Now Don Imus has been around since the 70s. He was also someone who made a name for himself by playing popular Black music. Hence he's full of shit when he says he picked up all that 'nappy headed hoe' jargon from rappers. He was more likely to pick it up from the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson generation since they were grown men fighting for our liberation in the 70s, but apparently not objecting to 'Nigger Charlie' posters adorning our subways. Most of us within Hip Hop either weren't born or were very young when all this was happening.

Is Hip Hop Really the Blame for this Don Imus Thing?

By Davey D

Don Imus, Radio Host

I have a question for the masses. Don Imus and his supporters have been running around saying they learned about the phrase 'Nappy Headed Hoes' from rappers. They said it's because of Hip Hop that they felt it was ok to joke around in the way that they did. Now I'll be the first to confess I'm not up on everything So I gotta ask folks; What rapper referred to sistas as "Nappy Headed Hoes"? I recall the group Nappy Roots? I heard Ludacris say he has hoes in different area codes, but what song or group was Don Imus listening to that he got inspired? What song was this and when was it played on the radio?

To be honest he was more likely to pick that up from a comedian like Chris Rock or Eddie Griffin if anything not Jay-Z, Ludacris, Diddy or anyone else. But I'm not excusing rappers for their foul language or disrespect, but I do think we should put things in historical perspective.

Richard Pryor, Comedian and ActorWhen I was growing up I heard comedians like Richard Pryor. I have all my mother's old albums. I saw and heard him call women 'bitches' even after he came back from Africa and stop using the word 'Nigger' I heard comedians like Red Foxx, dis women. I heard Blowfly a grown man who was doing super duper dirty x-rated raps back in the mid 70s and he had no connection to Hip Hop as it was emerging in the Bronx.

Back in those days I heard the raunchy songs of Millie Jackson 25 years before Lil Kim showed up. And long before Too Short or Snoop started pimping or moving keys, I had Superfly and the Mack lacing me up about those insidious trades. Heck lets go even further back and bring up the fact that as a kid I used to go to school out in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx and would be called 'Nigger Charlie' in the second and third grade by white kids who saw the posters on the subways we used to ride for the movies 'Nigger Charlie' and the 'Return of Nigger Charlie'. Some of y'all reading this are old enough to know what I'm talking about. These were actual ads in the form of posters on the subway stations throughout New York.

Afrika Bambataa, RapperWhat's interesting while our parents and other elders were listening to albums by Pryor and Foxx which had the word 'Nigger' in the title or reading books by activist Dick Gregory called 'Nigger', a young Afrika Bambaataa was running around the Bronx bestowing titles like 'King' and 'Queen' on cats as a way to make them feel good. Like Bam used to say; 'if I start calling brothers and sisters King and Queen perhaps they'll behave like Kings and Queens'. This my friends was going on in the mid 70s.

Now Don Imus has been around since the 70s. He was also someone who made a name for himself by playing popular Black music. Hence he's full of shit when he says he picked up all that 'nappy headed hoe' jargon from rappers. He was more likely to pick it up from the Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson generation since they were grown men fighting for our liberation in the 70s, but apparently not objecting to 'Nigger Charlie' posters adorning our subways. Most of us within Hip Hop either weren't born or were very young when all this was happening.

The only difference between then and now, is that I don't recall well known radio jocks like Frankie Crocker, Jocko Henderson, Mad Hatter or Ken Webb calling women hoes on the radio. Such words were bleeped out. Station owners like Percy Sutton and others had his jocks be more civil and conduct themselves with class. All that changed in the 80s and 90s. Suddenly it wasn't cool to be civil. In fact it was considered weak. My question is how did this happen? Help me fill in the pieces. I know we had Tipper Gore raising a stink in the late 80s about music being too edgy but her target was music in general not just rap. Punk and other forms of rock were coming under fire during her PMRC campaign.

