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Rappers Spawning A Generation of Unemployable Black Males

By: Chico C. Norwood

I was reading Dr. Boyce Watkins’ article entitled “Russell Simmons Defends Gwyneth’s Use of the N-Word….Don’t Do it Man” and two paragraphs in the article really jumped out at me:

“The difficult reality that Russell and other proud “n*ggas” in commercialized hip-hop must face is the fact that their music does little to elevate the masses, and only serves to make black boys think that it’s cool to stay high and drunk, have sex with everything that moves, kill each other on the street, disrespect black women and waste their money popping bottles at the club.

“The mouth full of gold teeth, tattoos up your neck and ten gold chains are nothing short of comedic exaggerations of the black male as a hyper-aggressive animal who will eat and murder other black men on sight.”

These two paragraphs really stuck out because it made me think about an article I read about high unemployment among African American men. According to the latest report from the United States Department of Labor, unemployment among African American men 20 years and older is 14.2 percent and 35.8 percent for black teenagers 16-19, higher than any other ethnic group.  After reading Dr. Watkins’ article it doesn’t take much to understand why?  And yet some want to blame President Obama.

Who wants to hire a black man who stays high and drunk, walks around in saggy pants with his underwear showing, can’t get to work on time because he’s up all night having sex with everything that moves, is hanging out on the streets all night looking to shoot or stab someone or popping bottles at the club.

Who wants to hire someone who greets customers and/or co-workers with a mouth full of gold teeth, a dozen different tattoos crawling up the side of their neck (the only possible piece of clothing he could wear to work would be a turtleneck sweater) and ten gold chains and a gigantic cross dangling down their chest?

This is not an exaggeration because on a daily basis I see young and some not so young black men walking around in saggy pants with their underwear showing and dirty t-shirts. I have gone into markets and complained to managers about young black men who work in the store and you are able to see their underwear because of the sagging pants.

I saw a poll recently on the Mississippi Business Journal website which asked the question, “which is more indecent: (1) saggy pants, (2) plumber pants, (3) low-hanging belly, (4) cleavage or (5) tight exercise pants.”  The results were as follows:  saggy pants, 31%, plumber pants, 25%, low-hanging belly, 17%, cleavage, 15% and tight exercise pants, 12%.  Although the poll is not considered a scientific one, it does reflect the thoughts and beliefs of those who participated in the poll.  Since it was a poll conducted on a business journal website it is safe to say business owners  and professional  businessmen and women participated. In other words people who do the hiring.

For 30 pieces of silver the likes of Kanye West, Russell  Simmons, Jay Z and other rappers have done exactly what Dr. Boyce said, “sold out the black community” by promoting the very worst that the black community has to offer,” which has had a rippling effect and contributed to spawning an entire generation of unemployable black males.

I venture to ask how many shopping malls and centers, supermarkets, etc. have Kanye West, Russell Simmons and Jay Z built with the millions they’ve made from these young “n*ggas” to put these same young “n*ggas” to work? Or should I ask how many Reed’s Jewelry Stores, which hawk Simmons’ high end jewelry, have hired any of these sagging in the pants young unemployed black men? I would guess, none.

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48 Responses to Rappers Spawning A Generation of Unemployable Black Males

  1. Mz Reply

    June 14, 2012 at 6:32 am

    “And yet some want to blame President Obama.”

    Maybe you have some validity to your arguement but the key you missed was that Black males aren’t all wearing saggy pants and standing on street corners. Many want to work but are competing with adults for low-end jobs such as McDonalds. Then there are those who can’t get a break because people like you are wrapped in stereotypical mindsets. Yes, there is plenty of blame to spread around and your super President gets a big chunk of it too! I’m so disgusted with Black folks defending him by saying he is “the people President” well who in the he l l are the people? Why is it so wrong for us to have expectations of him when he had them for us to get into office? Look around any impoverished community and there will be problems. Many of our young adults today were born crack babies in the 80s or have we forgotten that too? They are un/or undereducated throwaways that have outgrown the system. I know many 20 year olds and younger who live in abandoned buildings left behind due to the housing problems that hit our communities hard!Bordered buildings are in the masses in our areas. We live in communities that stock Arabs who make a mass fortune from us by installing liquor stores, beauty supplies and grocery stores that sell us the worst quality items. Oh yeah and they don’t hire us either! Aldermen in Black communities, especially in large cities allow these people to exploit us. Black greed is often the source as well. The old “I got mine, you get yours” attitude that drives us to forget where we came from. There are many sheep in the Black community and they aren’t all throw aways. The bigger picture is what you should be concentrated on. Russell Simmons is and has always been an idiot!!! The only community he speaks for is the one in his old distorted mind. He hasn’t been in touch with his roots in many years and so has many other rappers. Stop putting so much emphasis on these fools and focus your energy on what truly counts: OUR CHILDREN.

