So I wound up discussing this Don Imus controversy with two of my good friends here in Miami, both of whom are well-respected journalists and all around brilliant dudes: Forrest Norman and Francisco “Frank” Alvarado.

They brought Imus’s history of racist remarks to my attention. I knew the guy had a reputation as a prick — in the Seventies he released a “comedy” album called This Honky’s Nuts, which says it all. But Miami area DJ Sid Rosenberg (790 AM) was on the air with Imus when he spewed his racist remarks about the Rutgers girls. Here’s the video of the whole disgusting exchange.

Rosenberg works in Miami after being kicked off the Imus show for making racist comments in the past.

According to his own Wikipedia page: “Rosenberg was no stranger to controversy on the Imus show, which was also simulcast on MSNBC cable television, therein increasing his remarks’ visibility. Among other things, he would say on-air that Venus and Serena Williams would be better suited for National Geographic Magazine than for Playboy, that “faggots play tennis” and that the United States women’s national soccer team were “a bunch of juiced up dykes.” He referred to Palestinians as “stinking animals” and suggested that “They ought to drop the bomb right there, kill ’em all right now” during the November 12, 2004 funeral of deceased Palestinian Authority leader Yasser Arafat. Rosenberg would eventually be removed from the Imus show in May 2005, after saying in regard to Kylie Minogue’s battle with breast cancer, that ” … ain’t gonna be so beautiful when the bitch got bald head and one titty.”

Oh, he sounds like a thinking man. A real scholar.

And as for Mr. Imus, he had this to say about noted, respected black journalist Gwen Ifill: “Isn’t The Times wonderful. It lets the cleaning lady cover the White House.” In case you don’t know who Gwen Ifill is, she’s written for the Washington Post, New York Times, she’s a journalist for PBS, and she moderated the vice presidential debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards in 2004. I have infinite respect for the woman.

Ifill addressed the comments herself in this opinion piece.

Her final comments really struck me. “Why do my journalistic colleagues appear on Mr. Imus’s program? That’s for them to defend, and others to argue about. I certainly don’t know any black journalists who will. To his credit, Mr. Imus told the Rev. Al Sharpton yesterday he realizes that, this time, he went way too far. Yes, he did.

Every time a young black girl shyly approaches me for an autograph or writes or calls or stops me on the street to ask how she can become a journalist, I feel an enormous responsibility. It’s more than simply being a role model. I know I have to be a voice for them as well. So here’s what this voice has to say for people who cannot grasp the notion of picking on people their own size: This country will only flourish once we consistently learn to applaud and encourage the young people who have to work harder just to achieve balance on the unequal playing field.

Let’s see if we can manage to build them up and reward them, rather than opting for the cheapest, easiest, most despicable shots.”

Imus’s remarks seem to be part of a bigger recent trend — celebrities reveal themselves to be prejudiced idiots, they get the public smackdown. They apologize profusely. They lose advertising revenue, they might lose their agents, a few newspapers might drop their column — but that news won’t make the Drudge Report. If they’re caught on video, their friends might distance themselves from them for a while (cough * Perez * cough). Or they might be entered into rehab, ala Mel Gibson, Kramer, and Isaiah Washington. But then what? And is this the right way to deal with publicized prejudice in a country that prides itself on freedom of speech?

Frank had a wise point to make, which might not be popular: “I kind of feel it’s unfair to go out and destroy someone’s livelihood because they exercised their right to free speech in a very stupid manner. Maybe I’m getting soft, but sugar-coated politically correctness just doesn’t work on radio. Just look at all the successful radio shows in syndication. Whether you think a guy is a scumbag, people want to hear controversy. I just think it is a scarier thought that we as a society have grown so intolerant of anything that would offend others that we’re falling into a facist trap of choosing who deserves and who doesn’t deserve to make a living in media and entertainment. If something on the air offends you, just change the dial.” He’s definitely right — my dial was never on Don Imus’s show to begin with. He’s definitely not the only racist idiot with a morning radio show, and most of ’em are still on the air every day.
To which Forrest responded: “I don’t think he belongs in jail or anything. But people have a right to get pissed and try to get him fired, which is all that’s going on.” And that’s true, too.

Personally, I’m exercising my right to be pissed off. But I want to hear what you smart, thinking bellas and fellas think about this. Many of us feel close to this story, as proud wearers of nappy hair ourselves.

What do you think should happen to Don Imus? What do you think WILL happen to Don Imus? And what does this whole debacle say about the state of race relations today?

Filed Under:


