Now I do not profess to be a preacher, however, I was raised in a church and one of the things that I do remember being hammered into my head at Mount Calvary Baptist Church was that “the power of life and death is in the tongue.” This well-worn church saying was designed to remind us to be mindful of the language that we bantered about publicly. One was to refrain from cursing or representing themselves in a negative manner for the following reason; ‘a little bit of bad will tear down a whole lot of good.’
I was reminded of such a lesson this past Thanksgiving while riding with my son to meet friends and enjoy the holiday festivities. While stopped at a Red Light, I was reminded of why everyone should not be blessed to have children. To my left was a brother who appeared to be in his late-thirties or early-forties with a singular passenger in his convertible, a neatly dressed little lady who appeared to be approximately four or five years old. What drew my attention to this scene was the blasting rap music coming from that direction.
Now I was not surprised that the driver, an African-American male, was listening to UGK (Pimp C & Bun B), I am in Houston Texas after all. However, it was the song, Let Me See It, which was being blasted while a small child, a girl nonetheless, sat inches away from the speakers. For those who are unfamiliar with the song Let Me See It, here is a sampling of the lyrics.
(Bun B’s Lyrics)
Now, from the city that I live in
To the city where I’m from
For all the hoes that we done did
And the hoes that we ain’t done
From the ones that fuck for shrimp
To the ones that fuck for cum:
If you ain’t fittin’ ta fuck Pimp
Then you ain’t fittin’ ta fuck Bun
Got some hoes from the ‘hood (‘hood)
That live to keep it live (live)
And some office buildin’ boppers (boppers)
Workin’ 9 to 5 (five)
Ball playa baby mama bitches;
But to me it ain’t no thang
Let that monkey hang, baby
Let me see it.
(Pimp C’s lyrics)
Uh…take it off, chick
Bend over, lemme see it
I’m Sweet James Jones
And a trick: I couldn’t be it
Got a young brown stallion
And she 20 years old
When she pop it from the back
You see that hairy asshole
From the A-T-L hoes, to the H-town strippers
To the boppers in DeVille
That’s suckin’ us and pullin’ zippers
Now, it how it make ya feel when you see a pimp shine?
Bitch, you wastin’ too much time..
Get back up on yo’ grind (grind, grind…)
Although it is easy to forget, our antics have the ability to mar and malign the entire race; particularly when one considers that African-Americans are inextricably linked together. In this case, it was an adult who was carelessly exposing an innocent child to language and imagery that she should never have to deal with at her tender age. Not to mention the depraved lyrical content that if listened to carefully appears to be a misogynists dream where all women are good for is “bending it over” to Let Me See It. Amazingly, this is the message that was being piped into the mind of a young female child, not that young boys hearing it is any less damaging, by what appeared to be her father. Some of us have truly lost their way.
There was a time when one took pride in their public persona as it was a reflection of all that we had come into contact with during our life; meaning family, friends, and race. There was a pride found among African-Americans. One abhorred being caught ‘showing one’s color’ regardless of circumstances.
If provided an opportunity to do so, I would point African-Americans back to a time when pride under girded everything that we did. Because in today’s society it appears that being classless is the preferred method of transmitting cultural messages. It is beyond time that today’s popular culture icons and those that follow them every waking moment of their lives learn a thing or two regarding the power of language and come to understand that financial wealth will never mask intellectual feeble mindedness and moral depravity.
I pray that the brother blasting UGK’s Let Me See It with his child in the vehicle one day learns a thing or two about decency and what is, and is not, appropriate in front of his child. Hopefully, he will be able to take a lesson from Jay-Z, a self-proclaimed rap God, who once admonished his followers with the following quip, “you can pay for school, but you can’t buy class.” A lesson that I hope the brother riding on my left learns before his influence upon his child dims the little light that all children are born into this world possessing.
James Thomas Jones III, Ph.D., M.A., M.A., M.A.,
Writer at Manhood, Race, and Culture