    • Zennetta Reply

      June 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

      You are correct not ALL black men sag their pants or stand on the street corners; however the reality is the “Stereotypical” types are the one’s who perpetuate “Thug isms” that’s synonymous with that style of dress. I personally don’t know ALL black men but the one’s I come in contact with through the organization that I volunteer with; most of them WONT! take a McDonald job. Mind you, I volunteer at an organization that help newly released prisoners,drug addicts in recovery, homeless, and people who haven’t completed high school and some haven’t finished middle school.These men have the audacity to say out of their mouth “I don’t wanna work for a fast food place Cuz dey dont pay no money.” SMH! But they will stand around the center all day telling street war stories while waiting for the doors to open back up for lunches. Most of the people discussed in this article are guilty of helping the perception that black men who dress this way are murderous, drug dealing, irresponsible,hostile and dangerous individuals. As for the “Super President” He should not be blamed for any misfortunes in the Urban communities nor should he be expected to change anything that happened during slavery, the 60′s or the crack epidemic during the 80′s. ( I guess your one of those people who feel like he (Obama) should do something about George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin too.)It is up to “US” in “OUR” community to set the standards of exceptable norms (sagging comes from the prison subculture of homosexuality.) Why embrace that as “our” cultural norm? Why do we get so upset when someone takes a jab at a subculture that don’t represent the mass of that community? Why don’t the “Community” become outraged when Man-Man shoot and kills Ray-Ray and nem? You can be upset with the author of this article for having a ” “stereotypical mindsets” but the facts are the facts. As for the “Community” economic structure. We allow every other ethnic in to capitalize in “OUR” community because whenever “SOME” of us get a dollar we are so happy to spend it outside the hood because it makes “some” of us feel like we’ve arrived. How long will the community allow “them” to dictate us what “we” need. We have city council meetings,elected city council representatives who we don’t challenge to do what they suppose to do!!!! The only thing we do consistently in our community is: Rob, steal, kill each other, and do drugs! Lastly, the trap, the “ho” stroll, killing each other, lack of black owned stores in the community is unacceptable! We need to hold “OUR” own community accountable. Women need to put some damn clothes on that’s appropriate and leave the hooker look to the video vixens and men need to pull their pants up period! We are living in the real world video girls and rappers are just entertainers who wear costumes conducive to their craft. A three piece suit on Bozo the clown wont sell that well.

      • Mz Reply

        June 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm

        Maybe you should find a new line of volunteer work. Judging isn’t part of giving . The Bible says you give freely. You are working with ex felons and you are offended because they wont take work at McDonald’s? So what! Your job is to offer it to them not look anymore into it. Its like believing that because someone is hungry they should be grateful to eat out of the trash. People always have options or at least they should. Black men are always expected not to have any pride but they do! There’s nothing wrong with it. They have talents and are entitled to a second chance and if McDonalds doesnt seem like one than let them wait for the next. You just do your job and sleep better at night. As far as the stores some people dont have the money or means to leave the community to shop so because they cant they should be served like animals? You need a reality check! Whether you’re one paycheck away or no where near poverty God can still humble you Sis. Dont think youre a better breed. Whether youre up or down all the World sees in Black. Again, you are no better!

        • Mike Holmes Reply

          June 15, 2012 at 11:57 am


      • Viv Reply

        June 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

        You are speaking the truth. Do not be deterred by those who hate the responsibility that truth imposes. Especially to those who have not spent one iota of their time or money “giving”. If they had spent any time volunteering as you do, they would understand the importance of maintaining control of the program and rejecting participants who’s presence is detrimental and toxic to those who really what help. Judging is part of effective “giving” and every established organization which seeks to improve the circumstances of the individuals they help understands this. Without discernment and evaluating the intent and purposes of those who come for services you have no way of knowing who is looking for a temporary fix (a handout) or those who seek to improve their perspective and opportunities. In an effort to actually impact a community it is necessary to judge those who participate in the program in good faith and whether their motives are sincere and or whether they are just selfishly using the services and creating a drain away from those who are truly seeking to improve their lot in life. The lack of good judgment skills is the key to most of these problems. We need to go back to to instilling the importance of judging right from wrong in peoples actions and choices. We need the ability to make good judgment decisions regarding our personal affairs. We need to engage the ability to judge whether an acquaintance or friend will have a positive impact on our own life and instruct our children in the ability to judge those who would like nothing better than to drag them down the path of destruction. Judging is the tool by which we manage and conduct our affairs! It is good and reasonable to look at the situation of another and recognize that they have continually and pervasively shown a lack of good judgement in their own life choices and learn from that. Judging is not an evil as is the popular view today, judging is an integral part of living a life of success and satisfaction. The popular view is just a cop out to remain stuck in negative circumstances and blame others as “judgmental”. It’s BS. Engage the brain, use the skills of appropriate judgement without apology or shame!!! Thank you for the time you spend attempting to make a difference! You are smart and honest.

        • Sam Reply

          June 15, 2012 at 6:48 pm


          I wish this site had a thumbs up button. Your remarks are so on point! We all need to exercise good “judgment”!

