Close call, "Middle America."
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Calvin Broadus,
AKA Snoop Doggy Dogg, now sees himself as a mainstream commercial entity.
That's right, according to the rapper, who says he no longer uses drugs --
"Middle America would rather me be pimping than gang-banging." To this end,
Mr. Dogg just signed deals with both Macy's department store and Jim Henson
Co., the Muppet people.
Mr. Snoop designed a clothing line, and when approached by
Macy's, he initially balked at softening his image in order to make his
clothing more palatable to mainstream America. "I wanted my s--t to be
Cripping and gang-banging." But, money beckoned, and Mr. Dogg compromised,
de-emphasized gang-banging in favor of sweaters and football jerseys, "It
has to be like that in stores like Macy's and Robinsons-May." His licensing
agent, Michael Cohen, called Snoop's previous styles "too urban-gang
influenced," and said, "I need to have him as commercially acceptable as
Still sitting down? Snoop Dogg filmed an appearance on the 2002
Muppet Christmas Special, in which he presumably gangsta raps with Miss
Piggy and Kermit the Frog. That's right. Before agreeing to edit out the
rapper's appearances -- due to angry calls and letters -- a spokesperson for
the Jim Henson Co. said the Muppets intend to seek a hipper, younger
audience by keepin' it real with the Snoopster. "The Muppets are a
pop-culture icon," said Charles Rivkin, president and chief executive of the
company, "and Snoop is a pop-culture icon, as well. . . . The bottom line is
we respect him a lot as an artist."
Respect him as an artist? Consider the following lyrics from his
best-selling CD, "Doggystyle": " . . . It don't take much, for the Dogg
Pound to bust a cap in your ass, for getting' us all f--ked up. Now check
it, its callin for niggaz like Doggs who supposed to be the s--t, but
steadily bitchin like hogs."
But meanwhile, many urban elementary school teachers talk about
the constant battle to purge "bitch," "ho" and "nigga" from the lexicon of
impressionable children, many from fatherless homes.
Defenders of gangsta rap claim that behind the rappers stand
normal, well-adjusted "artists." But Snoop did time for drug dealing, and a
jury acquitted him for murder. Swarthmore College professor James Peterson
said the real-life thuggish nature of rappers not only adds to their appeal,
but becomes almost a requirement for consumers -- mostly young white
suburbanites -- who want their music from authentic thugs. "The reason
(Dogg's) been around this long," said Peterson, "is that people know he's
really lived the s--t he's talking about. As sad as it sounds, it's
Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., defends, as freedom of
speech, Snoop Dogg's references to women as "bitches" and "hos." "Do I like
some of it?" Waters once wrote, "Yes, I do. I am moved by some of the
stories told by rap artists such as Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy
Dogg about their lives, their families, their mothers and their
surroundings." Moved by what they say about their lives? How about this
little Dogg ditty: "How the f--k am I supposed to pay this ho, just to lay
this ho. I know the p-ssy is mines, I'ma f--k a couple mo' times N' then I'm
through with it, there's nothing else to do with it. Cuz she ain't nothing
but a bitch to me. N' y'all know that bitches ain't s--t to me." Yet when
the head of the L.A. Police Commission allegedly referred to Waters as a
"bitch," she demanded his resignation!
When white rapper Eminem used the term "faggot," many attacked
him, forcing Eminem to lamely explain that "faggot" makes no reference to
sexual orientation. He said the term means weak or frail, so please, gay
community, Eminem pleaded, no offense intended.
Comedian Andrew Dice Clay burst on the scene with mildly (by
comparison) profane nursery rhymes, but got hammered by feminists and others
offended by his words. On a late-night talk show he tearfully defended
himself and called his "Diceman" character moronic, bearing no relationship
to the comedian himself.
Black rappers apparently need no such explanation. Baseball
fined player John Rocker for using terms like "queer" and "fat monkey,"
forcing him to undergo psychological counseling. Whites like Eminem, John
Rocker, Al Campanis, Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder and Fuzzy Zoeller must
apologize and atone.
So black gangsta rappers can not only put out vile
self-descriptive racial epithets and call women "bitches" and "hos" without
disturbing so-called black leaders, but apparently can now do so with the
approval of Macy's and the Muppets.
Meanwhile, Snoop Dogg, the rich rapper/clothing
designer/actor/porn filmmaker, currently keeps it real in his
multimillion-dollar house in the mean streets of the Los Angeles Diamond Bar
Only in America.