An Open Letter to our Urban Youth
by Keena Carson
Last night on BET’s “Don’t Sleep” (which airs every Wednesday at 11pm EST) with TJ Holmes, the topic of discussion was Chicago’s ongoing crisis with urban street violence and whether or not rap music plays a part of its increasing murder rate. More specifically, the show spoke on the death of young Chicago rapper Lil’ JoJo and his infamous feud with Chief Keef and his “3hunna” gang. First of all, we MUST tell ourselves that the violence that has struck Chicago in 2012 is UNACCEPTABLE! In 2011, 433 murders were recorded in Chicago. Currently that number is already at 501.
So what’s the problem and HOW CAN WE SOLVE IT? Experts say (via Lupe Fiasco) that the three main contributing factors in urban violence are aggression, sexuality, and materialism. Now whether that directly coincides with today’s rap music and its stars is debatable, however, we would NOT be “keepin’ it real” if we didn’t acknowledge the fact that the messages and images in the majority of rap music today promotes AGGRESSION, MATERIALISM, AND SEXUALITY. Should we SOLELY place the blame on rap music for the outrageous increase in violence amongst our urban youth? Of course not! Though the messages in rap music are vile, overtly sexual, and just down right ratchet, at the end of the day…RAP MUSIC IS ENTERTAINMENT and should be treated as such.
The PROBLEM is when that 10 year old boy who just so happens to get his hands on his parents Rick Ross CD, listens to a track that comes on and that song tells a story about a young dope dealer that smashes his “bad bitch” at 3am in the morning and then wakes up the next day and spends all his money on the newest Maybach. When that 10 year old doesn’t have mom or dad around at home to explain to him that the song that Rick Ross made that has that dope beat that he loves much is just entertainment, thats where we begin to fail our youth. No one is at home to teach him that the lifestyle that is glamorized in rap music is not a reality for most and if it is, it comes with major consequences that the rappers don’t talk about in their music.
“I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way”
-Whitney Elizabeth Houston
Whitney Houston said it best with that opening line. It all starts at home! Young mothers and fathers have got to do better at raising our children. Yes, it may be cute that you and your 5 year old baby boy can recite the lyrics to “Bandz A Make Her Dance” in perfect unison, or that your 10 year old little girl can twerk it to 2chainz like she’s dancing to pay for next months rent. All behavior of which you, the parent, have video tapped and uploaded to youtube for the entire world to see in hopes of your child’s video becoming popular and making it on WorldStarHipHop (50,000 views YAY!!!) All of that is entertaining indeed, but what kind of message does that send? It sends the message that that kind of behavior is acceptable and frankly, its not. Our children are growing up way too fast these days and its doing nothing but creating the on going cycle that is causing our youth to resort to killing each other…. and all over of a pair of Jordans.
So now the question that everyone has is how can we change this and break the cycle? Push your children to strive for an education. Make individuals in their community such as their youth pastor, their teacher, or their doctor the “rockstar” that they can look up to. Stop letting these rappers do YOUR job of raising your children POINT. BLANK. PERIOD. On the flip side of that, rappers need to also stop defending (and co-signing) the senseless and negative actions of our urban youth (Yes 50 Cent, I am talking about you! click here) The urban youth is turning to the pimps, strippers, and drug dealers on the streets because they are not getting the love and attention that they need at home. Social media is being used amongst the urban community to spread ignorance instead of spreading positivity. Teenagers are spending hours upon hours on the internet and posting videos of themselves doing GOD KNOWS WHAT with hopes of becoming the next “internet sensation”. This list can go on, and on, and on, and on…
All of this I’m sure you all have heard before. I for one am sick and tired of seeing news stories of our young black brothers and sisters getting murdered and beaten dominate “OUR” media, only to turn around and see it glamorized in “OUR” entertainment.
Come on ya’ll…WE HAVE GOT TO DO BETTER!
© 2012, ShesNotFamous. All rights reserved.