          Dictionary.com defines the verb form of judge as:

          6. to pass legal judgment on; pass sentence on (a person): The court judged him guilty.
          7. to hear evidence or legal arguments in (a case) in order to pass judgment; adjudicate; try: The Supreme Court is judging that case.
          8. to form a judgment or opinion of; decide upon critically: You can’t judge a book by its cover.
          9. to decide or settle authoritatively; adjudge: The censor judged the book obscene and forbade its sale.
          10. to infer, think, or hold as an opinion; conclude about or assess: He judged her to be correct.
          11. to make a careful guess about; estimate: We judged the distance to be about four miles.
          12. (of the ancient hebrew judges) to govern.

          Here is a freebie: pointing out the error of someone’s ways is NOT judging. It is called correction. One of the biggest problems in the Black community is people think they are above receiving correction. Those who are courageous enough to give it when required are reprimanded.

          We also need to know the difference between pride and foolish pride! We all have to start somewhere. That includes felons! The skills that are required for success in the business world are very different from the skills required for success on the streets. Appearance standards, communication skills and most important, interpersonal skills are prized. These young felons need to learn these skills somewhere. Their options as far as where they will be able to learn them are severly limited, due to their own poor choices. Zennetta merely stated the obvious.

          Excuses are the tools of the incompetent. Let’s stop making excuses for the bad choices our young people are making!

          • Mz

            June 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm

            Your thumbs up stems from your own inability to believe that because someone has exercised poor judgement they are not worthy of anything great! Unless it is your money being pumped into a center that assists ex-offenders then its not your right to judge! A volunteer is just that-someone who offers their time and attendance for a purpose of improvement. You can’t have preconceieved opinions or you do no good to those who need the service.
            Many of our Black men have been so badly beaten by the judicial system its outrageaous, and yet, we somehow we forget that because they reject McDonald’s! I’ve sat in courtrooms and watched judges gives our youngmen 10 years on first offenses. Crack cocaine carries excessive charges to Blacks while Whites get a slap on the wrist for powder. Do I believe that jails should exist? Of course I do but let the punishment fit the crime and defendants be judged by a jury of their peers. Public Defenders are disorganized and have an abundance of cases in which they suggest that our men “cop out” its a battle that we have severely lost! By the time they resurface they are seen as felons and nothing changes that!If you have a direct link to the process and I’m not talking “volunteer” than you would have something other than a useless opinion. White people walk away and can regroup their lives-our brothers should be able to as well. Obviously, you haven’t a clue about the system in which we live.

          • Sam

            June 15, 2012 at 10:27 pm


            Nowhere in my post does it state or imply that someone who has exercised bad judgment is unworthy of something great. I clearly stated that everyone has to start somewhere. The key word is “start”. Accepting a position at a fastfood restaurant is a start, not a finish. Judge Greg Mathis made a fresh start behind the counter at McDonald’s, then went on to law school. I’m sure you know the rest of the story. Why shouldn’t some of these other young men do the same or something similar? The fact of the matter is, most companies are not willing to take a chance on a felon. Why not accept the opportunities that present themselves and use them as stepping stones to something better? Law abiding citizens do it every day.

            It seems that you are as opposed to felons accepting fast-food jobs as they are. What then do you recommend that a felon do to make an honest living?

    • BigWill Reply

      July 10, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Excellent points

      • BigWill Reply

        July 10, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        HIV is synthetic. It has been developed over a number of years and it has an affinity for people of color. What the science and medical evidence concludes is that the HIV enzyme seeks out a receptor site in the blood of the Black genome. The receptor site is the CCR5 Delta 32+ (positive) gene that all people of color have. In the same sense, on the other end of the spectrum, is the 15 percent Caucasian population of the world, which is CCR5 Delta 32-(negative) gene. That means that under no circumstances, whether HIV came through the air, intravenous drug usage or any form of sexual activity, would the virus be transferable in Caucasian sector of the world’s population, which is basically of northern European descent.

        It is speculated by some experts that, in a worse case scenario, 85 percent of the world’s population could potentially perish under these designer viruses and designer synthetic biological agents. What we’re looking at here—because of this identified gene of the Black genome, this CCR5 Delta32+ (positive)—we are potentially looking at the eradication of all people of color.The bible states “My people perish for lack of knowledge. The true devil doesn’t wear red tights, a cape with horns protruding from his forehead instead, the devil incarnate are diabolical Caucasian scientist (men and women) in white lab coats.

    • Ol'Glory Reply

      October 29, 2012 at 11:25 am

      Blaming President Barack Obama for the economy is a refuge for those who refuse to accept that the Republican party is at fault. We are currently in a recovery from a major recession. The process is slow but we have actually seen nothing but positive outcomes during this administration. AND historically recovery following an economic dip such as this is slow and drawn out. That tidbit is for anyone willing to do a little research on the matter and not simply point fingers because they are miserable. The point is that President Obama is not the point of this post! Great job of interjecting your political views into the conversation but they are irrelevant to the situation. I can’t agree with all of his actions as President. I do, however, have the good sense to know that I don’t want another republican taking office right in the middle of the recovery that we can all thank President Barack Obama for and have a republican president undo all of his good works by putting back into place the policies that got us into a recession anyway!