Tysha says:
April 11, 2007, 9:48 am
This what I had to say: To: Mr. Imus and Morning Show team, The comments about the women's basketball teams were very hurtful. What makes you so self-righteous ? Ask your Creator for forgivesness and personally go to these women to apologize. Turn from those behaviors that cause others to be outraged. Not everyone can be the same or have the same type of hair(charactericstics). Looking at your picture from the past yours(hair) looked a little 'fro-ish' than others of your persuasion. Did any of these women make mention of your hair in anyway? Furthermore, not all blacks use the words that were used to relate to one another. Furthermore, you don't go home with these women to know if they are indeed 'ho's'. Words are powerful, whether proper English or slang. Words do have meanings. Treat others the way you want to be treated. A public apology is great however come with some other accountability that actually shows sincerity of the heart. Truth be told, widened your vocabulary as a professional journalist and personality. Yeah my hair maybe "nappy" but I'm no HO. tj
Earthtone says:
April 11, 2007, 10:17 am
I haven't visited in awhile, but I wasn't surprise to come on site today and read a article about Imus. Bella is alway's on top of things. There are a ton of things that I can't relate to white people about because I'm not white. And we all know that some of laugh at or joke about stuff that white people don't get. It's just the nature of things. So here's my take, If my mama called me nappy headed, I wouldn't care. If a stranger(blk/wht) did with malicious intent, I'd be pissed! It's one of those you have to be me or one of us to get it. So yeah I'm pissed, because he disrepected a group of girls who worked really hard to get where they got. It was soo hurtful on so many level. His cohost got fired for talking about a white woman, but he gets 2wks paid suspension for talking about blk women. Oh please! But you know what they said," if it ain't white, it aint right" ( and get mad at what I said...freedom of speech remember).
checkmymelonie says:
April 11, 2007, 11:28 am
I'm trying to see what was so wise about Mr. Norman's point and I am failing miserably. There's a difference between "sugar-coated political correctness" and an absolute disregard for a person's humanity, which is what Mr. Imus did when he referred to the young ladies as "nappy headed hos". He took what is beautiful about black women and turned it into a slur, which has been repeated througout society since practically the dawn of time and still echoes in the mind of people who really don't believe black women's natural hair texture is beautiful. Furthermore, in calling them "hos" he assaulted their character and once again made a historical reference to society's assumptions about black women and sex. As far as destroying his livelihood...if Mr. Imus can talk the talk, he can walk the walk. We live in a capitalist society and getting his show cancelled is as simple as longer demanding what Mr. Imus supplies, which is hate, racism, and stupidity. And yes, I hope our society continue to evolve into an "intolerant" entity that is slowly recognizing there is absolutely no redeeming entertainment value into being called a "nappy headed ho" simply because a woman of color plays basketball.
bella says:
April 11, 2007, 11:32 am
CheckmyMelonie, I think you're referring to Frank Alvarado's point. Forrest Norman responded that we have a right to be pissed. And in Frank's defense, I think what he's saying is that Imus wouldn't have been popular without controversial opinions to begin with. And the thing to be concerned about is, where do we draw the line? Don Imus SHOULD get reamed for this because he said this on public airwaves. But if he was on satellite radio, he'd probably still be on the air today.
frank alvarado says:
April 11, 2007, 11:48 am
Okay, I'm going to play devil's advocate here again. Rap music is filled with mysogynistic and degrading comments about not just black women, but ladies in general. So why isn't anyone coming down on Lil Wayne and Fat Joe for Makin it Rain on Them Hos? Why aren't there droves of intelligent self-respecting women coming out and saying we shouldn't buy their albums or download their ringtones? Believe me I'm not telling you that you don't have a right to be pissed off, but the primary reason this is getting so much play is because Imus is a white man making dumb racist statements. It's the same reason the media jumped on Tim Hardaway for saying he hated gay people. Whether you like it or not, people have a right to hate. It's when they cross the line and instigate violence and repression that we should stop them.
bella says:
April 11, 2007, 12:06 pm
Hey Frank -- in my post about Imus yesterday, lots of people were pointing the finger at us, the black community. We've allowed this language to seep into the mainstream, and it's up to us to stop it. Imus was wrong as hell, but what he said in this instance is (in my opinion) not as bad as what Michael Savage said, or Rosenberg. Wishing death or disease or harm to people is where I personally draw the line, and that's what got Star fired from the then very successful Star and Bucwild show.
Nikki says:
April 11, 2007, 12:32 pm
On Monday, April 9, 2007, I sent the following letter to MSNBC: I am a Rutgers University alumnae. How dare you say those statements about the Rutgers Women's Basketball team. Who are you? Those students have heart and great character. They are wonderful examples of the excellence that Rutgers stands for. Your joke was mean and tasteless. Being a white man does not give you the privilege to determine what is beautiful, acceptable or feminine. Your ideas are the not standard. Your statements were cruel, thoughtless and unprofessional. Nikki Fitzgerald, Esq. Rutgers University, Class of 1994
BRITTANY!! says:
April 11, 2007, 1:08 pm
I am not expecting much of a serious outcome for the fate of Don Imus. I mean come on let's be real here. We all know that his apologies are not sincere. His true feelings were showcased when he made those comments about the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team and other disgusting comments that he has made in the past. Hip Hop music and Rap do not help this situation. Women are sooooo disrespected in the majority of those records, but you will still see most of them droppin it like its hot when that song comes on. I mean its a complete double standard. I mean sad to say but what do you expect from an old fouled mouth white man. It should be our own race that we should be outraged with.
pasheen says:
April 11, 2007, 1:32 pm
What disturbed me about Imus comments are, he could have been easily talking about me or my daughter's. I am a dark-skinned black woman, with natural hair. So, in the minds of some I am a nappy-headed, ho? I am a Mother of five, and I am expecting my third daughter in a few weeks, so this is so hard for me to comprehend. I am always telling them how beautiful they are, so how dare someone tell them they are not. I know the reasoning, we don't look like them. My girls and I have not conformed to what society feels is beautiful. What Imus said was not only racist it was hurtful. That is why when I heard and read what Imus had to say, I was so hurt, I felt it in my heart, my heart went out to the girls and their families. Maybe it’s the hormones but it appears for every two steps forward we take, there are always people making us take four steps back. I would also like to add the producer’s comments were also hurtful. It reminded me of how the slave masters pitted the light-skinned blacks against the dark-skinned black. From what I recall he said the other girls were so cute and then referenced Spike Lee's movie, Skool Daze. Calling one team the wanna bees and the other team the jigaboos. I am thirty-two and I just want to know, when is this all going to end?
