Is Eminem Being Unfairly Targeted for His Homophobic Lyrics Because he’s White?

There’s a lot of buzz around Eminem‘s recent 60 Minutes appearance with Anderson Cooper. On the surface it was a good look as there’s no denying Em’s popularity. He’s now seen as an OG of sorts who has finally returned to the scene after being away for a couple of years recovering from a series of life altering mishaps.

We all know about the tragic night club shooting of his best friend Proof (Detroit’s un-official mayor ) a few years back. We also know that Eminem almost overdosed and had been hooked on drugs. According to him he’s been 2 years sober. Like it or not when polled Eminem’s name frequents cracks the top 5 in one Hip Hop’s greatest rapper ever.  His delivery, controversial subject matter and clever word play has earned him his respect. However, what caught people’s attention during the 60 Minutes interview was his remarks around homophobic and misogynistic lyrics. When asked about them and the controversy that emerged here’s what Em is quoted as saying;

“I felt like I was being attacked. I was being singled out. I felt like, ‘Is it because of the color of my skin? Is it because of that you’re paying more attention?’ There are certain rappers that do and say the same things that I’m saying and I don’t hear no one say anything about that.”.

You can peep the full interview here..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFGVXtwc-Ak

Em’s remarks raised more than a few eyebrows and left us with a few things to think about. The name of the game as he well knows is when you’re trying to make noise to blow up a spot, unless you have a compelling story to tell or exemplary skill sets, the best way to bring attention to yourself or an issue is to kick up dust and cause controversy.

This is what Eminem did. He bursted on the scene 10 years ago causing controversy. It wasn’t just his shocking lyrics but also some of his on and off stage antics. For example, I recall on one of his early visits to the Bay he got into a heated exchange with a radio host on KALX (UC Berkeley’s radio station) who thought he was a bit rude and over the top. The host Sister Tamu wound up breaking his record on the air. Word of that incident spread quick.

A few months later (may 1999) while doing a concert at the Fillmore a fight broke out. Em attempted to quell things only to jump off the stage with crew in tow to pummel a heckler who he felt wasn’t showing the proper respect. What appeared to be an isolated incident was later revealed to be something that somewhat staged as similar incidents of Em jumping off the stage to confront hecklers occurred at other concerts including Las Vegas a few days later. Again controversy sells and Eminem early on was a spark plug for it…

It should come as no surprise that folks wishing to get a message across would not attach themselves to his missteps to get a message out. This has been a tried and true method used by organizations like PETA when it comes to animal abuse and obviously other organizations like GLAAD who went after Eminem to bring attention to homophobia. But with that being said, while Eminem has come under fire, he has never been economically blocked at least not in the ways we seen other artists who dared cross certain lines.

For example, take reggae artist Buju Banton.. Here’s a guy that recorded an over the top homophobic song back in 1988 when he was 15. The song  ‘Boom Bye Bye‘ was about the murdering  gay man and became a huge hit and an anthem of sorts. 20 years after this song was recorded folks never let up him. They protested, got his tours canceled. Folks have and continue to go all out on Buju.  Eminem.. yeah he got heat from GLAAD and other organizations, but his concerts were never cancelled even here in San Francisco where activist have shut down Buju everytime his name is even mentioned.

This has gone on even after Buju has gone on to do positive music and explained his immaturity and ignorance at 15. He is now considered a strong voice for Jamaica. The protests have gone on even after he was the first to set up program Willy to help prevent the spread HIV and AIDs in Jamaica. Prior to that using a condom was seen in a bad light the same way homosexuality was. Buju took those steps and has still been dogged.

Em still performed his over the top songs even after public apologies and a show of reconciliation with singer Elton John who is outspoken on Gay Rights. Em was still embraced even though he does many of those ‘offensive’ songs. In addition when Eminem is mentioned it’s rarely with the tag Anti-gay rapper vs Buju who is frequently cited in the press as Anti-gay singer.