    • AGM Reply

      February 23, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Mz you are right on many accounts but we All need to stop looking to place blame and solve this problem once and for all. I agree it that our children is our answer and the only way to change this horrible cycle that destroys black life everyday in these over-populated, underdevolped areas. We all need to look at ourselves and what we can do each day to change this. Not blame the president or public figures. For years this formula has failed bc lets face it these rich people dont care enough to make a real change in the places where they came from. Ie- JZ R simmons and many others. Morgan freeman says he doesn’t talk about racism or think about it therefore it does not exist. This is much easier said than done for kids living in poverty and warzone where everyone getsva chance but them. If we all work together and raise r choldren free of prejudice and more importantly show th em how to care about people born with less, then we can break this cycle.

  2. Kathy Henry Reply

    June 14, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Preach sister MZ!

    • Random Reply

      June 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm


  3. brother see Reply

    June 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    i think we need to focus on the roots of the problem or the causes rather than the effects. black people have been getting drunk and high and wearing gold teeth decades before hip hop even existed. why? look at how many of our jazz, blues, r&b, and soul singers ended up broke and homeless. i am far from a black capitalist, but when we focus on being employable rather than employing and empowering ourselves through entrepreneurship, we miss the boat. of all the things to blame on why the youth are so misguided, we choose rappers. rappers don’t manufacture guns, they don’t control the media and the images they see, they don’t produce the marijuana and cocaine nor the debilitating prescription drugs that they are prescribed, they don’t make the laws that disproportionately leave us behind bars, they aren’t responsible for their own illegitimacy, the fact that their fathers aren’t there or that their mothers (many times) unilaterally or irresponsibly decided to have them. they aren’t responsible for the school system that intentionally seeks to undermine their development into independent thinkers. they don’t put themselves unnecessarily into special education programs. i would be the last to promote sagging pants, but is that not an effect of this dysfunctional society into which they are born? is it not a symptom rather the disease? is it their fault that they are not taught to identify and question the corruption around them? i have never seen jay-z, kanye, or russell simmons (all of which have entered into the fashion arena) wearing sagging pants and although they are far from blameless, blaming them will not get us anywhere. this article is more of the same, choosing to demonize black men and boys instead of illuminating the root problems and focusing on solutions. what about the disease of consumerism that permeates our society? what are we doing with our disposable income? why are we not saving money? why are we buying our children flat-screen televisions, high-end sneakers and clothes, ipods and iphones instead of investing in their future? why do we not produce anything? why are our parents and religious organizations (as a whole) not teaching the importance of protecting our youth (their future, their health) by showing the importance of birth control? why do women feel the need to entrap men by becoming pregnant (intentionally or carelessly)? why do they consider child-support a form of income? why do we continue to enable this type of behavior by not showing that one day their baby boys will be on the short end of the stick as well? is it not our responsibility to promote a healthy sexuality to our youth and not rely on the media? why don’t we teach our young men to identify misogyny and objectification of women to help them build a healthy consciousness? the problem and the solution lies in the mirror. we are all to blame so stop pointing fingers and let us start (both individually and collectively) creating solutions.

    • Max Reply

      June 15, 2012 at 12:42 am

      I agree with pretty much everything you said, unless we all start addressing the root causes of the problems in our society nothing will change, in fact things will only continue getting worse…

    • wkelley Reply

      June 30, 2012 at 6:40 am

      You are so right.

  4. Manetric Douglas Reply

    June 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    MZ- I’m reading and agreeing with a lot of what you are saying but I still can’t understand why a large chunk of the blame would rest with President Obama when a half of the issues you listed effecting the black community are some of our (black community) fault. Not only that but some of the issues that you have happened way before this man got into office. I do support my President but I am aware of his faults and mis-steps. But we do not have a dictatorship in America so that means that he must get both branches of the Congress (Senate and house of Representatives) on board to make legislation to help with some of the ills that plight our community. I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with what’s been going on but they are refusing to pass any legislation that has a snowballs chance in hell of improving our economy. So that might be why so many Obama supporters get angry when people complain about what the President isn’t doing or should be doing.

  5. Mz Reply

    June 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    @brother cee: I agree. Thank you:)

    I do support the President. After all, who else is there? My disappointment stems from the fact that he lives in our community and prior to the White House that is a promise he made to our community. Not the masses, Im talking Woodlawn, Washington Park, Kenwood, Englewood, Austin, Roseland, Argyle etc with the first 3 only blocks from his own doorsteps. He has forgotten but we havent! Gay marriage even trumped us. We have a cesspool of abandoned properties that were left behind from the housing crisis that OUR kids are sleeping in. Obama has rescued the rich white time and time again and they continue to demand more while being unsupportive of him. Yet, we continue to wait! When he was campaigning, we couldnt get rid of him, he was always around promising. Now he comes home and takes a different direction. If you remember, I said there is enough blame to go around this excludes no one including myself and Obama