candy says:
April 11, 2007, 1:44 pm
Response to Mr. Alvardo. 70% of the buyers of rap music are white males. The belief that Black people don't have issues with the lyrical content of some of these songs is untrue. I don't think a day goes by without someone complaining about it. A few years ago students at Spelman College protested when Nelly was scheduled to perform. But the reality is that rap brings in so much money for the record companies that it will take a lot for it to change. As for Imus, he has the right to say what he wants. And we have the right to demand his termination.
sunsail says:
April 11, 2007, 1:45 pm
To frank alvarado: "Why aren’t there droves of intelligent self-respecting women coming out and saying we shouldn’t buy their albums or download their ringtones?" I consider myself an intelligent, self-respecting woman, occasional typos not withstanding :) Before this incident, I had no clue who Imus was, or that he even existed. I don't listen to Little Wayne or Cabin John, nor do I follow all that "pimp my ride", "this is how we livin'" nonsense. I most certainly do not buy their albums. I don't follow or buy tabloids, nor do I watch mainsteam news (I have the news that I'm interested delivered to me online). Instead of being vocal and feigning outrage, this intelligent woman chooses to hit them where it hurts: in the wallet, and in their Nielsen ratings.
checkmymelonie says:
April 11, 2007, 1:49 pm
Hey Bella...thanks for the correction! In response to Mr. Alvarado's attempt to play the devil's advocate, I am a strong, intelligent woman who absolutely refuses to listen to certain hip hop/rap songs and music because of the misogyny, surrounded by women who primarily feel the same way. Just because rappers and hip hop artists are primarily African American doesn't make it right. It's a fallacy to state just because someone else is doing it makes someone else's behavior okay. It's still wrong, whether it's from Diddy or Don Imus. Why isn't it getting coverage? Because the mainstream media isn't trying to cover it. We all know how widespread positive images of people of color dominate the media, right? Yes, Mr. Imus has the right to hate. Therefore, he should also have the right to suffer the the form of a suspension, cancelled show, fines, etc. He may not have instigated any violence but he perpetuated racism and bigotry. Is one worse than the other? Let's take a look at society and decide...
tribalsun says:
April 11, 2007, 2:07 pm
#1 checkmymelonie said this: "There’s a difference between “sugar-coated political correctness” and an absolute disregard for a person’s humanity"... that's the bottom line. #2 There is some truth to what someone just said about most misogynhiphop listerners being White. While I don't have the numbers and haven't taken any official surveys, I can tell you in the mostly White town in which I work (college town), the handful of Lexus, Hummers and Beemers "rollin' down the street" with spinning gold rims blaring 50cent, lil wayne and the like are White boys. It's a freaky sight to see, let me tell you, because that's something I normally attribute to black men (blaring the hiphop out the ol' maxima windows), not so in my town. It's a bizarre thing to see, and makes me wonder what they must be thinking about black folks if they're puttin' it out there to the world that they're down with whatever's being said in those songs. #3 As bella points out, i wasn't listening to imus in the first place, so whether he stays or goes is of no consequence to anybody black i know, because he aint the first and he wont be the last racist person to have control of the mike. I think that covers my POV for the day.
i don't buy says:
April 11, 2007, 2:15 pm
I have to second (or third) sunsail and checkmymelonie--there are indeed droves of intelligent self-respecting women not buying the hateful messages of rap--no one I know buys it--but the media doesn't pay attention to them because maybe they're making individual and not group choices, or more likely because for the most part the media isn't interested in that image, especially when it's young black women.
flygyrl72 says:
April 11, 2007, 2:31 pm
Well, I'm also w/ checkmymelonie & sunsail. And while I do understand Frank's point, & get what he's trying to say. I still think Imus should get the boot. And Al Roker summed it up perfectly this morning on the Today Show's website, he blogged this on there, I'm copying the text below: "I cannot tell you how many people have asked me about my thoughts on Don Imus. As a student of broadcasting, I know Don Imus was one of the original shock jocks. I listened to him growing up in New York City in the late '60s and early '70s. He is a radio icon. That said, it is time for him to go. I, for one, am really tired of the diatribes, the “humor” at others’ expense, the cruelty that passes for “funny”. Don Imus isn’t the only one doing this, but today he’s the one in the hot seat. What he said was vile and disgusting. It denigrated an entire team and by extension, a community and its pride in a group that had excelled. This controversy started and grew during the week. At first under the radar, we even had Don’s wife, Deidre, on the program, talking about “green” cleaning. I thought she was so good I wanted to talk to her about a television program for my production company. Don and his wife have done a lot of good things—raising money for charity, including a ranch for children suffering from cancer and blood disorders. Yet, Don Imus needs to be fired for what he said. And while we’re at it, his producer, Bernard McGuirk, needs to be canned as well. McGuirk is just as guilty, often egging Imus on. The “I’m a good person who said a bad thing” apology doesn’t cut it. At least he didn’t try to weasel out of this by hiding behind alcohol or drug abuse. Still, he said it and a two-week suspension doesn’t cut it. It is, at best, a slap on the wrist. A vacation. Nothing. The general manager of Cartoon Network resigned after a publicity stunt went wrong and caused a panic in Boston. He did the right thing. Don Imus should do the right thing and resign. Not talk about taking a two-week suspension with dignity. I don’t think Don Imus gets it. After watching and listening to him this morning during an interview with Matt Lauer, Don Imus doesn’t get it. Maybe it’s being stuck in a studio for 35 years or being stuck in the 1980s. Either way, it’s obvious that he needs to move on. Citing “context within a comedy show” is not an excuse. He has to take his punishment and start over. Guess what? He’ll get re-hired and we’ll go on like nothing happened. CBS Radio and NBC News needs to remove Don Imus from the airwaves. That is what needs to happen. Otherwise, it just looks like profits and ratings rule over decency and justice."
haitiangurL says:
April 11, 2007, 2:57 pm
Bellas! While we are on this topic let's not forget to support Kiri and vote for her documentary... We need to support black women who are fighting against the system that degenerates our image..Please see the previous post by Afrobella on April 5 for the link to vote... She's moved up to 2nd Place!!!! and is only down by 794 votes (last I tally this morning) the deadline is Friday, APRIL 13 noon est... So please encourage as many people as you can to vote the next three days... (YOU CAN VOTE ONCE A DAY)... And remember a Vote for Kiri is Vote Against Imus and his cohorts!!!!
