I am so tired of Black History Month. Turn on the TV and you’re sure to see every major corporation has whipped out its special “African-American” commercial.
You know, the one featuring a doting old grandma or starry-eyed kid smiling as if they’ve won the lottery or just received word that the past 4 1/2 years were all a bad dream and Bush didn’t really steal the White House.
I’ll bet when Carter G. Woodson conceptualized the idea of Black History Month… he wasn’t thinking it’d end up being an opportunity for big companies like McDonald’s to exploit Black consumerism. I’m sure he didn’t think Black leaders like would become nothing more than a caricature with the words “I Have a Dream” stamped across their foreheads.
From the jump, White America has stigmatized and stereotyped Black people to conveniently fit whatever their agenda was at the moment. When they wanted free slave labor we were ignorant savages and only 3/5 Human.
During Jim Crow, when they wanted unchallenged reign politically, socially and economically we were dimwitted idiots, without the ability to think clearly enough to do things like vote.
But that was over 40 years ago and this is a new day, a new millennium.
Now we can drink out of the same water fountain as Sally Sue, but guess what? That’s right, we’re still stigmatized. And even worse, the music genre that was created to be a voice for poor, young Black people is being used as a tool to help perpetuate the stigma.
Think about how many times you’ve heard the words “Hip Hop Generation” or “Hip Hop Culture” used to describe young Black people.
Even Detroit’s mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, has been dubbed “Hip Hop” just because he’s in his 30’s. So what’s the point? The point is, we can’t allow a musical genre to define us, especially one that’s currently fighting its own demons and whose image is ultimately being controlled by rich white men like Jimmy Iovine, Lyhor Cohen and the good folks over at Universal, Sony, BMG, Viacom, Time/Warner and other major media outlets.
Who started this “Hip Hop Generation” bullshit anyway? If you ask me, it’s nothing but a marketing tactic for the promotion of that bitch Hip Pop… a way for corporations to target young Black people with their products i.e. Grand Theft Auto, Sprite and Airforce 1’s…by putting rap music and dudes with braids wearing throwback jerseys in their commercials.
But even more stupid are the people that fall for the current okey-doke and buy into this contrived image of what Hip Hop is or looks like. It’s emulated and marketed now…Though it was once known less than 15 years ago as “Jungle-Bunny music”.
So the next time you see a Black History Month commercial featuring rap music playing in the background, think about whether the company in question is truly interested in promoting knowledge or if they’re just looking for a creative way to sell you more french fries.