Truth: Not every controversy – most likely contrived and manufactured – should be dignified with a response. However, allow me to present another truth; ignorance cannot be allowed to injuriously metastasize the young minds of this generation or future generations. Sure, there are far more pressing issues at present that afflict the African-American community, but surely one can grant momentary pause to address obvious stupidity. Because, if left unchecked, the reverence and appreciation that African-American heritage should elicit will slowly dissipate with each passing generation. That cannot be allowed to come to pass. And with that, the subject matter today is hip hop artist Nicki Minaj, and the dubious decision to promote her new single using the image of Malcolm X (pictured above) with profanity and the word n*gga splayed across the top.
Now, was there a social or political point to made by utilizing the 1964 photograph of Malcolm X peering out his window with a M1 carbine rifle in hand? The answer, not surprisingly, is no. Minaj states that her new single, Looking A** N*gga, was written to empower women. Wait…what? Okay, before we delve into that bit of insanity, here is an explanation from Minaj as she states, “It was almost parallel in my opinion because he has this big gun ready to shoot at a lookin’ (expletive) bleep, and that’s how I looked at it,’ she said. ‘I looked at it as this is one of the most memorable people in our history, in black history, who voiced his opinion no matter what, and I understand how my intent was overlooked and I definitely didn’t want to offend his family or his legacy.” Again, wait…what?
Malcolm X and his family lived under the heavy threat of death and assassination during the better part of his latter years, and somehow Nicki Minaj thinks her tribulations with men are somehow equivalent. For the record, the M1 that Malcolm X was holding was not for show. It was not some sort of symbol. He had it in tow to literally protect himself and his family. Look, in the past year or so, Emmett Till was name-dropped in a vulgar lyric by Lil Wayne. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s image was re-purposed on fliers to promote twerk contests for his birthday. And we all remember Russell Simmons and the sex tape parody featuring Harriett Tubman. I remember a time when hip hop championed and celebrated our history. Question: When did some black folks get so damn disrespectful of our past?
And so, this is the problem with fostering an indifference to an overwhelming and spreading ignorance of our history. However, let me digress for a moment. A few weeks ago, my ear happened to catch D.L. Hughley lamenting the fact that Black History Month was the shortest month of the year and schools only teach the same old, same old – such as the history of George Washington Carver. Now, Hughley is a comedian, and given the fact that I was channel surfing, I am not sure if he was joking or serious. But, I can address his argument with this: Teach your own black history – 365 days out of the year. You have the power to do so. With as much information that is available today, it is really sad that we continuously look to others outside the black community to educate us on our history. People…you have a platform…use it!
Facebook. Twitter. Start a blog, hell, it’s free! Start your own platform to educate and spread our rich black history. Many folk use vast Internet space for bulls**t, yes, I said it – bulls**t. We cannot passively stand by as artists such as Nicki Minaj (and many more) reinterpret and redefine history to conveniently fit into their reprobate world. Enough with the stupidity. Our heritage is being manipulated and mocked for monetary gain, and it is time people are held accountable. The temerity, presumption, and ignorance of some individuals today is frightening. But the only way to combat the lack of knowledge is the infusion of knowledge. Crack open a book. Find something useful on Internet. Watch something thought-provoking. Ignorance is not bliss – learning is.