Thursday, July 12, 2012

Love And Hip-Hop Disintegration

Recently someone commented to this blog their surprise at my pessimism on the future of Black America. So what then, besides unemployment, crime, graduation rates, or healthcare could be the cause of my less-than-cheery outlook?

The other week my office-mate introduced me to the hit VH1 show, "Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta". I can only presume that more locations are in the works. Anyway, this reality program about the messy lives of rap-star-wannabees is a shining example of life reduced to feeding on the misery of others. The producers and cast have perfected the art of turning self-debasement of an entire culture into art and entertainment, for fun and profit. And there are a host of other similar shows, including one with the wives/girlfriends of basketball stars.

Taken alone, one might call this harmless fun, but against the backdrop of all of our societal problems, this show is the exclamation point on a very important wake-up call. Survival of a group, culture, or species is not mandatory.

James C. Collier

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

This show and others like it is a sad reflection on the black community, especially for young black women. Even though white shows like Jersey Shore, Mob Wives and Orange County Wives are all pathetic as well, there’s something about the black shows that makes them far worst. I guess it is because seeing ignorant, deviant, violent black behavior has always been expected. And there are too many blacks who are eager to show they can “keep it real”.

BlackWorthy said...

Couldn't agree more with your post or the Anonymous comment.

Anonymous said...

I was the one who posted the comment you refer to, and this is some of what was on my mind. The scholar Walter Russell Mead has written in various places about how the changes in our economy (somewhat) mirror the changes that took place in the early part of the 20th century, when new technologies led to the decline of the family farm and a shift to factory and office jobs. There were job losses, disillusionment, massive lifestyle changes, and a lot of painful adjustments. No doubt some individuals were left holding the short end of the stick, but many others went on to new opportunities and prosperity that never would have been possible under the old agricultural model.
Our times aren’t totally analogous to those times and there’s no guarantee that things will turn out okay. But my point is that we’re all going through a seismic adjustment together and some people will find ways to thrive in the new economy, translating their skills from fields that are no longer profitable to those that are. Again, I’m aware of the special problems of Black Americans, but I’m not so pessimistic about their ability to face the challenge with the rest of us. (I am White, by the way.) I even hope large-scale upheaval will mean a fresh start for some, shaking them out of the low-level jobs that are going away and forcing them to struggle for something better. I know that might make it sound like I’m wearing rose-colored glasses, but I’ve had enough times in my own life when a bad thing gave me the push I needed to strive for a good thing.
I do think what you say about Oppositional Culture is important. Especially important, I think, is for more Black people to address it. When White people talk about cultural problems in Black America, they’re told to mind their own business at best and branded racists at worst – and whatever that’s worth, it’s not going to change. For those already steeped in Oppositional Culture, hearing a White person talk about it just gives them more to oppose. So, carry on.

Anonymous said...

carrying on...please know there is huge discussion among black people about oppositional cultures. some of us even live there daily. and we are not even incarcerated. never seen the love and hip hop sadness on the telly, never was a looky loo -- you know, those people who stop traffic on the un-wrecked side of the freeway to view the carnage on the other side...