Def Jeff

Now one may look at Buju and say his song was an anthem that sparked violence and hence deserved to be protested. Thats understandable on a number of levels so lets look at  a few other less egregious examples..  I recall back in the early 90s ago LA rapper Def Jeff coming to San Francisco to perform at Club Townsend. He attempted to try to get the crowd hyped  by first yelling ‘All the Ugly People Be Quiet’. When he got a luke warm response he then yelled ‘All the People who got Aids be Quiet‘. To put it simply, after he yelled those remarks it was a wrap.

Even though Def Jeff got a resounding response from the audience that night he soon found himself blacklisted by SF club owners. Many who heard about his remarks refused to book him. Years later, he admitted at that time, he was young and just ignorant to both the horrors of HIV and AIDs. He was also oblivious to the type of anger and scapegoating directed at the Gay community. At that time AIDs was more associated with white Gay males as opposed to folks in the inner city and Jeff was simply insensitive. He apologized, but to know avail. He hasn’t been in the Bay to perform since.

A few months prior to Def Jeff’s remarks, Turbo B the lead rapper for the group the Snap which had the mega hit song ‘The Power’, made some unsavory remarks about Gays and AIDs and caused a huge uproar. Turbo later apologized for his ignorance, but it was all but a wrap for him and his career pretty much went down the tubes from there. It didn’t help that the Snap had a large following in the Gay community. Folks weren’t gonna allow those anti-gay remarks to go.

Cypress Hill

Also around that time a more visible and publicized incident occurred with Cypress Hill who were performing at the Bill Graham Civic Center during the Soul Assassins Tour. The show featured House of Pain, Cypress Hill and a number of other acts. Someone in the opening act acting as hype man yelled out to the crowd ‘”All the fags in the House Be Quiet’. There was a loud response from all the straight males who of course responded to the call.

The next day, angry members of the Gay community reacted and targeted radio giant KMEL which gave away tickets for the show. Letters and phone calls came in and the end result was Cypress Hill was banned from airplay on the station. The group quickly issued a letter of apology, even though they weren’t onstage at the time. The logic from the Gay protestors was that they were responsible for the insensitivity of the acts they brought along with them, hence they needed to be banned. The Cypress Hill radio boycott lasted for almost a year. It wasn’t lifted until they actually wound up doing a syndicated Soul Assassin’s radio show on our station.

Now again let’s not get things twisted, anyone advocating for the beating, killing or even the discrimination of gays or any ethnic group is bad news. And folks on the receiving end of those insults and threats have every right and should express their anger and outrage. If that outrage includes protests and shutting folks down, so be it. All of us have a responsibility in being aware of boundaries that exists within certain communities.But bringing this back to Eminem, he was given huge passes and in many ways embraced. Em’s angry lyrics have more often than not been praised by publications like the UK Guardian and Spin Magazine for expressing and reflecting the angst and anger felt by many within the white working class.

So is Eminem a target for his homophobic and misogynist lyrics because he’s white? Hardly. It’s more likely that he’s a target because he’s enormously popular. I think many of these organizations learned that they can only go so far in bringing attention to these issues going after lesser known artists. Hence  as long as Eminem is in the spotlight he allows a light to be shined on these issues. Hence anything he says will be scrutinized for an opportunity to weigh in. The attacks on Eminem are not the same as the shut downs and demonization of entire groups of Black and Brown folks for anti-social ills.

When Def Jeff and Turbo B got clocked all of rap was called into question. When Buju Banton was called all of Jamaica and its culture was called into question. When Em was called out it began and stopped with him. We didn’t make the connection with Eminem being a white man born in the US who may be part of and ultimately influenced by a culture that includes everyone from conservative politicians to overzealous Evangelists who routinely bash the gay community. Bottomline in spite of his hard upbringing there are major institutions in this country that have afforded Eminem a few priviledges he himself might not recognize and certainly didn’t acknowledge during his interview

something to consider

-Davey D-

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The Phony, Corporate Sponsored Disruptions & Outbursts of Kanye West & Joe Wilson

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DaveyD-leather-225Lemme  cut to the chase, Kanye West is phony as was his contrived outburst when he rushed the stage to disrupt an acceptance speech from country singer Taylor Swift, during last night’s MTV Video Music Awards. It was a perfectly executed stunt which was designed to make national headlines (which it did). It was designed to become among the top trending topics in twitter and one of the hot key words in google (which it is). It was obviously designed to take away attention from issues at hand as Kanye’s outburst overshadowed many of the performances and presenters including the Michael Jackson tribute.