    • Mary Reply

      July 10, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      I agree with some of the things you say regarding supporting our President. I guess some of the things he has done for all of us is not enough. Who do you think he was thinking about when he pushed thru Obamacare. Poor Black people who show up in emergency rooms with no health insurance. Even when their medical condition is stabilized, they have no money to purchase the medicine. Who did he have in mind when he made the banks modify or restructure mortgage loans so people could stay in their homes? He saw the large numbers of Black forclosures in Detroit and Chicago. Who do you think he was considering when he extended unemployment benefits for over a year? Unemployed Blacks who are the first to be laid off and the last to be hired. They call him the food stamp President. Why? Because he extended foodstamp benefits to poor people. Many who are Black. What specifically do you want him to do? We have the Black Caucus in Congress. I have not seen them sponsor one bill for Black people or proposed any programs for them. They have the power in Congress to do something. Why are they not being blamed for being a part of this do nothing Congress. Why are they not supporting the things the President is trying to promote for all of us. The Republicans want to turn back the clock and take awy the little gains we have made. By the way Obama pushed to have the Black farmers paid the money that the government owed them.

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  7. Chris Newberry Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 8:42 am

    OK, after reading this article, I have to say that while there are many strong point, we cannot blame problems solely on “rappers”(which everyone seems to be forgetting that Ms. Norwood already said). However, in the VERY BEGINNING, it all starts out with us. We don’t take care of our own communities. We get mad if anyone “says anything” to our children. We go into the schools and start fights with teachers and coaches because we think they might be picking on our kids. We give them excuses for failure like “that rap music” or whatever. Last time I checked, rock wasn’t an artform full of wholesome messages and conservative fashion statements. Its simply a form of music(which we created) that people chose to identify with. At the end of the day though, the parents, family, neighbors, etc need to take it upon themselves to point out to the youth that in the end, it is up to them to take it upon themselves to make a difference in their community. We need to instill a sense of responsibility in our youth, for themselves and their community. A majority of the time, we as a people to often try to take the stance of “VICTIM” rather than stepping up, rolling our sleeves up, and lacing our boots. We don’t teach our youth about PROCESS, or the importance learning the details in a situation. I remember being picked on in high school by other high schoolers, their parents and elders because I worked at Chic-Fil-A. Fact of the matter was, my mother wanted me to be an independent man. She wanted me to recognize that it was my responsibility to gain and earn the things I wanted in this world. She didn’t want me to be 30+ living with her with 3 kids out of wedlock and no job opportunities or ambition to go to school and learn a skill. She didn’t go run up in my teacher’s face when I got bad grades, she got in mine. It wasn’t the teacher’s fault that I got an F on that test, it was mine, and it was up to me to raise those grades. And my mom had 2 jobs, yet she made a way to get out their and meet my teachers and develop relationships with them. If I came in late from curfew, my mother got on my case, and anyone else I was with that she knew. As far as she was concerned we were all family, and that is the relationship she had with most of my friends. And here is the kicker, I didn’t come from a house that banned rap music or hip hop culture. My mother just let me know when and where that mess would stop, and I think that is more of the problem than the rappers themselves.

    • Tracey Reply

      June 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Amen! There are many black mother’s working hard doing the same thing…because we understand that not to teach our son’s to be independent and self sufficient is to handicap them. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  8. BeFayiza Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Give our Black men some credit! I’m sure most who wear the sag have sense enuf to dress appropriately when applying/interviewing for a job. Y would u assume the reason they r unemployed to such high degrees is because of their mode of dress, gold teeth or tattoos?! Many White youth dress & behave(including rock musicians, celebrities) inappropriately day to day i.e. sag, grunge,skinny jeans, tattoos, spikey bright colored hair, black nail polish(on guys), piercings, torn/ripped jeans, drug use, etc. I don’t see/hear near as much writing of articles or news reports on all the inappropriate behavior of White youth. Yet these young White men(and women) seem to get jobs, piercings & all. Clearly, gold teeth & sag is NOT the real issue. Maybe many of them see through the BS that IS this so called society and deliberately (though probably subconsciously)rebel against the BS that most of us should if we weren’t so wrapped up in it.
    Reality check; this is a country currently with a failing economy. The whole potential workforce(all races) is now feeling the pain of high unemployment ranks Blacks have felt since chattel slavery ended. Our unemployment statistics have always been higher long b4 sag, even back when brothas wore suits & fedoras just to go see a movie or just hang out.
    As for Presidents, ALL work to serve CORPORATIONS, NOT the people. BeLIEve in the voting process and support whichever politician u wish but that is a moot issue, whether u accept that or not. We should ALL study the life work & accomplishments of Marcus Garvey to be inspired at the potential of Black UNITY, cooperation, pride and ingenuity, & self sufficiency, and all of that was accomplished w/o internet, or hi tech advantages we have today. Time to pick up where his movement left off, move forward with self respect, respect for each other, personal responsibility, building for & employing ourselves. All we seem to do now is continually blame the victim, miss the point and act like copying the lifestyles & ideology of a misguided social paradigm is the answer to our upliftment. Ms Norwood’s article is shortsighted and fails to fully see the real issues and again blames the victims.

