As I read your latest article I too was taken back to my childhood. I was the outsider, the fat kid. I was routinely treated the way you were. "Not bad for you." aka: fat kid.
The outsider in our culture isn't celebrated by the main stream, rather the butt of jokes. As the outsider, I never let those idiots get me down and out. My mother was primarily responsible for this, as she always said, "You can do whatever you want. It is your choice and I can't choose for you".
Thanks for reminding me how I ended up who I am today.
The moral? Don't take crap from anybody!
Be yourself no matter what other try to do to put you down or "in your place."
It's unfortunate that he had to be victim of this pettiness...I really have to question whether or not it would be the same song and dance if it was someone other than Ahmed. These days one really cant tell. It should be a shame that a kid cant make home science projects like we have done since forever. And to embarress this young man like he is some criminal is doing the most. Schools should focus more on keeping their students from getting pregnant and high on campus...
As always sir Charles on point. I pray that his parents continue to encourage him and his light continues to shine because he is an amazing light that deserves to shine. Many of life's lessons can bring an awareness of the lower vibrational influences. It's in the moments we have to remember our connection to the source and push to move beyond what is not the truth..I pray this intelligent powerful young man can continue to be great beyond the ignorance of those he once admired. May it push him to be a greater teacher that those who fear his greatest.
@Shannies Jackson_Ndiaye Thank you for reading and commenting!
@Nykia Malveaux It is great that you are a sensitive educator and have that perspective. Your student's will greatly benefit. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.
@Kimbogem85 Yes I know you know first hand raising two black boy twins how the system can try and profile young black boys. It is sad that such things are still in practice and without an effective advocate or support many young boys and girls will get caught up in the system.
Awesome piece Charles.
Thanks for sharing that. Being a teacher it gives a perspective of students' mind.
Kudos Bro, another incredible perspective. Oftentimes in our public schools our young black boys are undervalued, underestimated, and marginalized by the very educators entrusted to their growth and greatness. Just as in your case, it will take an unwavering community of family & care takers to ensure these young folks' dreams are not destroyed or deferred by profiling, racism or any other foolishness ...
@AtlantaJack I too have seen similar effects in people regarding current hip hop. Women like our daughter who would shank you for using such disrespectful terms seem to be ok when it comes from certain artists. Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts.
@Brandon Iamhiphop King See it is folks who have such a rich history and understanding of hip hop like you that they young heads need to hear from on this subject. Thank you for sharing your knowledge in developing this article!
Forgot to mention her many previous encounters with the law.
Also the simple fact that despite their deep concern and love, her family would not come up with the $500 to bail her out of jail.
And before you try to go there, at no time has anyone from her family said they didn't bail her out because they didn't have the money.
They left here there because they didn't want to deal with her either.
As a long time Republican and recovering Southern Baptist, I find this woman to be a bad joke.
She is a sworn court official. If she is unable to perform the duties to which she campaigned for and was elected to as a DEMOCRAT, then she needs to resign.
Brilliant and insightful writing ... Profound on too many levels to go into here, but one aspect you hint at is certainly generational. Perhaps their point of view will shift with the wisdom of age. I don't understand the denigration of people in the name of helping people. To me, there's an obvious disconnect. But I have not lived the struggle, so I don't claim to understand all interpretations. Even my teen daughter, the staunch feminist, loves rap and hip-hop to the point of giving misogynist lyrics a pass, which is confusing to me. In any other context, that language would elicit outrage from her feminist sensibilities.
When asked about my views on this subject, I was in full support of this movie for various reasons, but most were selfish (hip-hop biopic, one of my fave groups, etc.), but I definitely saw where Charles was coming from with his views. N.W.A., in all their influential glory, were also a pawn to the scheme of corporate execs and a sleazy manager for marketing purposes instead on genuine authenticity. I get that people grow up and evolve from where they were mentally many years before, but even at age 50, Dre is still promoting some of the same stuff that got him over at the age of 25 when that's not even his life anymore. Hip-Hop just to be about, for the most part, education and being a voice in the community, but nowadays it's become entertainment and other than a handful of artists, it's become the minstrel coon show we feared it would be to where it has become gentrified with spoofs like Iggy Azaelia. Hip-Hop used to be "for the children", but for almost the past two decades, it's become for the corporate office. Do not believe the story of execs not liking hip-hop music, because they're making money off of idiots like Young Thug and it's working.
