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Friday, August 26, 2011

PUBLISHER'S PEACE: Hip Hop Vs. The Help


C/Dwayne West
Founder/Editor

The Help, a movie that explored the journeys of Black mothers, daughters, wives and girlfriends to what Naughty by Nature called "Other People's Problems" (OPP). 'The Help' showed the inner workings of what really happened within the private homes of modern day America in the South, as Black women raised and nurtured the offspring’s of white families during the 19th and 20th Century.

These privileged families where lucky to have these Black devoted women, who gave all to their kids and spent limited hours with their own children. Even though that account was not really discussed in the film. The movie has either come in second or number one at the box office since its debut three weeks ago. And people are flocking to see what the chatter is. The word of mouth has driven this film and it appears to be on its way for an Oscar nomination.

I don’t get caught up in that first week's attention to a movie. Because we should know by now that if Hollywood wants to make movies with Black casts and minority themes, whether past films did well the first week or not, they would green light projects. So the first week really have no realistic bearing on future projects. That's a bunch of garbage, and it only sounds good to the film makers looking to profit from its debut to assure they meet their expense versus profit margins.

Anyway, I just saw 'The Help' and I was really ready to walk out the first 30 minutes, but the creative direction that the film makers took in terms of striking an emotional cord with movie goers was pleasantly amusing and great marketing. Overall the movie was touching and it gave an insightful account, or as much as it could about the plight of a young unbiased white girl who lost her Negro care giver, and wanted answers to why her parents ran-off the one person who gave her unconditional love and support.

The part of the movie that I will debate with anyone is the image of Black women being treated scandalous by most of the white mothers and the demeaning measures of the Black maids and their acceptance of disrespect. Yes, that's what happened doing those terrible, unfortunate and unkind periods of America's history. And of course it was a movie and actresses performed great in their portrayal of help as they faced unbearable treatment.

Now, this leads to my point of the criticism of hip hop artists who get judged for their graphic and explicit accounts of their explanation of what happens (ed) in their hood realities all across America. A rapper raps for a living and his or her job is to give their audience a candid depiction of their community. Similar to how the actresses played a roll, a roll which I found hard to stomach about what happened in households during that period in forgotten textbooks.

It's like when Denzel Washington played a ruthless gangster in American Gangster, which he was applauded for his role. Or when Samuel Jackson plays a rogue criminal along side John Travolta, he's also awarded. And lets not forget Halle Berry, playing a drug addicted sex fend with Billy Bob Thornton. Those are roles they play within their chosen profession as actors. Guest what, rappers play roles as rappers, and they make music and videos just like Halle, Denzel and Samuel, as well as the Black women who played demeaning roles as maids. Roles they chose because they get paid to act.

I want people old and young who blast hip hop for showing negative images, think about the negative, but real images shown in 'The Help.' Are you going to discount each actress that performed their job, and a job well done at that? No!

Rappers do their job and they do them well. They highlight certain truths. And most of these rappers like Jay - Z, Puffy, Ice Cube, Lil Wayne, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and many others don't presently live the garbage they express in their lyrics. Beyonce talks about sex and dresses in bikini's and tight booty shorts regularly during her performances. Do you think she lives or walks around like that? Lady Gaga don't dress in her outrageous customs’ in her reality life. Just like each of those women (actresses) in 'The Help', they don't cook and clean for white women or raise their children today. It's just entertainment folks and most importantly - it's their jobs. Hip hop for life. Peace and one love.

SPECIAL NOTE: Just added is my weekly thoughts and view points on WVON 1690 am, every Tuesday, starting tomorrow. I will join Santita Jackson, as we discuss relevant issues and profile emerging leaders of the next generation from 11:00 am - 11:30 am. Please tune in, you don't want to miss TRUTH BE TOLD with C. Dwayne West.

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