Christine says:
April 11, 2007, 3:06 pm
As a Rutgers Alum, I was disappointed with the statement not only because it was based in hatred, but because it was so hurtful to the women who worked hard to get to where they are just to be knocked down on based in hatred and American standards of beauty. Do I think he should be fired? I honestly don't think it matters. As noted there are many, many race based jokes out there used by radio personalities daily. The best way to stop it is by not listening, not buying. I don't, so it doesn't really matter to me what happens to him now. It's just so disappointing that this exists at all.
Monica says:
April 11, 2007, 3:06 pm
I'm sorry but I'm just not enraged. I'm upset that the NAACP is wasting it's time going after this fool. NAACP should be going after these black athletes, entertainers who constantly spew hate rhetoric and violence against black women. Do you realize you've got grown black men who make videos that promote violence and sexual degradation towards black women. Are any of us writing letters to these record companies? Are we boycotting advertisers that go near this filth? Too many of us saw Norbitt, have Ludacris CDs, and have BET on heavy rotation. This is far worse than ignorant racist Imus. You get mad at 'nappy headed hos'. Give me a break. That aint nothing! Put on a Ludacris cd or watch his videos. Listen to a 50 cent album. Most of Dr. Dre's songs talk about "smackin bitches and beatin' hos" I'm glad most of us don't listen to this but it doesn't excuse you from doing nothing. Just like most of us don't listen to Imus, yet yall are writing letters, boycotting products, etc. (shaking head and rolling eyes)
edw says:
April 11, 2007, 3:28 pm
Monica: I agree with you 100%. From the responses I've read, most of you claim to be intelligent women who don't listen to rap but ALL of you are comfortable with doing nothing to STOP it. The fact that 70% of the rap audience is white males only makes Imus's comment more understandable. If the majority of white males are listening to rap music that degrades black women, what mentality do you think they will posess when it comes to their opinion of black women? Until we demand respect for ourselves, we can't demand others to respect
edw says:
April 11, 2007, 3:29 pm
cool_caramel says:
April 11, 2007, 3:35 pm
To those that are claiming that black women are doing nothing to demand respect, what are you doing to stop the negative images?
Erin says:
April 11, 2007, 3:41 pm
I must say I totally agree with Monica...After my initial shock wore off i have to admit that I was not upset. Everything that has happened or will happen to Mr Imus is deserving, however we as a people are outraged at a white man calling black females 'nappy headed hoes' but we accept it as a norm from the black community as a whole? I listen to the conversations of young black men and women, teenagers ans middle schoolers also and their conversations are littered with the same profanity and disrespect as Mr Imus'. Not to mention rap and hip hop artists of today. Life imitates art never rang so true in my ears as I watched the video clip, if we are going to lash out at Mr. Imus lets do the same to the rap and hip hop stars our children idolize so much, we as a people should first reprimand them, just like a child would Mr. Imus only said what he heard somone else say. I'm not saying he isn't totally wrong but we as a people are not totally right either. I love everything about my nationality and heritage, but in order for others to respect it we first have to respect it. Maybe we should think about this before we lash out. After all he as well as rappers and entertainers were only exercising Free Speech. If we are going to prosecute one, prosecute everyone. Black or White.
cassandra says:
April 11, 2007, 3:42 pm
I made this comment on one of the political blogs, but Imus is partially being held up as the poster boy for the very real coarsening of public discourse. And let's not forget that he isn't just some shock jock -- he is a touchstone shock jock. Someone whose show is somewhat mandatory for book tours and politicians with something to peddle. Including the journalists on his how, this is a program that actually passes as a serious forum for public ideas. I don't listen to it. But I do not buy the "if hip-hop artists do it, then why worry about Imus" line. People like C. Delores Tucker, Rev. Calvin Butts, Essence magazine and Oprah (by ignoring them) have been tilting at the misogyny and violence of hip hip for some time. Ms. Tucker was fairly routinely laughed at and dismissed by artists AND the media reporting on her work. But the modelhere is this -- I can trash talk my sister, but if you trash talk my sister there will be hell to pay. The thing is though, your mama and my mama will agree that neither of us should have been trash talking in the first place. Decent people know this instinctively and that is much of the pushback I think I hear about this business. I hope that Imus is fired. And I hope that this sparks a real groundswell for better discourse - music and otherwise- in the public space. I won't hold my breath tho.
grownnsxc says:
April 11, 2007, 3:49 pm
To quote good old Al: He’ll get re-hired and we’ll go on like nothing happened. And this is exactly what we'll do. Black folks have been doing this forever. We get riled up about something, discuss it to death, but no one wants to formulate a plan and take action, so the ruckus dies down and nothing is accomplished. I hate to say it, but this is the exact reason why it is so hard for me to get upset about this type of incident. Guess what? White people are prejudiced. All of them, no. But we would be very naive to think that some of the same slurs we throw at them behind close doors is not being done to us at their homes. Difference is usually we have enough sense to not go around voicing our opinions to everyone (Isiah). Do I feel bad for the young ladies that these comments were directed to? Yes. Do I care if this fool gets fired? No. For what? Unless we as a race decide to start being PROactive rather than REactive.
afrobello says:
April 11, 2007, 3:59 pm
I had no idea what he said about the Williams sisters and Kylie Minogue. For that alone, he should have been canned.The argument about rappers gets really old too. Is Imus supposed to be excused because no one got around to cleaning house in hip-hop?
checkmymelonie says:
April 11, 2007, 4:10 pm
As one of those strong women who don't listen to rap, I will answer what exactly what I DON'T do. I DON'T buy any rap or hip hop CDs by any rapper, male or female, who refer to women as bitches, hoes, or just plain useless. I DON'T buy the clothing lines. I DON'T buy any endorsed products. I DON'T watch their videos. I DON'T listen to their songs on the radio. In other words, I DON'T contribute to their bottom line. Yes, I could wave a placard and line up all day every day but the most effective way to express disapproval, in this extremely shallow and disposable age, is to keep my money in my pocket. Furthermore, I have made it one of my life's purposes to work with female adolescents and young women. I make it a point to emphasize that they are beautiful, inherently special, and much more than a piece of ass or a dancing dollar sign. That's what I'm doing. What about you? Hey Bella...I would welcome a post on black male-female relations because these comments are definitely veering towards it.
Laura says:
April 11, 2007, 4:14 pm