@Tony-Tony Stark Man I miss hanging out at CAU in your office or the studio and having these type of conversations and exchanges. I can always count on you to break it down for the folks in a way that the message pierces through even the most dense static of comprehension.
"Compton that was then for this generation just as well been included on a CBS Newsreel of the 30’s era depression." I can't with you....lol
Thank you for reading and sharing your always sage input old friend.
@Lord Chillingsworth I am critical of the predominant culture of "modern hip hop." There have always been and are also currently artist and work that is progressive and affirming but by design those artists are not given the same platform as other artists who perpetuate the same cliched images and themes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic!
I am not about to spend any long time droning on about Straight Outta Compton.
The worlds socio-political, economic even climatological dilemmas have probably a facet or two too many to be solve in the 2 1/2 hours it took this movie to be screened before largely approving audiences. Perhaps and hour more than is usual for the target audience even. But hey..
SOCs Directors and producers I am sure wanted a riveting story, some true-to-life depictions and other embellishings for visual appeal . But more than anything they wanted raw cinematic attendance numbers. That gets them a shot at another film. I think they hit pay dirt. What reasonably more can one ask if the film offers a decent storyline, commendable acting and millennial generation accepting soundtrack?
Compton that was then for this generation just as well been included on a CBS Newsreel of the 30’s era depression. Yeah old heads will sit and look and nod and think they have uncovered the linchpin that connects the polar words of what was hip hop then with now. But chalk that too to the cinematic byproduct that
filmmaking does not mind audiences mythologizing along the way.
We are not living in a time when art is expected to be an extension of social, racial and even ethnical awareness, certainly not that it was a generation ago. I do not know if it should. It certainly is not the way to build four-fold superhero or Fast and Furious franchises. It simply isn’t.
Sure there are and were national and institutional forces that had stakes in minimalizing national urban movements of all types include hip hop’s. But too many in the genre were quite willing then and too willing now to be objectified in exchange for the bling that adoring fans wanted and want to believe are the spoils of in-your-face-rhyming, Midtown PR-firm generated beefs, and good ol American opportunity.
To cut to chase Compton gave the West Coast a Bronx –like Olympus from which they could reign down their hood stories for all that would hear. How long was hip hop gonna be the conscious-just-for-summer-fun outlet when so much more could be idealized if artists were seen as super heroes on a mission to expose “the man”, who doubled ironically as the record company and management deals, had to worry. Neither coast can lay claim to creating verse, beats, MCs, flow, rhythm, dance or art. That preceded our forced stay here.
So called Blaxploitation had a lockdown on thug culture, misogyny and violence way before anybody in hip hop had it or thought they did.
Same kind of analysis can be done of the pop audience received Selma, indie relished What Happened, Miss Simone or television’s iconic Empire-- all with some socially relevant and good entertainment thematic value-- but at the expense of some other social realities for which they all but dwarf.
The Straight Outta Compton’s of the world give entertainment value fairly easily. Preempted pertinent truths should be no over-arching criterion for pulling up.
Oh… and I think I have the visual of the intergenerational exchange between the romanticisation professor and his commendably indulging young audience that has us here scribing away. Clearly the latter did not glean the coding for “the good old days” and bolted like thieves when they had the chance. Good to know some folk still know some good entertainment value when they see it….ol
I really appreciate your willingness to take on this topic, however, like most critics of "modern day hip hop", you speak of the culture as monolithic in its negativity. You then offer no alternatives and show no knowledge of artists currently making great music with a message right now (including KRS One-check out Metahistorical in 2010, one of his best). I mention this because it is so very important to shine light on the good, along with lamenting the bad. Peace, and keep up the great work.
@bubba b those artist do not want to mess with their revenue stream by offering themes that are counter productive to a system that is focused on keeping young black minds unconscious. thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this subject!
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