The rap group Three-6 Mafia recently won an Oscar for its dubious lament, "It's Hard out Here for a Pimp." But what their song failed to underscore is that if you happen to be pimping the pathologies of American ghetto sub-culture for material gain, things couldn't look any better. For better or worse, this fact was brilliantly illuminated by the backlash over Don Imus' despicable comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. Now that CBS has decided to terminate Don Imus's appearances on its network and not simulcast his syndicated radio show, many in the black community feel they have been vindicated. But in truth the exploitation never even skipped a beat.
First in line to make a buck are the recording industry and network pimps like BET, pimping ghetto culture to make a buck. Pick a random hour of programming, and you will find language and images depicting some of the worst aspects of human nature imaginable. So powerful is this programming, that the most vulnerable among the viewers eventually become conditioned to believe that they are in fact the hos, bitc–s, ni–as and gangstas they see depicted on the screen.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, major record labels and their executive companies are laughing all the way to the bank. Their artists enjoy celebrity status, garnering glowing reviews in the Washington Post and New York Times, who never even mention the fact their songs denigrate women and minorities.
A little farther back in the line you will find the talent pimps, including the promoters, actors, rappers and other entertainers who've chosen to use their creative talents to influence teenagers negatively with their increasingly violent and disrespectful attitudes about women and their promotion of sexual promiscuity and aggression, rape, and physical abuse against women. Of course, we're not speaking here of the rap artists that communicate opportunities for advancement and real self-esteem as a matter of survival. No, we speak of those rappers who tell our young through their music that violence, illiteracy, fornication, profanity and drug use is cool. And when things get too hot in the hood from all the kids that have started to believe and act out the gangster fantasies they see presented to them, these artists forsake their street credibility and run away to the suburbs where they raise their families in upper middle-class splendor.