Imus's (and his producer Bernard McGuirk's) stupidity here just...makes me furious. There's a whole tangle of wrong about it that I can't even start to sort out without getting furious, but it sums up to -- well, what some of the athletes themselves have been saying in the news! That they were struck out at with ugly language both as women and as African-Americans, and that it tarnished their moment. Whenever something like this happens, I feel like stomping my feet and yelling "It is NOT OK to trash people for being female! Or black! Or just plain different from you! IT IS NOT OK!" I feel like they didn't get the memo -- and I wish it was a problem with as easy a solution as just sending out a memo. Instead, it is the kind of thing that is going to take a lot of work from people of all races and all genders and all walks of life. And I think everyone reading this will probably grow old and die long before the work is done.
Erin says:
April 11, 2007, 4:15 pm
@ Afrobello: The argument about rappers not being excused is never too old. Our children idolize them, if they don't clean up their acts our children will accept it as the norm. We as a people are reactive, so yes it hurt deeply that the comments were passed but it hurts even more when you here the people who are raised to respect women degrade them... Should Mr. Imus be penalized? Yes. Should entertainers be penalized? Yes. This is not only about Mr. Imus, or entertainers. It is about the state of the black race... Would we all be so upset if A black news or radio personality said the same thing? In my opinion, No.
edw says:
April 11, 2007, 4:15 pm
Cool Caramel: I getting an education (a phd in economics) to hopefully shed some light on many economic issues facing blacks. I'm currently working on an economic model that will (hopefully) better explain why we are and still continue to be one of the most economically depressed peoples. I am crossing my fingers that this model will open up discussion and will be implemented in many more mainstream models that we use today. I also head up a small club of fellow graduate students that go into local inner city schools to discuss long term goals and the meaning of success. You'd be surprised at what many of our young describe as successful--having a baby by an NBA player, being ligh skinned, having green eyes, dancing in a video--and you'd be surprised at how few of them are are not motivated because they can't see the end product NOW. It is our goal to change that. To give them alternative, sustainable, enriching, views of success and long term goals. We encourage them not to support any music/tv shows that degrade them--you'd be surprised at how many of these youngsters have discovered and fell in love with jazz and are beginning watch more meaningful and television. That's just a small drop in the bucket but I feel that once you can condition these youngsters to think outside of the box then it's a great start.
edw says:
April 11, 2007, 4:19 pm
Yes Cassandra, you make a great point, but those women you mentioned who speak out is NOT ENOUGH, we need more and we need to be even more relentless because it is only getting worse.
edw says:
April 11, 2007, 4:26 pm
Afrobella: It will never get old, especially if the stats are true that 70% of the listeners of rap are white males. I cringe at that stat--I can just see them cruising in their cars chanting "big booty ho" or "fuck that black bitch" with Ludacris and 50 cent. That, my friend, is scary.
haitiangurL says:
April 11, 2007, 4:40 pm
cool-caramel, I agree with you which is why I feel its super important that we support someone who IS representing us right... Which is why in my last post I ask that everyone VOTE 4 Kiri @ CosmoGirl and her documentary "A Girl Like Me"... Deadline is this Friday @ Noon est!! My girls and I are currently working on a blog called Take Back Our Image... Which we're taking from Take Back the Night a group founded by women against date rape.. This group started on one college campus and the message spread like wild flowers to colleges all cross the country... We want to do the same and not only on college campuses but within the inner city too... Young black girls need to be educated as to why these images exist and how they affect them and the role they play in perpetuating these images, etc... We work with disadvantage girls in our church and to say that they don't know about the history and the legacy of slavery is an understatement, but we're reaching them and we're committed to creating the media format that can reach this generation of girls thus help end the cycle... Let's start by voting for Kiri because she represents our future, bellas, which is the best of black women everywhere...... Voting ends Friday @ Noon (She's in 2nd place our 28 messages right here & 2, 3, 4, 5, of your friends can be the difference she needs to WIN)... So put your money where your mouth is and VOTE!!!
Monica says:
April 11, 2007, 5:41 pm
Imus is not the issue! We are! Does Imus influence black children? Do black adults listen to this fool? Most black folks didn't even know who he was until this hit the media. Imus is an ignorant, white racist. So, what. He's no more ignorant than Ludacris, 50 cent, Dr. Dre, Snoop, etc. They're ignorant black racists. Those rappers, entertainers, athletes have done far worse to hurt the image of our community than Imus. I cringe when I hear little kids rap a 50 cent song. I can't stand too hear black teenagers call each other nigga or bitch every 5 seconds. You tell me what's worse? Who has more influence? I'm tired of seeing black men jumping up and down on award shows like little monkeys, calling each other nigga, calling black women hos, and throwing up gang signs. Nobody in our community does anything. We cheer, smile, and join in on the coonin' But, we're upset because Imus said 'nappy headed hos'. Puhleaze. Trust me, he's in good company.
sunsail says:
April 11, 2007, 5:51 pm
update on kiri: she's only down by 115 votes!!! PELASE y'all, you want to do something positive?? Please vote for Kiri!! It's the BEST way of showing the white-owned media that there IS solidarity in the black community, we ARE watching, and we DO CARE!!
sunsail says:
April 11, 2007, 6:11 pm
I also wanted to point out the following regarding the cosmo contest. If any of you checked this out last week, or even two weeks ago, kiri had a few hundred votes, tops, while the other two videos had garnered a few thousand. In about a week, she has moved from 3rd to 2nd, and has gotten over 7,000 votes. This tells me the following: Black teens/people/women are NOT in Cosmo Girl's reading demographic. If it were, i would venture to guess that the amount of her votes would have been on par with the other two contestants. I find the following thought entertaining: if kiri wins, I can just IMAGINE the flabbergasted, slack-jawed looks on the faces of the editors. I wonder if it will force them to tailor their content a bit more to us folks who have a bit more melanin in our skin?? My, oh my, what ever shall they do?? edw: THIS is power. THIS is how you affect change. As one economist to another, we both know that econ is the study of people's CHOICES in the face of scarcity. While doing community outreach projects are all well and good, you're fighting an uphill battle if the people you are trying to educate with jazz and "think of future returns" and what not are STILL being bombarded with nothing but white, skinny blonde models and "video hos." So, let's force cosmo's editors to speak about kiri's video, and of how THEIR CONSTANT PORTRAYAL and reinforcement of what is beautiful is doing a serious disservice to millions of young black women. Let's force them to do lip gloss reviews for women with darker skin. Let's force them to do "how to" articles on braids and cornrows. Perhaps, if there were more positive role models in cosmo, we would see the "wrong-ness" of exploiting women in music videos and would aim much, much higher. Word.
