The inherent bias of this hiphop documentary became most glaring, however, when – not until three-quarters through – it finally turned to the proverbial elephant in the room: white corporate control of the rap music industry. Until then, the filmmaker was content to let the viewer believe that the growth of flagrant sexism and even assaultive misogyny in rap was solely the fault of Black male rappers. Ironically, the documentary itself underrepresented conscious women voices in hiphop. The music industry, as anyone who has even casually studied the rap music scene knows, and as the documentary – eventually – grudgingly admitted, took active steps to increasingly promote the “bitch ’n ho,” “bling-bling,” bustin’ ’n bangin,’ shootin’ shit up, rap music that whites racistly and hypocritically love to condemn, while virtually shutting the door on any Black male performers who didn’t want to play into that stereotype.

José Eduardo Agualusa, who was born in Angola and now splits his time between Lisbon and Luanda, is the author of six novels as well as a couple of volumes of investigative reporting. The first African to win the prize, he beat a strong field; the shortlist included The Story of Blanche and Marie by Per Olov Enquist, Your Face Tomorrow 2: Dance and Dream by Javier Marías and Shyness and Dignity by Dag Solstad.

Rappers that abuse and sell out their own people and culture should be held to account, but that's only part of the picture, says Hip Hop artist Paris. If huge media corporations stopped demanding anti-social lyrics, "gangstas would stop being gangstas and misogynists would stop being misogynists at the drop of a dime." Don't look to the music industry - the people that created the problem - for remediation. Meanwhile, the commercial rap genre is imploding, the result of pollutants cultivated by powerful forces from outside the culture.

I remember when I first heard rap. I was standing in the kitchen at a party in Harlem. It was 1980. A friend of mine named Bill had just gone on the blink. He slapped a guy, a total stranger, in the face right in front of me. I can't remember why. Bill was a fellow student. He was short-circuiting. Problem was, the guy he slapped was a big guy, a dude wearing a do-rag who'd crashed the party with three friends, and, judging by the fury on their faces, there would be no Martin Luther King moments in our immediate future. There were no white people in the room, though I confess I wished there had been, if only to hide the paleness of my own frightened face. We were black and Latino students about to graduate from Columbia University's journalism school, having learned the whos, whats, wheres, whens, and whys of American reporting. But the real storytellers of the American experience came from the world of the guy that Bill had just slapped. They lived less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) from us in the South Bronx. They had no journalism degrees. No money. No credibility. What they did have, however, was talent.

The ill-informed multi-millionaire and uneducated rapper, Killa Cam or Cam'ron, whose real name is Cameron Giles became the face of anti-snitching in the recently aired 60 Minutes interview with Anderson Cooper. Cameron description of a snitch is very problematic, and his articulation or lack thereof, did not speak to the corporatization of such practices. Of course, Anderson Cooper, whose status prominently rose after his emotional coverage of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast did not probe this systematic structure of snitching that goes to the highest levels of government. For example, why didn’t Mr. Cooper interrogate the police commissioner about the routine brutal practices which police officers and investigators use to extract “evidence”? More importantly, to make this issue of snitching something that is only particular to Hip-Hop glosses over the activities of music executives and their role in such negotiation, the role the government plays in creating "snitch" programs that allowed them to monitor and kill Blacks, and as well as the recent activities by the Bush administration in manufacturing data for the invasion of Iraq. Where were all these information? And more importantly, why did 60 Minutes, just like the rest of the news media, continue to collude and propagate such ideas?

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