Hip-Hop Fridays: I Love My Bitch - Protecting The Borders of Hip-Hop Culture by Minista Paul Scott
"Waitin' for someone to pity us. While we findin'beauty in the hideous."
Black Star (Thieves in the Night)
You can hear the screams coming from Apartment 106 on Park St every night at 11:55. The door slam, the loud argument, the sound of a broken vase or something. Then five minutes of uncontrollable crying, followed by silence...You know that Trey is home and he's whoppin' Twanna's behind, again. But Trey's your boy, so you don't say nuthin. Sure he might hit the "Henny" a little too hard and slap Twanna up a little too often but other than that, he's a good dude...Just got a few issues. So you deal with the drama by burying your head in your pillow and waiting for it all to blow over. You get up the next morning expecting business as usual only to find the yellow police tape draped across the parking lot....
Not only is Busta Rhymes one of the most innovative forces in Hip Hop, he is known as one of the "good guys" in the industry. While others have gained fame promoting thuggism and other genocidal activities, Busta is known for puttin' out humorous party jams and droppin' an occasional jewel of street wisdom.
That is why his latest offering "I Love My Bitch" is problematic on many levels.
The main question is no matter how much a Brotha might appreciate Busta's contributions to Hip Hop from back in the day when he was "Raaah Raahin' like a dungeon dragon" on that the "Scenario" joint to the present , when do we say enough is enough? How long are we going to tolerate Sistas being called bitches?
Am I sayin' that "I Love My Bitch" is the most offensive song that was ever recorded?
Am I sayin' that it is the first song ever to disrespect Sistas?
No. Lyrics that diss Sistas are nothing new and it is hard to tell Junior not to pump Busta's CD when Grandpa Huey still has the original 8 track of Funkadelic's "No Head. No Backstage Pass" hidden in the shoe box in the back of his garage. Even the old Hip Hop headz, the original B-Boyz and Gyrlz have failed to live up to the codes of conduct that were ingrained in most pre 92 Hip Hop.
Busta could not have performed a song like "I Love My Bitch" back when he was with the Leaders of the New School without gettin' a backstage beat down from tha Sista Squad made up of Queen Latifah, Sista Souljah and Queen Mother Rage. But this ain't 1991 and the only response from tha Sista corner, today is Kelis singin "I love my nigga" on the hook.
The main reason that we, as a Black community do not, effectively correct this issue and many of the other 99 problems facing us on a daily basis, is our inability to have a clear and focused Black on Black dialogue session without it being misdirected and diluted by outside forces. We must clearly state that this issue is about the disrespect of Black women and Black culture, nothing more, nothing less. Any discussions of other "isms" or "phobias" can be discussed in the meeting room down the hall. Too many times at forums dealing with the disrespect of Black women, feminist activist Billy Jo Kornegay and gay rights leader Pierre Francois bumrush the mic and push Queen Nzinga off the podium. Don't get it twisted. There is a difference between the issues facing white folks and those facing Black folks. To borrow from Kwame Ture, even the most oppressed white people are fighting for power and privilege. Black folks are fighting for survival!
What we must do is put a border around our Black culture and surround it with intellectual Afrocentric snipers who will shoot first and ask questions later. In other words, deal with the blatant disrespect of the Black community, first and then listen to the excuses of "well, I'm not talkin' about "all" Black women..." and " that's how they do it in tha streets..." only after the dust settles.
We have to appeal to the consciousness of the Hip Hop artists and remind them that we are in a war for the future of a generation. There must be more pressure put on them by the Black community to put out positive material than the industry puts on them to do the negative thang. We must also cut off the supplier by demanding that the billion dollar corporations allow the artists to make the music that they truly want to make without holding their contracts over their heads forcing them to make genocidal music on the pretense that it "sells." We must send emails, letters and faxes telling these corporations that we will no longer tolerate songs with Sistas being referred to as bitches.
So what are we gonna do? Do we not say nothing because it's Busta Rhymes or do we take this opportunity to address a key issue in our community, the disrespect of women in Hip Hop, regardless of from whose mouth the disrespect comes. Remember, at some point silence becomes consent and as Eldridge Cleaver once said "caution becomes cowardness."
The choice is yours Black people. Do we stand up and fight for the future of little Black girls or do we bury our heads in our pillows, tonight and hope that everything will be alright when morning comes?
Truth Minista Paul Scott represents the Messianic Afrikan Nation in Durham. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his blog at www.truthminista.blogspot.com
Minista Paul Scott
Friday, May 19, 2006