Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Don't Snitch Policy: Who Penned It?

Did anyone catch the segment on CBS' 60 Minutes (April 21, 2007) where mega rap stars, Busta Rhymes and Cam'ron had the mike to wax intellectually? These men fell down on the job. The issue is the current theme of "no snitching to cops" under any circumstances. True, for several months different rappers are penning and rhyming threats to those in the 'hood who want to call the police.

It doesn't matter whether a shooting, a robbery or drug sale is the reason for the call. Rappers are now teaching that calling the police is bad. In essence, crime does pay. Our teens are listening to this. Once they start dancing to it, it's a done deal. That message is saved in deep memory. For those unaware of the power of dance: it is a form of communication. We send and receive messages from watching and doing the dance. People who love gangsta rap are singing and dancing to the breakdown of the social fabric.

The impetus to 60 Minutes looking at this music trend is most likely Harlem Children's Zone's Geoffrey Canada. The murder of a young man well-known to him occurred and no one has come forward to give information on the murder, though he was in the company of others, namely Busta Rhymes. Canada asked whether "anyone held the young man in their arms" as his life ebbed away or was it cold avoidance.

Busta Rhymes took part in the segment and stayed clear of any direct language regarding the murder. Rather, a video tribute to the slain man is what Busta Rhymes gives to a life that ended so early. Canada is very concerned about this turn in rap music. Rappers are teaching fans to avoid the police and let crimes be resolved within the community. Cam'ron displayed bullet wounds in his upper arms. He stated that if he knew a mass murderer lived next door to him, he wouldn't call the police. He would move. That's fine for Cam'ron. He has money that's too hot for his pockets. What about the average working person. Can we quickly put together two or three months of rent to move to another apartment. If you're in New York, that's $2,700 or $3,000. Cam'ron would have people spend thousands of dollars when all they need do is dial 9-1-1. Cam'ron would have folk spend thousands of dollars to move away from domesticate violence when possibly, shouting "Hey, quiet down or I'll call the cops," may do some good?

These two men had an opportunity to represent to the world what it means to be a man, a celebrity and a role model. They follow the script of "no snitching." Who told them to stick to the policy? Cam'ron points the finger to the record company. Cam'ron says he wouldn't be able to sell records without it. He's not saying the rap audience wouldn't buy it because that crew buys different genres within rap. The rap world appears to be directed to write certain lyrics or the music won't be heard; to dress a certain way or they won't be seen and do certain things or they won't get paid.
Lil' Kim followed the party line of no snitching and had a mini-series to document her preparation for imprisonment. Do you think she would've gotten a mini-series to star in for community service efforts? Probably not. Are we witnessing a plan to convert the US inner cities into havens of lawlessness and fear? Where people resolutely turn their heads to beatings, car jacks, crack sells and open prostitution? Remember, it's in the beat. You get someone to sing something, to dance to something and it's locked in memory.

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