  9. Chris Newberry Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 9:34 am

    No one wants to take responsibility for anything, they just wanna point the finger at everyone else. I am sure that in the 60′s and 70′s, people didn’t like all the bell bottoms, bright, tight pants and shorts, and all the hippy music full of drug use and fornication, but I don’t see them trying to blame tthem for anything, because parents were not afraid to be parents back then. Neighbors weren’t afraid to be neighbors either. That’s more of the problem than rappers are.

  10. mmstbs Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I can’t believe the comments on here. As long as the black community won’t take responsibility for its problems,nothing will change. Why can’t we blame rappers? Its ok if a black man won’t take a job at Mcdonalds? And comparing rock in roll music to rap. What is the percentage of white kids killing each other,wearing sagging pants and gold chains and being unemployed. That is the same as saying more white people are on welfare. Of course,there are more white people. Black people make up 12% of the population,so of course the number of white people will be higher. Black people will continue to be on the bottom until we stop looking outward and look inward.

  11. DJ Mike Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    I think the whole missed point of this article and most of the responses is take ownership. So many times everyone is looking to blame someone else. It is the ghetto mentality. It aint my fault Im a victim. Take ownership of your problem. I too have heard the i aint working fast food, but I’ll go hit someone over the head and rob them of the money they made working at McDonalds. It is disgusting and then blame someone else for it. No one told you to get pregnant you did that. No one told you to drop out of school you did that. Stop blaming everyone else and do soething about it other than stealing and killing. Someone said we didnt make the drugs, we didnt make the guns, we didnt make this or that, ok gotcha on that one. neither did 30 other ethnic groups so why the problem?? Really!! Amazing. Yep its everyone elses fault poor pookey was born to a ho out of wedlock, dropped out of school smoked some dope and killed four people. He should be given a medal instead of a jail sentance because he is fighting the power.

  12. Michael Stone Reply

    June 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    We have a man in our mist in the Honourable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Not hearing this man while he is amongst us will be our biggest failure.

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  14. NSB Reply

    June 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    As a HR professional, I can confirm that appearance (for better or worse) does affect your chances of being hired. This applies to African Americans and others. There are a lot of young Caucasian men and women who don’t seem to know how to dress professionally either, believe it or not.

    With that said, I acknowledge that young people will have styles of music and dress that are considered “rebellious” and I can live with that, as long as it doesn’t follow you to work.

    The bigger consideration is whether young people are being taught the skills they need to be successful in the workplace (and later in life). Specifically, being responsible, being punctual, controlling emotions and conflict wisely, working productively with a team, and accepting guidance from those with more experience.

    Unfortunately, it seems like there are less and less opportunities for young people to learn these skills. The thing that frustrates me about “commercial/mainstream” hip-hop is that it provides encouragement to be impulsive and confrontational in ways that lead to life-altering consequences. Listening to rap music doesn’t necessarily make one unemployable, but drug use and a criminal record do.

    The only answer is accountability – to be accountable collectively for counseling and educating out young people, and individually for taking ownership our own lives and decisions.

    Many of us benefited from having people of wisdom and experience around us to build us up when we’re doing right, and correct us when we’re not. Be that person to a young man or woman who needs it.

    However, after childhood, it’s up to the individual to make intelligent decisions. An 18-year-old has enough common sense to see how the world around them works. He/she has enough life experience to recognize avenues to success and avenues to failure.

    At this point, you choose your own destiny. If you do things successful people do, you’ll become successful. If you dress/act like you’re ignorant, you’ll be treated accordingly. Choose your path and accept the consequences for better and for worse.

    I hate seeing young Black men looking “thugged out” with saggy pants, in the same way that I hate seeing young White men with crazy tattoos and 2″ gauges in their ears… because it looks plain stupid. The only difference is that people associate that with all Blacks, so there is somewhat of a double standard.

    Nonetheless, I don’t associate myself with what some people equate to “hip hop culture” because it doesn’t represent me, my values or my family’s beliefs and heritage. So I don’t get offended when people criticize it.

  15. Peter D. Slaughter@yahoo.com Reply

    June 19, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Great article and guess what ? Time has ran out.
    Last Poets said ” white man got a god complex ” . As many black’s who have heard this or know about it.Don’t seem to realize it might be way to late.
    Self hate and slave type 21st century plantation social behavior is in full effect.
    Black’s love to complain but keep spending money with people who hate us and abuse us right in our faces.While a vast % of black’s are so worried about the life of some phony black sell-out in hollyweird in crossdressing homothug movie or on a safe negra commercial tv program the large genocide and eugenics operation continues full scale against u s black s and afrikan’ world wide.Read all the book’s by Amos Wilson and you might wake up.

