When teaching about irresponsible artists that refuse to teach knowledge (and those who glorify violence), I point to the racism that went into COINTELPRO, the U.S. government program that helped destroy the Panthers. This created the gap that caused the problems associated with today's gangs. I also point to those who make money off of death and prisons. This leads to a discussion about the private prison market and increased police budgets. There is also the control and co-opting of our culture by people who disrespect us and by those who know our history and have always worked to kill a unifying message. Anyone who is successful at decreasing the deaths and incarceration via education, activism and advocacy are usually discredited, jailed or killed.

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.

"That's a funky number," Zwick said at his movie's Hollywood premiere. "That number comes from diamonds that are mined in countries that are 'war-declared.' Conflict diamonds are also mined in countries where there is not a 'declared war.' If you want to know about conflict diamonds, you don't go to Botswana and South Africa. You go to Sierra Leone and Angola. … Russell Simmons is being embarrassed."

In other words, the Atlanta gathering brought together bold, well-informed people with strong opinions. That's what it was designed to do, and the differences in perspective were as invigorating as they were enlightening. However, as the DLRP's focus groups and Bill Cosby's well-publicized rants suggest, there is a wide slice of black America (the people who have benefited the most from the Civil Rights Movement) who currently have no particular problem with the drug war, mandatory minimum sentences or the abuse of informant testimony. These people are concerned about the mass incarceration of black males, but there is a tendency to shrug and say, "You do the crime, you do the time."

Please note that the horrific bloodshed and genocide of the early 90s which the movie 'Blood Diamonds' focuses on took place in countries like Sierra Leone and Angola. In my opinion those conflict zones should've been included in any sort of fact finding mission. By only going to Botswana and South Africa and defending their diamond trade Simmons by default wound up defending the De Beers Company which for years had a worldwide monopoly and brutally ruled the diamond business in those two countries. For folks who aren't old enough to remember, De Beers was set up by a colonizer named Cecil Rhodes (yes the same Cecil Rhodes who the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship is named after). He took over what we now call Zimbawe and called it Rhodesia. His De Beers diamond company was and will forever be in many people's minds associated with the brutal Apartheid regime of South Africa.

Rappers appear to be concerned about damaging what's known as their "street credibility," says Geoffrey Canada, an anti-violence advocate and educator from New York City's Harlem neighborhood. "It's one of those things that sells music and no one really quite understands why," says Canada. Their fans look up to artists if they come from the "meanest streets of the urban ghetto," he tells Cooper. For that reason, Canada says, they do not cooperate with the police.

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