afrobella says:
April 11, 2007, 6:28 pm
I feel a movement coming on, people! I feel you, Sunsail. Preach, girl. I'll be writing more about this topic soon, trust!
lionessam says:
April 11, 2007, 6:51 pm
The bottom line is this: why should we expect anyone else to respect us when we don't respect ourselves? Like a lot of other people were commenting. We allow hip-hop artists to disrespect us all the time, but I don't see us boycotting them. Also, like someone else mentioned when a lot of the women hear songs like "Drop it like it's hot" or 50 cents "In the Club" they do exactly like the song says. So my question to them is is it ok just because your own race degrads you as long as it's not a white man/woman? Come on! It seems that now a lot of us are perpetuating the mentality that white slave owners had of us in the slavery system: that black women are nothing but sex-crazed harlots and black men are just "bucks", breeders with no humanity acting like animals. When are WE going to get the chains off our brains? That's why I'm not a fan of hip-hop now because it's a bunch of ignorant people talking crap we've already heard in someone else's song and young and some older people are just eating it up. As far as Don Imus, he's probably not going to get fired, why should he, he just insulted black women. (that last statement was sarcastic by the way).
anonymous says:
April 11, 2007, 7:15 pm
I have my own deeply though out opinions about the comments made by Imus but I'm not even going to take it there, he's just not worth it. I just want to say look at that fool, he looks exactly like the comments he made. Ironic, I think not. He has got to be one of the ugliest men ever (inside and out).
edw says:
April 11, 2007, 8:15 pm
sunsail: You took my comments about jazz and the future out of context. First of all, I do not operate some "after school program." My advisor and myself are currently working on a study about (in a nutshell) the siginficance of increased education on expected lifeterm earnings. One of our observations is the correlation between college attendance and proximity to actual colleges. We found that blacks are more likely to attend college the further they live from an actual college. Another interesting statistic we discovered is that self esteem among blacks is highly correlated with the amount of education the recieve. Factors such as media images proved to be statistically insignificant. I'm not going around teaching them to appreciate jazz. These students are a part of my study and I happened to take a strong liking to them. In addition to having followed these students around for almost three years, i'm teaching them to think outside of the box--to understand the options that they have and the power they can obtain by trying out these other options. I live and go to school in boston. Boston is not a large city, you can walk from one end to the other in about one hour. The kids that I come in contact with don't venture outside of their neighborhood. Their life encompasses a .5 mile radius. They live among the BEST schools in the world but college is not even in their radar. They treat it like some unrealizable dream. Now, if I truly am speaking from one economist to another, then you too must understand that we as a people LIMIT our choices by choosing to focus on instant gratification. We define scarcity by allowing ourselves to be held down by images. We hinder our own possibilities by focusing on wrong priorities. You would also understand that economics assumes that you make these choices with PERFECT INFORMATION. Informed choices is what creates change, not getting recognized in Cosmo. Do we really need articles about how to cornrow your hair in Cosmo? Do we need Cosmo's validation? Is Cosmos the litmus test by which we dictate our life? We don't need acceptance, we don't need for anyone other than ourselves to acknowledge our beauty and self esteem. What we need are counterexamples, the inspite of's. Economically speaking, the most robust period of econmic growth (adjusted for inflation) was the period directly after emancipation from slavery. Funny, there were no images of us in the media ANYWHERE and we were viewed along the lines of an ox. So, you know what, I don't buy this we need to see ourselves in magazines and in the media. We need to see ourselves in the classrooms--the only place where REAL change and power emerges.
afrobello says:
April 11, 2007, 9:32 pm
No need for a lesson here, Erin. Using hip-hop to deflect responsibility from Imus' accountability is definitely old. He has to stand on his own in this debate. As deplorable as this speech is in the music industry, it's indicative of our culture crumbling because of internalized racist and sexist conditioning. Imus doesn't have that excuse. He's a bigot from the outside looking in, hurling insults at people who did him no wrong. It seems less like people want to look at the broader implications of this speech than the appearance of someone outside the culture finding a scapegoat Imus can cuddle up with. If he could be put on trial for this, is he supposed to use a Ludacris album for his defense? I doubt he even likes Vanilla Ice. I'm happy to point a finger at the filth of rap music, but not because of Imus.
Asha says:
April 12, 2007, 12:08 am
Hi Afrobella, this issue has stirred up the emotions of some members of a forum that I post on and it has led to us coming together to begin a boycott of radio stations and other media outlets that promote the degradation of the black community. Our starting point is a petition which can be viewed and signed at:
edw says:
April 12, 2007, 12:48 am
I hear you afrobella! I get your point. Thanks for the insight! Asha, thanks for the petition link!
Raycal Boswell says:
April 12, 2007, 7:54 am
I think we as black people, BLACK WOMEN need to hold the Rappers to the same standard and not allow them to call us Ho's. Why do we buy Rap CS's that have some of the same type of content? I think we need to stop being hypocrites and tell other people to stop doing the same thing we do ourselves. I should not be called a ho by a man at all, regardless of whether he is Black or White. And in reference to the nappy headed part, we (BLACK PEOPLE) have websites called that Nappy Hair Affair, Nappy and Nappturality. So my question is, is it because he was a white man that said Nappy Headed or is it the combination of Nappy Headed and Ho?
cool_caramel says:
April 12, 2007, 8:25 am
To Raycal Boswell, I'd like to address the last part of your post concerning the use of Nappy Headed. I copied a comment from a member at that sums of the way I view this: "I'd like to reiterate that it is not the term that offends is the TONE. I have nappy hair. However, if my mamma says to my niece "your hair is sooo nappy" I get offended and tell her so. She means that nappy hair is bad hair. I am determined to correct her tone. That is what offends me by Imus' comments. His tone was to demean. He in no way was describing their hair as unique to black people. By adding the word "ho's" to the word, it further confirms his intent. When "we" use it with a negative tone, there is no difference. If someone Black says, "My hair is sooo nappy...I need a perm." I reply, "There is nothing wrong with your nappy hair. it is the way God intended it to be. You should learn to love your nappy hair. It is unique to you." The tone behind their comment is that nappy hair is bad hair. It is offensive when Imus does and when Black people use it in that way because the tone behind the word is meant to degrade the head that the nappy hair is on."
