Rappers Spawning A Generation of Unemployable Black Males

By: Chico C. Norwood

I was reading Dr. Boyce Watkins’ article entitled “Russell Simmons Defends Gwyneth’s Use of the N-Word….Don’t Do it Man” and two paragraphs in the article really jumped out at me:

“The difficult reality that Russell and other proud “n*ggas” in commercialized hip-hop must face is the fact that their music does little to elevate the masses, and only serves to make black boys think that it’s cool to stay high and drunk, have sex with everything that moves, kill each other on the street, disrespect black women and waste their money popping bottles at the club.

“The mouth full of gold teeth, tattoos up your neck and ten gold chains are nothing short of comedic exaggerations of the black male as a hyper-aggressive animal who will eat and murder other black men on sight.”

These two paragraphs really stuck out because it made me think about an article I read about high unemployment among African American men. According to the latest report from the United States Department of Labor, unemployment among African American men 20 years and older is 14.2 percent and 35.8 percent for black teenagers 16-19, higher than any other ethnic group.  After reading Dr. Watkins’ article it doesn’t take much to understand why?  And yet some want to blame President Obama.

Who wants to hire a black man who stays high and drunk, walks around in saggy pants with his underwear showing, can’t get to work on time because he’s up all night having sex with everything that moves, is hanging out on the streets all night looking to shoot or stab someone or popping bottles at the club.

Who wants to hire someone who greets customers and/or co-workers with a mouth full of gold teeth, a dozen different tattoos crawling up the side of their neck (the only possible piece of clothing he could wear to work would be a turtleneck sweater) and ten gold chains and a gigantic cross dangling down their chest?

This is not an exaggeration because on a daily basis I see young and some not so young black men walking around in saggy pants with their underwear showing and dirty t-shirts. I have gone into markets and complained to managers about young black men who work in the store and you are able to see their underwear because of the sagging pants.

I saw a poll recently on the Mississippi Business Journal website which asked the question, “which is more indecent: (1) saggy pants, (2) plumber pants, (3) low-hanging belly, (4) cleavage or (5) tight exercise pants.”  The results were as follows:  saggy pants, 31%, plumber pants, 25%, low-hanging belly, 17%, cleavage, 15% and tight exercise pants, 12%.  Although the poll is not considered a scientific one, it does reflect the thoughts and beliefs of those who participated in the poll.  Since it was a poll conducted on a business journal website it is safe to say business owners  and professional  businessmen and women participated. In other words people who do the hiring.

For 30 pieces of silver the likes of Kanye West, Russell  Simmons, Jay Z and other rappers have done exactly what Dr. Boyce said, “sold out the black community” by promoting the very worst that the black community has to offer,” which has had a rippling effect and contributed to spawning an entire generation of unemployable black males.

I venture to ask how many shopping malls and centers, supermarkets, etc. have Kanye West, Russell Simmons and Jay Z built with the millions they’ve made from these young “n*ggas” to put these same young “n*ggas” to work? Or should I ask how many Reed’s Jewelry Stores, which hawk Simmons’ high end jewelry, have hired any of these sagging in the pants young unemployed black men? I would guess, none.

About cnorwood

Ms. Norwood is the former managing and sports editor for the Hub City News in Los Angeles, California. She is a former staff writer and assistant sports editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Los Angeles Watts Times and Rapid Publishing, publishers of the Lynwood Journal, Compton Bulletin and the Californian. An award-winning journalist she is the recipient of a National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Best News Story Award, NNPA Best Sports Story Award, an American Media Health Fellowship, Outstanding Young Woman of America and several other awards of merit. Her articles have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Ebony Magazine and other local and national publications.