Bigger than Rosie O?Donnell?s war of words with Donald Trump and Barbra Walters, bigger than the Palin Letterman feud; it?s when the winner of American Idol invades your local news, it?s when Susan Boyle is taking up segments of that today show concerning mental difficulties, as did Britney Spears? infamous removal from her California home. It becomes a problem when celebrity news over shadows actual news despite programs devoted to it. Everyone remembers the Don Imus scandal involving racially charged comments about a girls college basketball team; it seems as though the public and those in the industry, are now treating the talk show host or other media personality with the same credibility as a nightly news reporters, or expecting the same type of credibility. Too often what it does is spawn social debates that are not really debates, that never get to the heart of issues only create fad opinions and drown out real news.
The Don Imus headlines were reading ?this has scarred me for life, I don?t know what he meant by nappy headed ho?s but I know that I?m not one?, and the coach using those girls as a pulpit for women?s issues, talking about a moment being stolen from accomplished athletes. As a part African American individual, I was more appalled by the amount of coverage given to the incident; I was shocked by what was not said by anyone. Rather than sending a message of poise and comprehension of the media climate in our celebrity obsessed, overly ?news? saturated society, by stating those comments are despicable, degrading for future?naming their individual accomplishments and walking off the stage, closing the book on an idiot; they attempted a show of strength that comes off as victimization, leading to quotes like the one at the top of this article. One member conceited the language?s use in rap music, but not before assuring the viewers she wasn?t a nappy-headed ho. The line should read who the heck is Don Imus; why does anyone care? And why was every media outlet paying attention to 6 words of a radio shock jock, an entity who is all of what the label implies, who few listen to anyway?
I was disgusted by the conversation missing; the real discussion beginning in understanding we are sacrificing real news for this, celebrities that should carry little weight, when we look at other pieces to the true conversation, what could be termed the unsung debate. The fact that we may have been dealing with a vernacular issue; he may have been badly using ?black vernacular? to pay them a complement. Could he have been trying to point out their toughness and athleticism? The fact is public outcry, not Don Imus, stole the moment away from these young athletes. It was the public screaming, the media clamoring that took this off into the stratosphere, away from basketball.
Discussion begins with the fact that rap?s not going anywhere; that rap wasn?t what caused Mr. Imus? words. Fact is it takes little brainpower to understand vilifying rap music does nothing to change race relations or the circumstances that create the objectionable content in the fist place. Many rap stars use words like B-, ho as adjectives that mean woman no judgment or degradation intended. We have no right to vilify the star before we vilify the circumstances that surround them, to chastise someone attempting to take their negative experience and turn it into a positive. For people seeking to sanitize the lyrics, content, subject matter, life cannot be sanitized; there is some ugly stuff out there. We forget the rap stars that go on to do other things sponsor mentoring programs, rappers who used music and ended up giving back.
Quality conversation starts when we admit the girl was silly mentioning music, it being unrelated to the offensive remarks and, not being born in a vacuum, her knowing something of the media today. Fact, we don?t know how many people go listen to a rap record instead of going to get a gun, beat up their significant other, who play it out in their head, at home rather than acting on it, because that doesn?t make the news. It begins by comprehending the world at large limits women?s options everyday without such comments. What a rap record might do is get them through it, show the disadvantaged a picture of some success that didn?t include illegal activities or provide a way out of them. We don?t know what the cultural impact of this type of music is; it could be inspiring a generation to make ?cleaner? music, different kinds of music.
Ceasing listening to broadcasters lumping humorous TV shows in with such remarks, would have been a positive, one has nothing to do with the other. Similar to Donald Trump?s reactions to Rosie O?Donnell; they shut up if we don?t listen. It starts by telling adult role models like that coach the power of no comment, the power of not grabbing every microphone to declare what your not and not appearing on talk shows to speak about it, when they are not praised by others for their supposed dignity when they mishandled it completely and when we realize it is not the nightly news and should not be held to that standard when we question what important things we?re missing as our news is cluttered with this.