Raycal Boswell says:
April 12, 2007, 8:58 am
Cool Caramel. Thanks for explaining the way you feel. That is totally understandable. I don't think everyone can explain it so eloquently as you just did. I think most are saying nappy is a negative term PERIOD. But we do have nappy hair, so that's why I was wondering what the outrage was all about. But you are right, it's just like someone can say...You are Black or You are sooooooooo Black. It changes the word somehow by the tone that you say it. Nappy headed I am but a Ho I am not. I was more offended by the Ho part personally. That's why I say we need to hold the rappers to the same standard.
cool_caramel says:
April 12, 2007, 9:16 am
Thanks Raycal, I definitely agree with you on the use of the word ho (not to mention b@#ch, and other derogatory terms that are used to demean women, particularly black women). I just read an article on MSNBC that talked about the use of the word nappy as a double standard. I really don't know the origins of the word, I used to think it was used to demean our hair, but I have learned to embrace it. However, many people, particularly black people, view the word as a negative, to some it's the other N word. So, I am careful how I use the term, and make sure that I am ALWAYS using it in a positive light. To be honest, sometimes I don't know how someone will perceive it, based on how so many in our community really view our hair as ugly or unacceptable. It's really sad, that's why I was sooo moved when I watched "A Girl Like Me Video", I really understand how those young ladies felt. It took me 30 years to finally love and accept that God made me beautiful and in His image. I know I'm rambling, but I hope you understand :0)
Mrs518 says:
April 12, 2007, 9:25 am
You know this just makes me so sick, as a Black person living in upstate NY (which is rare BTW) i've heard my fair share of racism. Im not suprised at all. It acually hurts more. As black people if we learned how to stick together more, these kinds of things would'nt sting so much. We need to become a stronger coummunity. Is this possible?
byrdparker says:
April 12, 2007, 10:44 am
Rappers can say what they want , most rappers are rapping about what they know OR what they are/ were taught . Who control's this ?? The white media . Don't let them spin you !!! take your time and think , about the rap songs what they mean , and who actually green lights these records to be made. What's the song by nwa niggaz 4 life . Have u listened to the words . Why should they change the word nigga , because white people want to erase , since they perpetuated the use of the term . We have websites that say nappy hair , or nappy whatever we are only saying what we were taught or what was said about us . We are taking back the negative, and spinning it into positive to us.. not for them . yes imus should be fired he said "nappy headed hos " in a deragatory way , and all of you who posted otherwise should understand that . How many times has don imus had a black person over his house for dinner , or how about when he throws a party. For some of u who might not know , up until 1958 it was legal to lynch a black man in parts of the usa. We were just fighting for equal rights in the 60's. before that in the 30's during feature films , they used to show lil black sambo ( look him up if u do not know what he is ) or in some schools it was required reading... Nappy headed = pickaninny . Have u ever seen the pickaninny drawings , or advertisments for commercial products back in the 30's. I watched meredith viera this morning , interview al sharpton , and i was appalled how she said that these words originated in our community and calling for al sharpton to go after the rappers! I hate to say it , but we live in a time of mediocrity , where most of these celebs or journalists who are getting fame and money , and are cultural icons or influences for young people are the same ones who perpetuate this type of language . although you might not see the influences now , but in 20 years or so you will . I would like to also condemn those rap producers , who commercialized rap to put money in thier own pockets. Why did we have to have Eminem OR Vanilla Ice. Our black actresses/ actors can't even get film roles!!!
Erin says:
April 12, 2007, 2:47 pm
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but trying to take a negative word and turn it into a positive one is not something I am a big fan of. We constantly take words such as Ni@@a, Bi@@h, ho, and every other negative and derogatory name that black people as a whole have been called and embrace them? Why? I have too much respect for our race and what we've been through, are going through, and what we will go through to degrade myself or anyone else by referring to people by those names,it's a commonplace in our society. I must say growing up in the south I have never experienced first hand racism, but my parents have and just listening to their stories is enough for me not to degrade myself, so no I don't embrace the negative words that are and were used to define us... As I stated before, Mr. Imus is deserving of everything that he has coming, but I will also reiterate the fact that we as a people have to demand respect from ourselves also, otherwise we are saying its ok for any and everyone to reference us as Mr Imus did.
Thaddeus says:
April 12, 2007, 2:50 pm
Wait, wait one minute. Don Imus is an ass and revealed himself being a bigger ass with the recent controversy. However, what about the same things being said in mainstream hip-hop and rap? There shouldn't be a double standard when it comes to this kind of bullcrap. I read a comment Snoop made on the topic and it was soooooo STUPID. I am tired of this. I am tired of it all. As a man of color, I am fed up with the degrating of ourselves and others. Imus and mainstream hip-hop are one in the same. If Imus's comments are horrible then the content in mainstream hip-hop is just as horrible. And by, "mainstream hip-hop"......Yall know who they are, I do not have to explain that one.
byrdparker says:
April 12, 2007, 3:27 pm
Erin Says: April 12th, 2007 at 2:47 pm i don't know if u are answering me .. but i never said nigga was positive or bitch or ho .. I was specifically talking about "nappy " or nappy head and was refferring to a post above that saids we have websites talking about nappy this and that . and last time i checked whore or ho , was used to define a loose woman of any color. In regards of the word nigger , I am not so hung up on rap artist using that word . But someone is supporting and buying it, and as one poster wrote it was 80% white boys. So now rappers are producing for white people . The situation is worst than this the imus scenario. Its been going on for a long time since we were brought here on the slave ships . This is part of our legacy , its nothing new .. Speaking of the word ho , who buys all of the urban clothing , that is not even produced by us , you think it is produced by us , but it's not ,,, Our own people sell us out eveyday , we have got people making green jewlery to hide the fact they are still using diamonds possibly from conflict countires. And to top it off diamonds are not even worth anything , they are not rare , it was a advertising hoax. and the list goes on . I Cannot understand , how any black person saids they never experienced racism .. Funny everyday u are insulted by racism , from tv programs , radio programs , advertising , when u go get a weave done and use korean hair , or buy hair products from the korean store ( you know the koreans dominate the black hair business, do the research ) . No I tell you I am not going to put down black rap artists, because of an imus smokescreen ... and what's funny i don't really listen to rap , i am more into old jazz , groups like le nubiens or massive attack.
