WHO: Rainbow PUSH Coalition and Sisters in Law What: “Hot Ghetto Mess” Viewing Party Viewing parties are being held across the nation in cooperation with What About Our Daughters. When: Wednesday, July 25, 2007, 9:00 p.m. Where: Billiards Room, Fox Sports Grill Atlantic Station, Corner of 19th and Market Streets, Atlanta Why: Hot Ghetto Mess is slated to premiere on BET on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 Although it has not yet aired, the Charlie Murphy/Reggie Hudlin (Friday) project has generated lots of media notice and opinion. For many, the very title - Hot Ghetto Mess - arouses negative emotions. The comments about the show on BET’s own website are overwhelmingly negative. The website of the same name shows photos of young children in situations that experts believe border on child abuse – such as children with guns and beer cans in their mouths. BET says that the television show is not a carbon copy of the website. We want Atlanta to help Rainbow PUSH evaluate the show. If it is merely funny, we’ll send roses to Debra Lee, President of BET. If the show has no redeeming social value, sponsors will be notified. Space is limited. For more information, or to RSVP, call Tina Jones at 404 525 5663.
I watched the BET awards last night the same way I watch cartoons - on acouple of different levels. You know, the Jetson’s are cute and funny while at the same time they present a biting commentary on man vs. machine. On one level, it was great fun analyzing the hair, makeup and costumes with my 22-year-old fashion maven. Latifah’s make-up was bizarre, Debra Lee’s new hairdo was cute, T.I’s pants weren’t just sagging…they were around his knees.
Jennifer Holliday and JenniferHudson are roughly the same size. Holliday’s glam black ball gown did her justice, while Jennifer’s too-small white mini made her look frightful. The comparison made for a great teaching moment, which cometoo few and far between with adult offspring.
Then, there was the nascent culture critic in me. Beyonce’s Performancewas a smash – the lighting, the costumes, the robotic opening, were justpure fantasy entertainment. Kelly Rowland sounded as if her mike hadbeen turned off, while the two Jennifers (Hudson and Holliday) remindedus with their rendition of “I’m Telling You” that this Extravaganza was really about music after all.
Finally, I watched as the activist lawyer looking for clues about theway the Hip-Hop community might respond to recent (and old) criticism that it promotes violence, misogyny and materialism. Parenting matters. While Beyonce’s father could be interrogated in several jurisdictions for pimping his own daughter, Diana Ross was glorious as she hugged her assembled rainbow of offspring and insisted on delivering a message, “you don’t have to shake it all down to have a great career in music. You can behave like ladies and gents. I will be giving Diva lessons when this is over.” The pained look on Beyonce’s face when the camera panned to her during Diana’s motherly advice said it all.
Luda’ apparently thought Diana was picking on him and retorted coldly during his acceptance speech that that “people should raise their own children” and stop criticizing Hip-hop for “not having any content.” As my grandmother would say, ‘a hit dog will holler.’ I can’t speak for everyone over forty, but I think Ludacris is talented and intelligent. He was wonderful in “Crash” and I hope more acting roles go his way.
I don’t want to censor Ludacris or any other artist. It is sufficient for him to THINK about his art and his craft. If he thinks about it, he will realize that he was on stage accepting an award for his conscious music, not for inviting young women to come “stand by this money.” If he THINKS about it, Ludacris will realize that it is ludicrous to be so insecure about his masculinity as to think he has to purchase female attention.
The winners cleaned up in more ways than one. Atlantan Ceelo Green’s group Gnarls Barkley beat out 3 Six Mafia and Pretty Rickyf or Best Group. Could we be turning a corner where good guys finish first? Let’s keep the conversation going.
Dignity, Decency and Equality Coalition Statement of Purpose The Supreme Court recognizes that “evolving standards of decency mark the progress of a maturing society.” We, who subscribe to this statement, come from many walks of life – from various professional pursuits, geographic regions, religious traditions, racial persuasions and ethnic heritages. Yet, we hold in common the ideal that every person is entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We believe that no person should be denied equal opportunity or equal protection under the law because of her race or gender. For the sake of children, families, communities and the nation, the undersigned hereby reject prurient, debased, racist, sexist depictions and descriptions of women and men in media, including film, television, radio, Internet, satellite, cable, music and lyrics. We are determined that blacks, other minorities and women shall not bear the burden of race and gender discrimination. We are united in our determination to raise a new standard of decency free of gratuitous race and gender exploitation. Without abridging the right to free speech guaranteed by the Constitution, and without singling out any genre or media platform, we reject indecent images and depictions that corrode the framework of decent society. We believe that an enlightened citizenry is the best guarantee of freedom. We accept responsibility for being savvy consumers of media and for conveying that knowledge to our children. We believe that public opinion is the most effective regulator of commercial activity, rendering censorship unnecessary. We believe the marketplace of ideas should be open to all and we insist on claiming the worth of our work. For the sake of children, families, communities and the nation, the undersigned hereby reject double standards of employment, promotion, contracting and compensation. We are united in our determination to break the glass ceilings and walls that deprive the marketplace of our talents. We must be free to compete in a global economy based on our skills, education and ability without regard to gender or race. We call on responsible image makers to consider the effect of their work on children’s self-esteem, women’s safety, and the nation’s security. In the information age, image is reality. We consciously invoke the spirit and courage of the 1920 Memphis Conference on Southern Women and Race Cooperation who determined that “since the public press often gives undue prominence to the criminal element among the Negroes, and neglects the worthy and constructive efforts of law-abiding Negro citizens, we pledge ourselves to cooperate with the men’s committees in endeavoring to correct this injustice and to create a fair attitude to Negroes and Negro news.”
We are determined to be free. We insist on taking our children to school in the morning or to sports practice in the afternoon without dreading for them to hear suggestive lyrics or comments of shock jocks on the radio. We will browse the Internet without encountering unsolicited pornography. We will listen to newscasts and other programming without having our sensibilities shocked, our dignity undermined or our character attacked. In order to preserve our dignity, promote decency and equality, we are prepared to: Use available technology to monitor and control objectionable content. Say out loud what offends us and thereby create new standards of decency. Report obscene, indecent and profane broadcasts to the Federal Communications Commission. Urge the Congress to expand FCC jurisdiction over obscene, indecent and profane material to cover the Internet, terrestrial/wireless and cable, since in a New Media age the medium of transmission is seamless. Urge the Congress to adequately fund the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission so that it may protect and preserve fair employment practices. Urge media conglomerates, directors, producers, artists and audiences to resist stereotypical depictions of blacks, other minorities and women. It is possible to be profitable while seeing women, African Americans and other minority communities in all of their diversity. Resist advertising of corporations that insist on supporting obscene, indecent and profane lyrics and images and refuse to purchase material that is obscene, indecent or profane. Vote with our dollars and with our ballots for decency, dignity and equality.