Like it or not in 2009, notoriety works and unchecked disruptions, outbursts and controversial statements and gestures are the order of the day especially if you need to do a little bit of ‘social engineering’.  Kanye rushing the stage at the VMAs was no different than the idiot congressman from South Carolina, Joe Wilson calling President Obama a liar during his speech the other night. It was no different then last month’s so called ‘spontaneous’  shouting matches and YouTube ready disruptions during Democratic sponsored healthcare townhall meetings around the country.

Did congressman Joe Wilson's outburst orchestrated?

Did congressman Joe Wilson's outburst orchestrated?

The end results are all the same. People are still talking about Joe Wilson and more importantly his opposition to Obama’s Healthcare plans. It created a huge windfall of donations to the tune of 1 million dollars for his re-election campaign. Lastly, this once obscure congressman is now a national figure and a household name who is seen as a hero in many circles. His notoriety and 15 minutes of fame has gotten him a platform to voice his espouse his opinions and political philosophy.

 The disruptions during the healthcare townhalls were obvious game changers. First, it put the Democrats on the defense and allowed a vastly outnumbered Republican party that was in disarray to gain momentum and popularity. It also emboldened a number of people including staunch racists who were frustrated and angry to let loose and grab a seat at the proverbial table.

Kanye West has been getting kinda phony lately

Kanye West has been getting kinda phony lately

In the case of Kanye West, people are obviously talking about him and inevitably whatever projects he’s pushing. In a crumbling music industry where personality and branding is whats being sold more than music, the attention Kanye received is extremely valuable. The free publicity is worth millions.

But all this is just part of the story in terms of who benefits. Whether we’re talking about Joe Wilson or Kanye West, they are small cogs on the totem pole. There are larger and more powerful beneficiaries. It could be Health Insurance, leadership in the GOP,  Kanye’s record label and MTV/Viacom. The 64 thousand dollar question is what hand did these larger institutions have in these controversies.

Did GOP leaders plan to have Wilson act out during the president’s speech as a strategy to take some shine away and minimize Obama’s persuasive oratory skills?  To me, its more than obvious they did.  No one seems to be to upset with  Wilson.  Thus far I’m not hearing about Wilson being removed from any committees. He already said he’s not gonna apologize a second time and it’s not like President Obama is gonna run up and punch him in the face for being disrespectful.  In short there’s been no penalty for Wilson breaking the rules as his party has pretty much circled the wagons  around him. Wilson and his GOP buddies are relishing in the fact that they were able to reaffirm and in many ways re-established their position as scrappy fighters who are down for the cause of the blue collar man compared to the ‘whimpy’ Democrat. 

Cartoon-FreedomWorks-PartyIn the case of the townhall disruptions, we already know that many of these ‘grassroots’ , ‘spontaneous’ gatherings were actually orchestrated and seeded by lobbyists and corporations with the main groups being Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity. Expensive PR firms were hired and a strategy was developed  instructing people how to systematically disrupt townhalls. This included, spreading out amongst the crowd to give the appearance as being larger in numbers, rattling the sensibilities of a congressperson early on by shouting and aggressively challenging him/her  and just generally being disruptive so that what got reported on the evening news was people shouting down the congressperson and not the finer points of healthcare.

Anyone who has ever done commercial radio and been in a ratings war, much of these ‘political’ disruptions are text book. Early on we learned the important lesson of controversy sells. We’ve learned the importance of staging ‘spontaneous’ activities including cheering, hissing and booing  in such away that the people around you would catch on and join in. ‘That’s all classic social engineering tactics. We learned how to show up at our competitions events and concerts, give up t-shirts, bumper stickers and signs and create the illusions that we were somehow apart of what was deemed exclusively theirs.