afrobello says:
April 12, 2007, 3:37 pm
"Rappers can say what they want , most rappers are rapping about what they know OR what they are/ were taught . Who control’s this ?? The white media." Sorry, Byrdparker, I can't buy that. Once you've banked millions, you don't have to be around the sterotypical conditions of overt crime and overall degradation referenced in the music. They're officially talking about what they think will sell, not that which they continue to experience. Remember, their careers hinge on maintaing the street cred that is as much of an asset as Mariah's high notes. As far as who controls it all, don't we all have the option to quit if a boss makes us do things that go against our morals?
Erin says:
April 12, 2007, 4:11 pm
To byrdparker, I was not referring to you, I actually agree with some of your points. I am referring to our race as a whole, the fact that Russell Simmons is producing green jewelry is not new to me, and believe it or not we all buy into the hidden racism on a daily basis. When I say growing up in the south I never experienced DIRECT racism it meant the type of in your face, person to person racism that my parents experienced, which is rare because New Orleans is a racial hot spot. As far as rap music I don't buy it or listen to it either, neither am I putting down rap artists, I never said a negative word about them I am against the way they degrade black women, its a disgrace simply because in putting us down, they are bringing themselves down also... I agree the situation is worse than the Imus scenario, but why is it just directed towards him? Answer this... If a black personality in the same situation would have said the same thing Imus said would the NAACP get involved? Would he be fired? Would our race even acknowledge the fact that the comment was made? If they did acknowledge it would he suffer the same course of action Mr Imus has? I think not... I don't have hairweave, I rarely get relaxers, I am of creole descent I embrace every part of my heritage from my White great grandfather to my Black and Indian great grandmother. So let me ask you a question, do you buy into the propaganda? Because one way or the other we all do, it's inevitable. As I posted before, we are reactive by nature its inbred in us, why lash out at others when it begins with yourself? Discipline begins in the home... I am simply saying that we cannot reprimand this White man without first reprimanding Black men, it's ok for them to say it but not him? I don't get it, all of it that is said is meant to harm the esteem of black women, yet its acceptable for a person of color to say it to another person of color... In the words of Laurence Fishburne A.K.A. Dap from 'School Daze': "WAKE UP!!!"
byrdparker says:
April 12, 2007, 6:12 pm
Erin Says: April 12th, 2007 at 4:11 pm No we all do not buy into hidden racism on a daily basis . If you strip away all the frills and understand racism for what it is , then perhaps one will not buy into hidden racism . Imus for those young rutgers girls is an authority figure , someone who has been around for a long time, respected in his field / can reach a lot of people . He was around during and even before the civil rights movement . Even though they do not listen to him , It's pretty horrible for authority figure to slam you with racist comments, that will travel with them for the rest of thier lives ! I do not think that a credible black journalist would have said a general term talking about the whole team . so it's a hypothetical situation it has not happened , because there is no black journalist out there like imus . Even listening to wendy williams she is attacking guests on her show not gunning for innocent young women ( world class athletes) who are playing basketball possibly from a scholarship , and are attending college for the american dream .. Where is the American Dream for African americans , if u cannot even attend school without an authority figure making racist remarks .. Imus has been in the industry for a while he is a authority figure in his world , he has mentored a lot of public journalist we see today . No i do not buy into propoganda, i like to travel and see the world myself, i like to immerse myself in finding out the truth, not just talking the talk . I do not want spend my time thinking about hypothetical situations that have not happened. It's a waste of time . I still stand by those rappers in this situation , even though i know a lot of people will not agree with me.. They are rapping about what they know and the label heads are pushing them to give more , and telling them what sells. Some rappers are educated and some are not. Yes and wasn't it always the way to divide and conquer afroamericans by pitting them against each other . Come on how could R kelly do a song talking about rain on them hoes, is this a refference to peeing on women ? Isn't he going to court . Whose bright idea was this , but more importantly who is greenlighting and putting the money into these projects. In regards to the korean hair suppliers , i was not refferring specifically to you as i do not know you . But to clarify the koreans have taken control of the distribution of black products , and most black hair products are not even produced by black manufacturers. Afrobella , How many people quit a five figure deal , along with notoriety which comes with it ?? how many of those rappers really have invested their money ? Once one gets the fame bug , can they live without it? I admit it is honorable to do so , but most of us ( human race ) would not do it, as most of us are followers, and right now everybody wants their 15 minutes.
byrdparker says:
April 12, 2007, 6:23 pm
afrobella I do appreciate your blog !! Its beautiful , i come here almost everyday , to check up on your beauty tips , although i rarely comment ... But I love commenting on political posts thanks for the dialogue.
flygyrl72 says:
April 12, 2007, 7:14 pm
HA! CBS has given Imus the boot too... But I hope this incident really opens our eyes as a community that we can no idly longer stand by & let these types of negative stereotypes set the standard for how we're regarded by mainstream America...
jerseybred says:
April 13, 2007, 2:12 pm
Someone has sent the team hate email. They are not to blame for Imus's firing and I personally think these young women have carried themselves very well throughout this ordeal.
iamnotStarJones says:
April 13, 2007, 10:52 pm
I don't feel like Imus was fired for his comments...he was fired for the fallout of his comments causing the loss of money to CBS and NBC Universal.
[a} says:
April 16, 2007, 6:03 pm
The Palestinian remark is making me fume (!!!!), especially. I am so mad that he could be allowed to say that. I wonder if whoever he was talking to had the audacity to laugh nervously and change the subject--I would've walked off the set. And the "cleaning lady" comment?! Why did it take so long--till MAY--to kick him off the show????!!!
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