So this week in pop/hip-hop circles, four albums that people more or less have been waiting on dropped. J.Cole, Chrisette Michelle, Kelly Rowland, and Kanye West all dropped albums yesterday and hip hop heads the world over rejoiced. It was basically a firestorm of reviews and acclaims and critiques and twitter quotes. Although i refused to purchase Kanye’s album because I didn’t believe it was remotely worth my money or my time (and I don’t financially support sacrilege) , I did hear one of its songs a couple of weeks ago because the video of him shouting it off various buildings across the world via projector was released about almost a month back.
So I took a listen to dear brother West’s song New Slaves and if you wanna check the lyrics you can find them here. The general sentiment of the song is a discussion of how the enslavement of Blacks has not disappeared only changed its form…more or less. Potential for a great discussion on the state of Black Celebs and whatnot right?
So why was my first reaction to the song this:
I believe there is validity to the position Kanye is taking in this song but to what end? whole point is to discuss how Black rappers, and other Black celebs or Blacks in power or Blacks in general, are conceding and gladly accepting this new form of slavery or oppression…and that’s it. Not oh we should change some things or oh we should prob try to fight or fix this issue..nope. Just “welp look at these shiny new chains Mass’a dun acquired for me, I’m sho’ll is grateful for it, so grateful that I’se gon’ make a song about and tell all tha otha’ folks about it and share my story”.
Or at least that’s what I heard.
I’m not shocked about this from Kanye. Honestly, hoping that your token, run of the mill rapper or celebrity is going to do something life changing or counter to the system is pretty much folly but I bring this up because it’s an issue I face when I think about what I want to research or who I want to learn more about in my research. Is uncovering or revealing or noting a truth of sorts enough? If I were to research poverty conditions in any random low income neighborhood across the nation and document their life story and once I published my research on their health condition, mental health status, and whatnot I just let it be there? Is there more I should do to help the people I’ve studied? Should I work with them or for them or on their behalf?
Personally, I believe that the mere statement of a problem is never enough nor even worth stating in the first place. Granted, I know research on low income residents and Kanye’s latest attention getting rhyme are in two completely different universes but Ye’s declaration of his complacent place in this “new” slavery (if you agreed to it is it truly slavery and is the exploitation of people for capital gain really new?) got me to thinking. It’s fine to note that the way Blacks present themselves in popular culture at times is very much two seconds away from this:
But what’s the point of bringing it up if you’re going to keep on perpetuating the symbols of the chains and shackles anyway? You really felt the need to just give us a diary entry from “A Day In The Life of The Rich, Shucking and Jiving Black Celebrity”? I guess the inaction or slight inkling of the will to change is the baffling part to me.
And yes I know it’s just a song blah blah the industry blah blah what has to be done blah blah but this song was quite the table shaker and if you’re gonna shake tables, do it with a point. If the great Malcolm X gave all those speeches about the plight of Black America and then went sat at his house, kicked his feet up, and ate Cheetos and a cold pop and went to sleep how’d you feel about that? Or if the phenomenal Ida B. Wells, after writing about the horrors that Southern Blacks had to endure due to lynching and various other Jim Crow heinous acts, just published the document and then moved to Europe to live out the rest of her days!
Telling us about bad things and then dropping the mic and going home is USELESS. (Just letting y’all know I am not in any way saying that Kanye’s new song is anywhere near as important as Malcolm’s or Ida’s work just using examples). I’m not just throwing shade at Kanye either, I’m a pretty big fan of his collection of work, but his song is the freshest in my mind. There are several people who have expressed similar sentiments and whatnot (i.e. Cole’s Chaining Day).
But alas, ’tis an issue of our time. Being controversial for controversies sake. For all my readers, I would truly love to hear how you feel about highlighting a situation that needs changing? Do you believe people are obligated to do more? Or should just throwing it out there be enough?
Till the next go round,
-Brini Weenie, the Incredible Bri, Briizy
P.S. My YouTube channel is going strong so check it out here and getchu a piece of this awesome digital Bri-ocity.
“So you must go and make disciples of all nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And you can be sure that I am always with you, to the very end.”-Matthew 28: 19-20
10 thoughts on “What’s The Point of A Truth?”
Yassss sistah girl
Girl, you ain’t never lied. I personally think Kanye lost his damn mind after his mama passed away. He (and his music) hasn’t been the same since. But yeah, I agree with you. Stating a truth is only part of the task, otherwise why bother? Did you think people didn’t know? I think another part of it comes down to money- the craptastic music of today thrives because it’s allowed to. Somebody’s buying it, right? But it sure as all get-out won’t be me.
Pretty Much. You have to draw the line somewhere with these artists and their “deep revelations”
Reblogged this on khaliaismain and commented:
This definitely made me think
OMG I’m glad! Thanks for reading
You should listen to what Charlemagne said about Kanye and his ways in an interview. He hit the nail on the head. Kanye complains and says a lot about “not being for sale” and how people have become new slaves and although it may be true to an extent, he doesn’t provide any solutions imo. He claims his not for sale but is signed to major corporations and brings out a new album which people have to buy. I’m not really a fan of Kanye anyways. Great post tho!
Thx! And that’s a completely accurate analysis of kanye. You’re just making noise for no reason. Like just be the coon you act like and rap about money and cars bc that’s the life you live
First thing’s first: you wrote up a great piece, as you always do. Maybe my issue is that I just took it as entertainment and nothing else. As you know, I’m about as big a Kanye fan as they come, and I really enjoyed the album, New Slaves included. But that’s neither here nor there. The one point I’d like to make is that by even saying anything at all, Kanye’s already done more than most big stars in the entertainment business. By even bringing up the serious issue of privately owned, for-profit prisons, he’s done a lot more than, say, the likes of Jay-Z and LeBron James ever have. But that’s not really meant to praise Kanye, because to me it’s just a song, and you’re 100% right in saying he solves nothing. What I’m getting at is I wouldn’t ever expect anyone in the entertainment industry to ever change the culture of anything other than their craft, nor do I really feel like they’re morally obligated to. They may have the means and the platform to be leaders in society, but would any of them be good at it? To me, it would certainly be great if they did more, but any kind of social awareness we get from them at all is a plus. There are few, if any, rappers I’d trust to fix any serious problem. I wouldn’t expect Kanye to have the answers, so I’m not going to be mad when he doesn’t give them. He’s really, really good at music, and that’s about it.
Yeah that’s the value I take most entertainment stuff with. I guess when someone’s toting themselves as so much different from the rest of the pack and you take a step back and you’re like “oh wait you’re almost exactly like everyone else” it gets confusing.
But kanye is def not the first or the last to do it but I do believe everything has an impact and entertainers have an alarmingly strong one so I look at it as make everything count. But then again I’m not an entertainer and I can’t speak for what it’s like to have to make profit and maintain relevance but I guess since I’ve seen a few artists be what they say they’re about (Badu, talib, etc) I know it’s possible but I guess that’s too much to ask of ye.
Fair point that they do exist. I guess the higher up you go, the harder it is to be that person. Or more like, the harder it is for that person to be accepted my the masses. Maybe a little of both. Michael Jordan once said when asked why he was never politically active, “Republicans buy shoes too.”