This brings us full circle back to Kanye West rushing the stage.  because we’ve been inundated with crass disruptive behavior at political events, many of us forgot that this is a hallmark of the music industry. Creating illusions and smoke and mirrors is what we specialize in. Was Kanye’s antics sanctioned and planned by executives at MTV?   LOL, last night’s Kanye moment was about as real as the Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction several years ago.  It was about as real and unscripted as an episode of MTV’s Real World.  or even better last night’s Kanye outburst was about as real as the battle for record sales between him and 50 cent two years ago.

Long before Kanye, the late ODB was known for bumrushing stages during award shows. At least ODB said he was doing it for the kids

Long before Kanye, the late ODB was known for bumrushing stages during award shows. At least ODB said he was doing it for the kids

This should be more than obvious.  By the end of the show MTV had a graph in place to show how Kanye’s disruption was the thing everyone was talking about on twitter? Plus, is Kanye being banned from any radio play? No. Will he be back at the next MTV event or is he banned for life? Hell naw. Will MTV keep showing the clip of Kanye rushing the stage? Hell yeah. This is not the first time he’s acted a fool at these type of events and he’s always invited back. Kanye is playing the role of the late Ole Dirty Bastard who was known for having a number of spontaneous outbursts including rushing the stage during the Grammys, that became seared in our collective memories over the years. 

 Me personally, I knew Kanye was phony balony when he rushed the stage and proclaimed Beyonce should’ve won without being nervous. That was the scripted Kanye we saw last night. The unscripted Kanye was the one we saw during the Katrina telethon when he said George Bush doesn’t care about Black people. But lets not digress.

Look the bottomline  is everyone was in on it. Hell I’m beginning to even think Taylor Swift and Beyonce went along for the ride and had scripted out roles with Beyonce being the gracious sheroe and Smith being the poor victim we all rallied around. No matter the case, scripted or not it all seems to have worked out. Remember this is the same MTV who  just a few months ago had us all looking on in shock as Eminem shed his bad boy image to go along with promotional stunt  concocted by actor Sacha Barron Cohen dressed in character as Bruno.  People were led to believe that Cohen ‘had an accident with his stunt cables and somehow landed  in such a way that his ass and nutsack was in Em’s face as he attempted to untangle himself.  An enraged Eminem stormed out the building only to have it later revealed it was a stunt he was in on and even rehearsed it.

I guess the bigger and more somber picture to all this is how we are constantly being manipulated. It may start somewhat harmlessly with Kanye West-like stunts at MTV but then it  leads up to ‘staged’ outburst by ‘upset’  lawmakers during a Presidential speech. All of it corporate sponsored and all of this is part of a larger pattern to dumb down the masses and keep a population ill-informed.  In the business we call it learned behavior and it allows for people to be easily duped and eventually pimped.

Something to ponder

-Davey D-

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Gays,Hip Hop, Violence, Murder,Bloggers-WillI am & Eminiem

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This whole situation involving Will Iam and gossip columnist Perez Hilton speaks to a larger issue at hand. It speaks to the oftentimes tumultuous relationship between entertainers and press (papparazi), that is now complicated by press either seeking to be or already as large and famous as the people they cover. Complicating this even more is that the writers  are oftentimes famous because they’ve made careers out of clowning or dissing these entertainers. A lot of artists resent people getting famous by riding their coat tails.

Some people say well thats the price of fame. You have to take it  and learn to deal with it. Increasingly more and more writers feel like this is their way in the door. They look for a newsworthy icon  and then do the ‘unthinkable’ which is diss them. The more outrageous the dis the more attention paid to the blogger/writer. I can’t really say if its fair or unfair, but it puts people on a collision course where what happened to Hilton becomes the norm and not the aberration.

