inflammatory statements made by Sharpton and Jackson in the past, or in the lyrics of popular music.

Losing Imus will be a financial hit to CBS Radio, which also suffered when Howard Stern departed for satellite radio. The program earns about $15 million in annual revenue for CBS, which owns Imus' home radio station WFAN-AM and manages Westwood One, the company that syndicates the show nationally. One potential replacement: the sports show "Mike & the Mad Dog," which airs afternoons on WFAN.

The radiothon had raised more than $1.3 million Thursday before Imus learned that he had lost his job. The annual event has raised more than $40 million since 1990.

"This may be our last radiothon, so we need to raise about $100 million," Imus cracked at the start of the event.

Volunteers were getting about 200 more pledges per hour than they did last year, with most callers expressing support for Imus, said phone bank supervisor Tony Gonzalez. The event benefited Tomorrows Children's Fund, the CJ Foundation for SIDS and the Imus Ranch.

Imus, whose suspension was supposed to start next week, was in the awkward situation of broadcasting Thursday's radio program from the MSNBC studios in New Jersey, even though NBC News said the night before that MSNBC would no longer simulcast his program on television.
The list of his potential guests began to shrink, too.

Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham said the magazine's staffers would no longer appear on Imus' show. Meacham, Jonathan Alter, Evan Thomas, Howard Fineman and Michael Isikoff from Newsweek have been frequent guests.

Imus has complained bitterly about a lack of support from one black politician, Harold Ford Jr., even though he strongly backed Ford's campaign for Senate in Tennessee last year. Ford, now head of the Democratic Leadership Council, said Thursday he'll leave it to others to decide Imus' future.

"I don't want to be viewed as piling on right now because Don Imus is a good friend and a decent man," Ford said. "However, he did a reprehensible thing."

Imus' troubles have also affected his wife, whose book "Green This!" came out this week. Her promotional tour has been called off "because of the enormous pressure that Deirdre and her family are under," said Simon & Schuster publicist Victoria Meyer.

People are buying it, though: An original printing of 45,000 was increased to 55,000.

Imus still has a lot of support among radio managers across the country, many of whom grew up listening to him, said Tom Taylor, editor of the trade publication Inside Radio.
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1 comment:

The Sarcasticynic said...

Maybe he said "Happy Wedded Vogues." Those who believe that the solution to the "Imus" problem is to simply turn him off are not considering one key point. Please visit "If you don't like it, turn it off" at sarcasticynic.blogspot.com if interested.