Generally, I don’t venture out into the treacherous waters of controversial current events, but my social media outlets have exploded over the very public furor revolving around Gayle King and Snoop Dogg. If you are unaware of the situation, I will present to you the CliffsNotes version. During an interview, Gayle King delivered what many interpret as a disrespectful series of questions to Lisa Leslie regarding the legacy of the late Kobe Bryant and rape allegations from 2003. Much to the dismay of Ms. King, CBS released this salacious snippet to the public. Cue predictable fecal storm across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Snoop Dogg then lashed out at King via Instagram with some choice expletives and a thinly veiled threat. Gayle King proceeded to get dragged across all of social media, death threats followed, and close friend Oprah Winfrey offered an emotional defense of King. The Internet continued to blow up as everyone from Stephen Jackson to Susan Rice offered a viewpoint. Hell, even Bill Cosby weighed in via Twitter as Pro-Snoop. Wait – didn’t he write a book and go on a tour denouncing such disrespectful behavior from our black men. I guess that follows the mantra: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Misogyny loves Cue massive eye-roll.
First and foremost, I did not like Gayle King’s questions and follow-up questions. Now, King contends that the clip posted by CBS was aired without any context. And I believe that to be true. As a viewer, we do not possess any idea of what led to that moment during the interview. Nevertheless, Lisa Leslie was visibly uncomfortable with where the interview was going, and a stoic King continued with a soft-spoken badgering that felt cold and opportunistic. Displaying some emotional intelligence would have gone a long way. Now, if the 2003 rape allegation against Kobe Bryant required a journalistic dissection regarding his legacy, a better time would have been during or shortly after his retirement. It has not even been two weeks since his death; his family and friends are still grieving the untimely deaths of Bryant AND his daughter. Simply, it was not the time or place for the line of questioning that Leslie respectfully and adroitly handled.
Now, that brings me to Snoop Dogg. Brother, you’re too damn old for these shenanigans. Now, before I offer my view regarding his response to King, allow me to preface my statement with a short story about myself. Approximately 20 years ago, I landed a job at a laboratory in Farmington Hills, Michigan – a suburb just outside of Detroit. I did not own a car at the time, so I woke up at 5 a.m. every day for my long commute by way of two buses. During that time, a coworker that also lived in Detroit offered to pick me up on his way to the lab. He was an older gentleman, and he appeared to be a nice guy. Soon, I learned he was very much angry and bitter. I am not exactly sure why he was angry, and I did not have the stomach to question him. Every morning, I listened to various diatribes regarding gender and race. Soon, I opted to return to my 2 bus commute until I procured a car. Much like those uncomfortable morning commutes, I cringed as I listened to Snoop Dogg’s profanity-laced rebuttal. I understand the reason behind the anger, but the violent expression of that anger, teeming with racial conspiracy theories wrapped in male chauvinism and misogyny, wasn’t constructive at all.
The progression of time and age should be accompanied by the procurement of wisdom, knowledge and a definitive level of maturity. To be perfectly clear, there is a dignified way to deliver fair and nuanced criticism, and Gayle King should not be immune to said criticism. However, the level of attacks on King by some prominent celebrities has lacked that intellectual nuance. Truth be told, I am not surprised by Snoop’s reaction, as he hasn’t exactly been a paragon of righteousness and virtue. Wait – didn’t he drop a gospel album? Nevertheless, I have not been too surprised by celebrity behavior so outlandish that I have been desensitized to the point of quiet complicity. Snoop Dogg’s juvenile response was profane, reckless, hateful, and brazenly disrespectful. Listen – we bemoan the dog-whistle politics of Donald Trump, as we rightfully fear his inflammatory rhetoric could agitate an unhinged individual toward violent action. Yet, when Snoop Dog barks, “Respect the family and back off, b*tch, before we come get you“, he is hypocritically granted a pass. If Trump employs a dog-whistle, then Snoop used a bullhorn. He has since issued a clarification, contending he wasn’t threatening King. Yeah…okay Snoop.
That proverbial bullhorn symbolized a problematic attitude toward black women by some black men here in America. Malcolm X once said, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” Nothing appears to have changed since his death. Some individuals may argue that it has gotten worse. In the arenas of love, work, finances, marriage, parenthood, etc.; there has been an ongoing tension between black men and women that have been festering for decades. However, now with the omnipresent influence of social media, celebrity and common man alike have the platform to spew hate. And to be fair, the hate cuts both ways. Black women are conniving b*tches hell-bent on castrating black men emotionally, mentally, and financially. Black men are damaged beyond salvaging, forever avoiding life’s responsibilities while remaining perpetually toxic to everyone. And somewhere behind the curtain is a white man controlling it all and pitting us against one another. This madness has to end. Snoop Dogg’s response is just a symptom of a bigger problem.
Sometimes the resolution to a big problem boils down to a simple remedy – communication. Even when we vehemently disagree with one another, as black men, we cannot be reduced to visceral, debased conduct. We have to be accountable. And it starts in our homes. We have to identify and recognize our own toxic behavior and move with a purpose toward self-improvement. We have to do a better job of raising our children. We have to educate our daughters regarding how they should be treated as women. And we should definitely educate our sons regarding how they should treat women. That education should not come from media and entertainment. We need to correct and speak out against misogynistic and sexist behavior from our fellow men. Twenty years ago, I did not have the voice, nor the platform. But I do now. Black men – we have to do better. It starts with a meaningful and substantive conversation amongst us all.