I recently had a conversation with a blogger who tried to explain to me that its important that he ‘critiques’ artists. He said there’s an art in critiquing and that its important that the public knows whether or not an album is wack or dope.  It didn’t matter to this writer that wackness and dopeness are subjective and that a harsh critique sometimes impacts more than just an artist. This writer was pretty resolute. He was gonna be dissing artists if he felt they deserved to be dissed and that was that..

I ended the conversation by noting the irony of him being backstage wearing a laminate, eating food in an artists dressing room and for the most part being part of the entourage. I noted its not the same as if he went out, brought the album, paid the ticket price for the show, hung out with the audience and not backstage where he could really gage whether or not that artist connects with his fan..

Today the terrain is such that if you are in the spotlight, there is a multi-million dollar industry that will quickly attach itself  to you and ride straight to the bank.. Perez going after the Black Eyed Peas is one of those people. Probably figured they were easy targets. Funny how not too long ago Hilton was publicly apologizing to NORE after he dissed him and got stepped to. Funny  how you rarely see him go after someone like Suge or anyone else who clock him and keep it moving.. 

The way things are going its just a matter of time before someone gets killed around all this, especially when you take into account some of these paparrazi agencies now employ gang bangers to do their dirt digging..

-Davey D-

Gays,Hip Hop, Violence, Murder,Bloggers-WillI am & Eminiem

Will I am claims he came to Perez Hilton in respect and was called a faggot. Why would Perez use a slur that he personally finds demeaning and deragotory?

Will I am claims he came to Perez Hilton in respect and was called a faggot. Why would Perez use a slur that he personally finds demeaning and deragotory?

In Toronto — Police have charged the tour manager of the Black Eyed Peas with assault after he allegedly punched celebrity blogger Perez Hilton outside a Toronto nightclub. Hilton said he got into an argument with band members Fergie and will.i.am at the Cobra nightclub early Monday morning and was punched outside by Polo Molina, the band’s tour manager. They were at the club following a Sunday night video awards show.

Molina turned himself in and has been charged with assaulting Hilton, Toronto Police Constable Tony Vella said. Molina is due in court Aug. 5.

Hilton, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, complained about the incident on the microblogging site Twitter. He tweeted at 4 a.m.: “I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke.”

Hilton, who is openly gay, said in interview with The Associated Press that he called will.i.am a “faggot,” a gay slur, inside the club after the musician told the blogger not to write about his band on his Web site.

“He was like ‘You need to respect me.’ He was in my face. He was obviously trying to intimidate me and scare me,” Hilton said. “I was like ‘I don’t need to respect you. I don’t respect you and I did say this, and I knew that it would be the worst thing I could possibly say to him because he was acting the way he was. I said ‘You know what, I don’t respect you and you’re gay and stop being such a faggot.’”

Will.i.am said in a video posting on dipdive.com that he came to Hilton with respect and was called a “faggot.”

Hilton, who was at the club with Lady Gaga, said he then left the club and was punched from behind. The pop stars and the blogger were among celebrities in Toronto for the MuchMusic Video Awards on Sunday night.

A spokeswoman for the Black Eyed Peas declined comment.

Michael Miller Family

Michael Miller Family

In other gay type rap new Eminiem – nah just kidding. We think
is the focal point of a disturbing story out of Arizona: a 29-year-old man has told police that he sang Eminem songs while fatally stabbing his wife and daughter, KSAZ-TV reports. His 4-year-old son survived the attack, despite being stabbed 11 times. According to police, the man, Michael Miller, said he was possessed and believed that his wife was a demon.

More chilling details:
Just before stabbing her at 4 a.m., he told police he started screaming lyrics from an Eminem song, saying, “Here comes Satan, I’m the anti-Christ, I’m going to kill you.”

Miller admitted to police that when the kids awoke to their mother’s screams, he stabbed them too. He said he stabbed his son Brian the most because he loved him the most.

Then he rolled a cigarette, said another prayer, and called 911, police say

source:http://www.playahata.com/?p=6375#more-6375

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