“Then I heard dogs yelping, yowling, barking through this landscape, looking for my ancestors, looking for my grandfather, my grandmother, looking for me. I heard the men breathing, heard their boots, heard the click of the gun, the rifle: looking for me. And there was no cover.”
—Baldwin, James. Just Above My Head. New York: Dell Publishing, 1979, p. 386.
“The fact many people argue… that these triumphs show us to be ‘moving past’ race, is in fact part of the proof that we’re not; that, like the passenger who sees the train next to him moving and thinks that he is, we, also, are actually sitting still.”
—Allen, Harry (Hip-Hop Activist & Media Assassin). “The Unbearable Whiteness of Emceeing: What the Eminence of Eminem says about Race.” The Source, February 2003.
For anyone under the impression that Hip-Hop is a racial melting pot, think again. For those who argued, in the wake of Obama’s presidency, that the younger generation has significantly altered the nation’s racial consciousness, think again. For those successful Black entertainers, who lent credence to the concept of a “post-racial” reality, think again. [On second thought: screw yourselves.] And for those submitted to the illusion that, in the Rap community, color-lines are blurred, cultural differences: erased, and racial tensions: negated, Asher Roth has just proved you wrong.
Two days after the release of his debut album, the White, Jewish rapper found himself embroiled in a controversy, for comments made before a scheduled performance at Rutgers’ University.
On his Twitter page, he wrote: “Been a day of rest and relaxation, sorry twitter – hanging out with nappy headed hoes.” Yup! You read it right: “nappy headed hoes.” The same choice of words that catapulted shock-jock Don Imus to the center of controversy two years ago.
Most would recall the horrendously defamatory remarks Imus made about Rutgers University’s female basketball team—one with a predominant African-American line-up. Imus launched his tirade by describing them as “rough girls,” but, in true ‘bad boy’ fashion, had to press further to pinch the right nerves: “That’s some nappy headed hoes. I’m gonna tell you that now, man, that’s some—whew. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like—kinda like—I don’t know.” Those words sufficed in stinging the souls of millions (mission accomplished), and Imus himself knew, that this time, he had gone too far. Continue reading