Sunday, April 09, 2006

Wendi Why U Hatin'???

Here are two articles written by former (as of last month) Memphis Commercial Appeal (CA) columnist and Memphis,Tn native Wendi Thomas concerning Three Six Mafia's Oscar nomination and win…It's been interesting to note Terrence Howard's reaction to Three Six's recent acclaim…Is he being hypocritical or he is just acting like a hypocrite??? During her time at the CA Wendi was considered by many in the Memphis Black and political community as being controversial for her views on such topics as education and city politics…She now works for the Baltimore Sun.

'Hustle' song no rapper's delight
March 2, 2006
If the gods are merciful, Memphis won't be mentioned on the Oscars Sunday. That way, no one outside the River City will be reminded that a homegrown threesome wrote the first rap song to be performed at the Academy Awards.
Much to my dismay but in keeping with the culture's glorification of all things gross, "It's Hard Out There for a Pimp" has been nominated for an Oscar in the best original song category.
Would that life were so excruciatingly hard for purveyors of flesh that these losers would turn to legal, if less lucrative, professions.
The song, from the Memphis-made movie "Hustle & Flow" (or "Shudder & Blow," as I like to call it,) is meant to elicit compassion for these hustlers who are merely doing their best with the women they exploit.
Here's a verse from the ode to pimpdom: "Wait I got a snow bunny, and a black girl too/ You pay the right price and they'll both do you/ That's the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly pimpin'/ Gotta have my hustle tight, makin' change off these women, yeah."
If this seems seedy to you, you're not alone.
Awards show producers, the actor who played the pimp-turned rapper in the movie, and the rappers themselves know that this song is hardly family-friendly.
On the show, you won't hear the unedited version (quoted above) that kids hear in clubs. You won't hear the barely sanitized version played on the radio. You'll hear a squeaky-clean rendition, as if pimping could be made palatable.
"As soon as they asked us to perform it, we ran into the studio and did a rewrite," Jordan "Juicy J" Houston told Los Angeles entertainment reporter Steve Pond. "It's gonna be a strong, clean, positive performance."
There's no way in this life or the next to make pimping positive. But it's telling that Three 6 Mafia knows that their song as nominated is just too crude for elite crowds.
In Sunday's performance, the group will replace "bitches" with "women," but the misogyny will come through loud and clear.
Producer Gil Cates told the Associated Press that he "wouldn't start with that song ... because it's early in the evening."
Yet another admission that this sort of questionable content should be reserved for times when children are less likely to hear it.
Actor Terrence Howard, who played DJay in "Hustle & Flow," performed the song in the film, but declined to do so at the Oscars.
He told "I'm ready to see the entire roomful of people in there singing 'It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp,' " then added, "If they know the words, then we really got a problem." (I'd say it's a crisis, not a problem, but I digress.)
The Oscar audience tends to be older, whiter, better educated and wealthier than Three 6's main audience.
Which makes it even sadder that Oscar producers and the rappers will censor for their relatively privileged adult audience what other adults and parents won't censor for vulnerable, browner, less educated and poorer children.
Forget pimps.
It's hard out there for a kid, when they should be able to grow up free from garbage set to a crunk beat.

File Oscar under history to hide from
March 7, 2006
History was made Sunday night. Not chest-puffing history like "Memphis' first black mayor" or maybe, "the state's first black U.S. senator." This is history of the face-hiding, downcast-eyes sort, like "the dead voting in a tight state Senate race" or "a raft of politicians indicted by the FBI."
Sunday, Memphis' own Three 6 Mafia became the first rap group to perform at the Oscars. They went on to steal golden men for "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," the first rap song by black artists to win in the original song category.
While many Memphians were probably jumping up and down on their sofas while Three 6 flashed metallic grills and demonstrated their inability to speak proper English in their acceptance ramble, I was mortified.
I had prayed that the Academy wouldn't dignify "Pimp," from the Memphis-filmed flick "Hustle & Flow," with a win, and if Three 6 did win, that they would keep their origins quiet.
It was not to be. As Three 6 performed behind hos on the stroll, a street sign on stage said "North Memphis." After thanking Jesus, but before the trio left with Oscars in hand, one got a "Memphis, Tennessee!" shout-out.
Within 10 minutes of Three 6's win, several people called me to gloat, including a childhood friend, Greg Spight, 33, of Collierville.
"This is the first time a rapper performed and won, and you gotta give them a lot of credit for that," Spight insisted. "Look at where they came from, selling mix tapes out the back of their trunk, then starting their own label, then winning an Oscar."
The win, he said, was "excellent" for the city.
I agree, if excellent means we'll finally confront the notion that Memphis really does stand for Makin' Easy Money Pimpin' Hos In Style. Thank "Hustle" actor Terrence Howard (who performed "Pimp" in the movie but not on the Oscars) for spreading the word of the city's embarrassing moniker in a recent interview.
Excellent if this creates a much-needed opportunity for parents to tell their children that Three 6's hustling career path is not to be emulated.
Excellent if girls listen to the lyrics and decide they will no longer bounce their behinds to songs that call them bitches or hos or encourage men to abuse them for financial gain.
Excellent if civil rights groups and others who claim to care about children get off their apathetic rear ends and, at the very least, publicly denounce the misogyny and violence in this music.
Excellent if churches that spent thousands of dollars on newspaper ads denouncing gay sex would be consistent enough to apply that same standard to all sex outside of marriage, including music like Three 6's, which encourages promiscuity.
Excellent if our elected officials figure out how to strike a balance between supporting local musicians and rejecting foul music with no redeeming value. (Fat chance of this, given that local politicos A C Wharton and D'Army Bailey were both at the movie's local premiere.)
If any of that happens, then Three 6's win Sunday night will be history of which the city could be proud

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