  16. Barbara Reply

    June 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Basically, I hear and feel a lot of pain and helplessness. I thought it was a good article of the writer’s observations and opinions. I feel all of u. I think most missed her biggest point. U have to start some where. I did a story on McDonald’s where I went and actually worked there for a whole day. And yes, young me do come i their with saggin pants and the works to apply for jobs bcuz they don’t know any better. lol In working for McDonald’s (I also explored the corp as a whole.) What I found out for many, it is the first line to lifetime employment or business ownership. Again as the writer states have to start some where. Inspite of all the root causes to our struggling plight, we still have a responsibility to ourselves, our families, our neighborhood etc to do better when we know that we can. I agree with the person who said, we must quit looking outward and start dealing inward. It is true the best crime prevention is parental involvement. Which means no Jay-z, Simmons, videos, etc. will be a stronger force in your child than the values your family instills. Lets begin and start doing better within our own families, instead of talking about ( yo sista, cousin etc ) that hoe Tamecka having all them nappy headed kids. Get in there and try to help her, she’s your family. U cannot fix or make things better on the outside if your family is in crisis. There are many things we can do and are within our family to help create a better future for OUR Family, block neighborhood etc. A bit can go a longs way. If we start with family. Keep writing Chico, as a writer u did your job, sparked thought :)

  17. Resa Reply

    June 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Bob Johnson did more destruction to his own people than Jim Crow and Segregation ever will. Through out history the power structure has used Black people to cascade intentional destruction upon Black people.

    The entertainment industry is full of Black prostitutes to the power structure. They sell their soul for that almighty dollar. What do you think happened to early rap music? The birthplace of rap, New York was about fun and social issues. We should know if we take time to really look at the Black Experience in America, that whenever there is some type of uplifting and uniting Black people, the fear begins, people start to feel unconfortable, threatened and enact divide and conquere tactic. These tactic usually work. What happened to early rap? The power structure figured out a way to turn a positive into a negative. Guess what the answer was? GANGTA RAP! Because young people have no knowledge of their history, because of the brainwashing and the mental oppression of Black people, they were able to be successful in Black people being Black people’s worst enemy.

    You have JayZ and Kanye singing “Niggaz in Paris” and Russell Simmons and Naz saying it ok that Ms. Paltrow mimick Black people using the word.

    We have reality shows that show Black women in the worst light and we tune in. Young people in the music industry have no knowledge of playing an instrument, they just want to rap. Sex, Bling, pimpin, drinkin is what young people like.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 dealt with the legal aspect of racism. It was not meant to deal with the psychological effect of centuries of mental brainwashing and mental oppresion. Our culture, faith,names and language was taken and replaced with Anglo-Saxon, European culture, faith, culture language and name. Just because they taught it, doesn’t mean it’s true.

    Black people don’t think our history is important. Just forget about it and move on. The problem is you move on without know what your foundation is. Every tree that grows has a root.

    The system has been designed to keep us mentally inferior. Black people who speak out against the brainwashing that has affected Black people are called radical, militant, race-baiter, controveral. Black people refuse to deal with the truth because of mental brainwashing. We been told to get an education and that will solve the problem, but westernized education is not the only key. Mental oppression will still exist because we’ve been programmed to do whatever it takes to be accepted into a system that is designed to keep you in your place. It’s not just Black Americans but people of African descent around the world.

    Read about the British Empire. How do you think Christianity made it’s way to Africa? How did Black people in America come to know Jesus Christ? Why is it that everything associated with Black is negative? Why is it that people of African descent are always associated with poverty,oppression? There is something wrong with the history taught to Black people. There is an untold story that is hidden out of fear of power.

    We have got to stop letting others dictate what we think,influence our culture in a negative way, even if they are Black. Call them out. We need to know and teach our rich history to our younger generation to establish a foundation that will influence pride, intellect, respect and self-confidence. We can no longer blame anyone but ourselves because the power structure can only do what we allow them to do.

  18. Resa Reply

    June 19, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    The violence that Black people inflict on ourselves is epic across the world. America, Africa, the Carribean. Black men killing each other. Why is that? What is shared among Black people around the world? Brainwashing and Mental Control!

    Think about it. Colonialism and Imperalism. What’s taught to Black people by the Anglo-Saxons? Who ruled over Black people in the world, the British, French and Americans. What culture, religon and languages have been taught to Black people.

    What is the connection Between Black people and Hebrews. Is Christianity and Islam the faith of people of African descent or was it taught and forced for indoctrination purposes? Why is the history of Africans full of sorrow, oppression and inferiority?

    There is an untold history of African/Black people that has not been told. You can even say hidden. But why? It’s not a coincedence, it happened by design and when we know our own history and be proud of it we can then pass to the next generation unity, intellect, pride and respect of each other. What a new day that would!!! HOPE and CHANGE!!

  19. Resa Reply

    June 19, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Your article address things that we as a people refuse to acknowledge. The problem is, the people that really need to read your article don’t read. They are out on the block causing trouble and eating the cheese in the trap. How can we reach them? That’s the million dollar question.

  20. Mr.Rob Reply

    June 30, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Our youth need us! Thanks Dr.B for sharing true soul food!!! Teaching the past ten years has changed my life. Our youth are lost but there are more than a few that will listen…TO EVERYONE share this article with at least 7 teens!!! BE apart of the solution!!! To all rappers I challenge you to visit a classroom, NOT to promote your next dose of street truths… YOU… keep it real and look at the millions you continue to push the wrong way. Spit some EDUCATION before you go back to your new “hood”. Better yet make it rain on foundations that are trying to make a difference in all communities like the one you came from. hlrfoundation.org will continue to challenge adults to get involved…


  21. Pingback: Rap Music, Rambo, & The Postal Service: A Brief Look At Urban Influence « Reading & Writing Is For Dumb People™

  22. Charles T Reply

    July 10, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I think the author misses a larger point that black male unemployment runs twice as high as white male unemployment, whether the black man is in suit-and-tie or not! The truth is black employers are more likely to hire other black folk than non-black employers.