Now I do recall back in the late 80s many Black radio stations refused to play groups like Public Enemy, KRS or Brand Nubian. Those Afrocentric groups were considered noise. Does anyone recall when we had R&B stations bragging in their jingles that they didn't play rap? I remember that clearly. I also recall white dance music stations Top 40 stations changing format and embracing Hip Hop around the same time. That would include Hot 97 in NY, KMEL in San Francisco and Power 106 in Los Angeles.. Was that the beginning of the end? I do recall KMEL in San Francisco playing NWA with jingles saying keeping it true to the streets.

C. Delores Tucker

By the time people like C. Delores Tucker and Calvin Butts raised a stink, so called gangsta rap had been on the radio for 5 years. These activists came out against 2Pac and Snoop Dogg and totally missed the previous years where stations found they could garner number one ratings playing NWA. As I look back at the time period, I saw only one objection.. That was boycott in 1989 against NWA that was led by Hip Hop shows on college and community stations KPOO, KALX and KZSU under the banner Bay Area Hip Hop Coalition. The NY Times covered that boycott. Outside of that there wasn't much discussion. If anything there was resistance from white college programmers who felt that a boycott was censorship and made it a point to play the NWA records inspite of the boycott lead by Black jocks at the time.

My question is since 1970s we been calling women bitches and hoes and calling each other nigger in very public spaces. How did this happen and continued to happen over this 30 year period.. Where did we drop the ball? How ironic that our parents missed the boat and now 20 years later they blame us for something they should've nipped in the bud back in the days.. That's something to ponder...

Originally appeared in DaveyD.

Commentary:

Response by Tasha

My question is since 1970s we been calling women bitches and hoes and calling each other nigger in very public spaces. How did this happen and continued to happen over this 30 year period.. Where did we drop the ball? How ironic that our parents missed the boat and now 20 years later they blame us for something they should've nipped in the bud back in the days.. That's Something to ponder...

The mothers of hip hop or rap do not want to take responsibility for were they went wrong. They made big mistakes that they want to brush under the rug. Our mothers used nigger to keep us in line. She used nigger to describe our fathers and uncles. Everything we do we learned from them. We big party and drink like they did in the 70's and 80's. A lot of us were born addicted to drugs and or alcohol. They partied with us. Rap was basically a male dominated organization. It generated big money for black males. They use the older women in a position of power to find flaws and build on them. Rap music is our generations blues. If the young generation is listening and get something positive out of it then that may destroy the order of things. They use hip hop against us because our parents do not have our back. They act like Norbit's wife. "That didn't happen!"

That nasty man did not get that sort of talk from us. We get it from them. They have been calling us that and worse for hundreds of years. They just use that as an excuse to remind us who they think we are. They raised us to not stick together and cross each other up. They know our mothers do not have our back. The women are in control of the black family. They are in control of her. The men only come through to make babies they say. They raised their sons to be the same way. Then when he becomes this gangster thug rapper gun toting sniper terrorist with no verbal respect for her; she doesn't want to be bothered. Like she didn't raise him.

They blame hip hop because we let them. They call us niggers and nappy headed hoes because we do not stand up for ourselves. We will stand up for someone else's issues. Never our own. We are the only race on earth that acts this way. And you wonder why they call you bitch!

Response by JT

Although I am by no means a scholar, but in answer to your question about the 1970's, I think several things happened. The 1970 is the decade where several dynamics changed in the black community. The trend for black people was moving from "fight the power" to the beginning of the "do you" mentality. People began to see themselves as individuals and not part of a collective. In a sense, many people took on the attitude that now that we have made some advancement in racial desegregation, they were going to "get theirs." Take a look at R&B. I went from "I'm Black and I'm Proud" to "Boogie Oggie Oggie" Now I'm not disrespecting disco, but my point is that our music shifted to where a "get mine" mentality was dominant on the charts. Take a look at our cinema. You began to see more movies like The Mack and Superfly where the main characters are leeches of society but they end up looking like the heroes. In addition, if you pay close attention to many of these movies, particularly the Mack and Shaft, they portray the radical liberation groups as jokes.

