Callin' Out Names: Don Imus, Hip Hop and Nappy Headed Hoes

posted April 11, 2007 12:00:00 AM CDT | 136 comments

Prior to last week, I didn’t know who the hell Don Imus was.

Nor did I care.

However, Imus has found himself in the cross hairs of numerous black “leaders” (quoted on purpose) this week for some comments he made concerning the women’s basketball team at Rutgers University .

For the record, the team is comprised of eight black women and two white women.

Imus stuck his foot in his multi million dollar mouth last week during his syndicated radio show, Imus in the Morning. I’m sure that he wasn’t expecting the backlash that was to follow.

Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:

There’s so much wrong with the statement Imus made, I’m not sure where to begin.

Perhaps I’m a little shocked at how comfortable he was making the statements, or that it took him two days to apologize (something I don’t think he should’ve done, since I doubt it was sincere).

However, this simply wouldn’t be a piece fit for Callin Out Names if I lied and said that Don Imus didn’t make me look inward at myself and Hip Hop culture as a whole.

If I offend anyone with what I’m about to say, well, that’s just too damn bad. I welcome all to participate in this thing we call Hip Hop, but there’s absolutely no denying that Hip Hop has its roots with black and brown people, and poor black and brown people to be more specific. So when I’m talking to Hip Hop, this time around, I’m talking to the people who look like me.

I run the risk of channeling the ghost of C. Delores Tucker, but how many times have we called our women “bitches, hoes, whores, tricks, jump offs, sluts, skeezers (had to take it back to the 90’s on y’all) etc.” in place of “sister” or “queen?”

How many times have we celebrated our masculinity since the advent of Hip Hop at the expense of the women that try so hard to love us?

How many times have we beaten down (literally and figuratively speaking) the women who only wanted to be down with us?

And how many times have we encouraged and applauded a woman’s self destructive behavior (“Is it ‘Black Girl Lost’ or shorty owe you for Ice”- Jay Z).

See, we can’t have it both ways in Hip Hop and our refusal to listen to our elders is coming back to bite us in the ass.

I remember back in the day, I gave Hip Hop a pass for misogyny and had The Chronic or Doggy Style had a track titled "Nappy Headed Hoes", I’d have been singing along just like I sang the words to "Ain’t No Fun" or "Bitches Ain’t Shit" (Dre and Snoop sold MILLIONS, I know it wasn’t just me).

There’s a generation of twenty and thirty something’s that know better, and an even greater amount of teens, twenty and thirty something’s that see nothing wrong with the treatment of women in Hip Hop and to a larger extent, pop culture today.

With that said, it’s very difficult to police the mistreatment of women from folks outside of OUR culture when we are unable to do it ourselves from within. For every Don Imus, there are ten or fifteen “bitches ain’t shit” records, songs praising women who “shake what their mommas gave them” and other things that aren’t fit for print.

If we as a collective do nothing to stop our own from calling women bitches and nappy headed hoes, it becomes increasingly difficult to hold Don Imus’ ass to the fire.

The next time you get ready to be outraged over somebody else talking about your sister, take a look at your damn self first…

HOWEVER…

Shock jock or not, Don Imus was way out of line. I’m not an advocate of violence, but we need to return to the days of the ass whoopin. People tend to watch what they say if they know a beat down is around the corner. Don’t believe me? How many of you all cussed in front of your parents?

*crickets*

I thought so.

I think there’s a problem when a man, and a white man in particular can let the phrase “nappy headed hoe” roll off his tongue in reference to a group of black women and not head for the hills after uttering the phrase. Back in the day, a white cat would’ve gotten his ass whooped for saying that about a black woman. But then again, times have changed so much where we call our own women hoes more than anybody else ever could, which leads me to my next point…

All of you folks who sincerely believe that Imus should be or will be fired (read: Al Sharpton and Co.), do me a favor; hold your breath until that happens.

For those of you who don’t know about Don Imus, think of an older, cornier version of Howard Stern. Simply put, he’s MSNBC’s multi million dollar man. He’s not going anywhere, and if you believe otherwise, you’re probably in the same boat with the folks waiting on a check for reparations.

My biggest issue with all of this “outrage” is simply that there is all this outrage. Of all the real issues plaguing the Black community, THIS is what our “leaders” chose to tackle this week. There are a host of things we may want to take care of before (or in addition to, whatever tickles your fancy) we call for a shock jocks head on a silver platter.

Or perhaps, we’ll just go back to the days of beating folks down when they step out of line.

Or even better, we’ll start respecting each other before we expect folks to respect us.

Share This

one moment...
Reply To This Comment

Got an account with one of these? Log in here, or just enter your info and leave a comment below.