    Studies have shown white employers prefer hiring white ex-felons before they’d hire honest, hard-working black men, whether the black men be Ivy League-qualified, ex-offenders, sagging their pants, or otherwise exhibiting a more “alternative” lifestyle.

    I argue by dressing in the ways they do, young black men are implicitly recognizing and acknowledging these social and economic realities.


  23. satch Reply

    July 12, 2012 at 2:53 am

    to some of you folks get real!!The bros should get serious about school.the asian man is! the pakistani is! the east indian is! and they get hired in droves by big business.Go learn Catiav5, go learn SolidWorks, go get the FAA airframe & powerplant license and get a mechanic job at the airlines,learn CNC programming stop apeing rappers and get trained and get paid.At the end of the day it is your fault if you do not have a plan to get paid.Forget about crap like 22 inch rims,starting record labels etc that crap takes money you could be paying for tech training with.

  24. Mrtic Reply

    July 19, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Its a case of art imitating life, not life imitating art. People have been irresponsible with or without rap music. Society is screwed up. Most people that complain wont do anything but complain. As adults we all have freedom of choice & some choose to be irresponsible. Quit blaming rap…

  25. Pingback: Recoverable Irresponsibility: Why Rapper Music is NOT the Blame For Black Men Being Unemployed « From Ashy to Classy

  26. Pingback: Recoverable Irresponsibility: Why Rap Music is NOT the Blame For Black Men Being Unemployed « From Ashy to Classy

  27. Crystal Spies Reply

    September 7, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Looking forward to reading more. Great post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

  28. composting bins Reply

    November 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?

    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information.
    I know my subscribers would value your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an email.http://emaciatedthales.cage-rage-newspage.com

  29. alasha Reply

    November 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    all in all “ninjas’” make it bad for black people.

  30. D.A. Williams Reply

    November 17, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    You are wrong in your generalization of Black males. Such shallow criticism only helps justify continued racism and job discrimination against Black males. The African-American population is the only ethnic group in America where there are a million more females working than males. A generation ago it was the Afro that was the excuse for not hiring Black males. Now its sagging pants. Sagging pants and Hip Hop are the current in thing with young Blacks. It will sooner or later pass into history. The young Blacks who are involved in this music atleast have more control and gain more financial benefits from their money than past generations of Black males who were involved in music. The vast majority of their money went to white establishment record companies and organized crime. I never see such scathing remarks posted about White youths who are equally engaged in drugs and in some cases sagging pants. I have seen many many young hispanics who are former gang members sporting tatoos and working on jobs. So lets not exagerate the situation. Yes Obama is to be held accountable. Anytime a president gets 93% of a groups votes and cant deliver to that group then that group is not a political force but a fan club or worse a joke! If the president can make promises to people who have entered this country illegally gamed the system by having children to stay here and legitimize homosexuality just to gain votes then he can do something African Americans. Like it or not the guy you see with sagging pants today are tomorrows fathers. You dont think other young people from other groups get high, have children out of wedlock and behave in an anti social manner? Please lets be for real. Why did young Black gravitate to Hip Hop in the first place? Society had alienated them long before Hip Hop came along. Hip Hop was a way for underprivileged Black youth to express themselves. Music has always been that kind of vehicle. History tells us how people denounced the Blues and Jazz as low life music listened to by drug addicts and low lifes. So history continues on with Hip Hop. Lets put the blame where it belongs. Society benefits from young men who are made to fill a part of society. To render a generation of young men unemployable is not only unrealistic its downright dangerous. We need people in the workforce to ensure our continued survival in this society. Think about that. Its not written in stone that we wont go the way of the DoDo Bird!

  31. Spicypisces Reply

    February 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Brother See said

    “rappers don’t manufacture guns, they don’t control the media and the images they see, they don’t produce the marijuana and cocaine nor the debilitating prescription drugs that they are prescribed, they don’t make the laws that disproportionately leave us behind bars, they aren’t responsible for their own illegitimacy, the fact that their fathers aren’t there or that their mothers (many times) unilaterally or irresponsibly decided to have them. they aren’t responsible for the school system that intentionally seeks to undermine their development into independent thinkers.”

    Maybe you are not aware of cocaine and crack manufacturing in our communities by people in our communities.

    Perhaps rappers have not manufactured and controlled ALL of the factors/vices that you have mentioned, but they sure ADVERTISE those vices very well. They may not be responsible for the vast shortcomings of the school system, but they certainly PROMOTE the dysfunctional behaviors that inoculate the youth and the not so youthful to want to be rappers instead of striving for education. Record executives create the marketing campaigns, entertainers execute it, and our community consumes it.

  32. 価格 腕時計 Reply

    September 7, 2013 at 6:15 am

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