This type of individualism, over time, manifests itself to allowing for the disrespect of your own, even becoming apathetic to the insults to one's people. For example, I am 90% sure the word nigga was used in the 60's by black people; however, I do not believe it was widely used in the presence of whites. Why? Because there was a general concept that people did not just represent themselves, they represented the race. This concept is now missing and a result, calling women, bitches and hoes, parading them on the videos and the word nigga is widely used.

As I said, I am not a scholar, but that's my theory.

Response by JT

While I agree with your premise that this issue stems before hip hop, the hip hop community cannot exempt itself for its/our role in the exploitation of black women and the Black community. I often see this "generation blame game" where the elders are saying how bad this society has become while the youth say the elders haven't taught us anything. In truth, we, as a Black nation, (Old, middle aged and young) must all look ourselves in the mirror and acknowledge that we ALL have failed the generations before us who scarified their lives so that we can prosper. Now I know someone will say that black people have made great gains in income, entrepreneurship, homeownership, etc. while this is true, we as a people, are becoming morally bankrupt. We are now a community where negative is positive and positive is "playa haitn'" More times than not, we are treating criminals as victims and true victims of crime, if they want to change their communities are called "snitches" Today, we have sunk so low that we are actually having academic debates on whether we should use the n-word. The fault of the status of black people today is the fault of young and old equally.

Response by Divine0313 is 7

There's a few things that I think about when it comes to this. 1. We as Black people give white peoples' thoughts too much credit. And since one of the key things of being mentally dead is always being in a reactive state, the result of this situation shows that. We act as if because we don't get called niggas out loud, or as much and get tolerated, that they (whites) have built a sense of humanity to like who's different to them. Our pride in nationalism and trying to be American slaps us right in the face when we were only here to be their commodity in every sense possible.

2. If we study etymology then we'll understand that social uses of words change. Nigga today spoken by us is now stated in a sense of rebellion flipped from how white Americans said it in an attempt to dehumanize us into property, which was continued from the Roman use of the word when it was applied to their Black slaves in a sense of dead, or property, which was flipped from how it was used amongst Northern Africans as explained by Black historian, J.A. Rogers. This isn't the view of just those of our people who are also intellectuals, activists or conscious. In the words of Kweli, "when they call you nigga, they scarred of you, they're fearing, if crackas going to be fearing niggas, then that's what the fuck I have to be, now, it's a badge of honor, some say that shit's absurd, it's more than just a word we flip the shit like it's a bird." Even with the ugly history of the usage of the word nigga, as many have noticed and stated, it also a word that helped in realizing our naturally and socially bound reality of so-called African-Americans & Latinos. While most so-called Latinos won't acknowledge being Black, call us nigga and the response is usually, "What up?" Many stories of first generation American born "Latinos", having being called nigga by either white or Black people, caused them to look deeper and find their history of colonialism, slavery and wars of independence and today's struggles and resistance in the Latin Americas against the American govt and American corruption south of the U.S. border. And has also helped in creating groups of people who work together solely as Black & Brown people as 1.

3. I think white people are tired of tolerating, or suppressing how they really, really, really feel about us and want all out call us niggas in attempts to dehumanize us again, and it'll work because we don't have enough self respect to unite, build and renew our selves and rather be concerned with what a foreigner has to say about us. Remember that racism is not even so much a white guy coming out and calling us niggas, it's a political/social system that tries to govern the circumstances and results of all people of a particular race. We should never have to see "Equal Opportunity Employer" on every single application, if that was the true practice in this country. The personal going ons are prejudice, and that's what happened here. Racism keeps OJ out of a life prison sentence so that they can milk him for all his cream after losing the civil case. A cop beating/shooting us comes from prejudice, but why he/they won't do any time is the racist system's doing. Besides we're (in general) too docile to do anything that would be effective in resistance, besides protest which hardly leads to any great effect.

All I'm saying really is to be, "Never Ignorant Getting Goals Accomplished" and do for self. Peace...