In the above clip, Grammy award winning Hip-Hop artist/activist, Che “Rhymefest” Smith and public intellectual and Scholar in Residence in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Syracuse University, Dr. Boyce Watkins, go back and forth on the significance of Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, and Tyler the Creator losing endorsement deals. They also debate what percentage of Lil Wayne’s music is garbage, and whether we should campaign for more conscious artists to get endorsement deals.
I recently did an interview with the New Pittsburgh Courier about the impact of these campaigns, and whether it would change the music industry’s approach to promoting negative images in a article titled “Can the Black Community Change the Face of the Music Industry?“:
“I think it shows the power we have as a community. I think it’s a power we’ve always had, we complain, but we don’t really organize,” he said. “My only concern or critique is what we need to do is offer an alternative.”
However, Jasiri X and other conscious rappers say White CEOs are actually the ones pulling the strings behind these mainstream hip-hop artists.
In an effort to hold them accountable, one group, the Internet collective FAAN Mail, which stands for Fostering Activism and Alternatives Now, sent a letter to Universal Music Group. The letter was in response to a music video by rapper 2 Chainz that carries on the rap tradition of objectifying women.
“It’s really about representations of Black people that these older white CEOs are comfortable with,” said Jasiri X, who runs the One Hood Media Academy where young Black males learn how to use the media to promote positive images of their peers. “At the end of the day, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross are really intelligent. Neither of them are really street guys, they’re playing a character for these White CEOs to make money so that’s really who we have to challenge.”
Read the entire New Pittsburgh Courier article here