Thursday, April 26, 2007

Blog Post #5

One of the more prevalent topics in news has been Don Imus, his remarks, and his firing. Imus is one of the many shock jocks that inundate the radio frequencies today; in his case, however, I should revise that statement as past tense. He was ultimately fired because of his reference to the Rutgers Women’s Basketball team as being “nappy headed hos”. This statement charged with racist and sexist undertones is the main reason this has come to the forefront in the news.

Nappy Headed Hos. In order to fully understand this statement we’re going to have to break it down. Nappy - in small tight curls, kinky; Headed – this coupled with nappy makes a reference to a person’s hair; and Hos – yes, that is slang for whore, slut, etc. Put them all together and we have ourselves one very condemnatory statement. Beyond that statement, Don Imus and Sid Rosenberg tag teamed to refer to the Rutgers Women’s Team as being “hardcore hos”, “rough girls” with tattoos, and even referred to them as looking like a men’s basketball team (Toronto Raptors).

I don’t know what the Rutgers girls did to deserve these words. Does it matter that they are predominantly African-American; does it make it okay to says these kind of words about them. In this exchange between Imus and Rosenberg, Imus refers to the Tennessee team as being cute; I took a close look at the team roster, and the teams look very similar, one team just happens to wear red and the other orange. Maybe orange is more attractive, I don’t know. Also, as far as Rutgers being predominantly African American (8 out of 10), well Tennessee has about the same ratio (8 out of 11). Imus must just have something against New Jersey.

“You doin ho activities/ With ho tendencies/ Hos are your friends, hoes are your enemies/ With ho energy to do whacha do/ Blew whacha blew/ Screw whacha screw” Those are lyrics from Ludacris’ song entitled “Ho”. This CD went triple platinum, coupled with songs like “Move Bitch” and (I’ve got hos in different) “Area Codes”. I do believe what Imus said was wrong, but correct if I’m wrong, but aren’t Ludacris’ lyrics just as incensing and degrading towards women. But in one case Imus is fired, but in the other Ludacris continues to succeed in the music business (3 more platinum CDs) and has even branched out into the movie realm. The only one to raise a finger and question Ludacris about his lyrics was Oprah who stated that his lyrics “marginalized women”. I didn’t know certain people can degrade women, and certain people cannot. To me this seems like hegemony working: because to society Ludacris is seen as an artist who makes good music, and therefore it is socially accepted for him to say what he wants in his songs; Imus on the other hand has been known to society as being a racist shock jock. Ultimately society’s view of these two men, who speak about women in the same way, decided their respective fates.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

I don't think Imus has anything against NJ...or that Ludacris's lyrics are any better than Imus's comments.
Therefore, what does the Imus comment and it's overt rejection say first about the way he looks at women (forget the state part and the sport part for a moment here)? How did soc. react to Imus? Why is it that such over comments that are derogatory are identified and acted on, yet the insidious (covert/hidden/not-so-obvious) examples of the same are not treated the same way as the overt Imus comment? What does the difference illustrate about the way hegemonic power is reinforced and wielded in contemp. US society?
Also, with Ludacris, his lyrics (with many other musicians in his genre) are (b/c you finally start to get at this issue in the conclusion of your piece) often the target of critics--yet these criticisms are overwhelmingly directed at the musicians' use of violence, explatives, and their effects on children (rarely is the degradation to women a focal point of criticism in rap music).
What do these critiques illustrate about racism in US society...what's accepted, what isn't?