Barack & Curtis

18 02 2009

Barack & Curtis is in no way intended to create a negative association between Barack Obama and 50 Cent. Anyone who would suggest that mis-understands what my piece is all about. Furthermore, anyone who uses Barack & Curtis to smear Barack Obama in any way, is either ignorant, or morally bankrupt. In no way do I want to damage Barack Obama’s historic presidential campaign. In no way am I suggesting that Barack Obama is down with G-Unit or is a gangsta rapper cleverly disguised as a presidential candidate. Neither is Barack & Curtis intended to glorify 50 Cent. Instead, the piece is my attempt to humanize 50 Cent, examine two very different Black men who express their masculinity in two very different ways, and who took two very different paths to achieve manhood, power, and respect.

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One response

18 02 2009
Lauren

Wow, that piece carries some powerful points. Some people are pessimistic about Barack’s election, citing that one man cannot change the world, irrespective of his colour. Some even have the nerve to suggest his colour is irrelevant. Those people must be reminded of the prevalent images representing black male masculinity and must be mindful of how damaging and discrediting those images can be; although 50 “Get’s Money”, his respect is based upon a pervasive attitude to women, glorification of violence and an unabashed materialism (although one brother cleverly noted in this piece that there is a direct correlation between this image and that of the white male ideology of power, so black brothers should not shoulder these negative labels alone).
Now the media has a new subject to focus on, a black man of intelligence who carries himself with a simple dignity, a black man who speaks life and liberation as opposed to death and destruction. I’m sure he’s not perfect, but he represents positivity. He is not the first great black leader in existence, but he is the first great black male leader with universal appeal based upon integrity and a sincere desire and motivation to create positive change. Martin Luther King Jr. did his thing, but his campaign was firstly Christian, and also negligent of women and homosexuals, therefore making it exclusive in some regards. Obama is lobbying for equality for EVERYONE! He’s reppin’ the GLOBE, a true world citizen. On the subject of masculinity, his presence in the media is important as he provides an alternative example for young black men who are looking to emulate a male role model in the absence of immediate male role models in their lives and, equally if not more importantly, he prepares the next generation to believe they can do anything; the children, who haven’t yet been conditioned into expecting to underachieve can see a black President and absorb this image as commonplace, allowing them to walk straight past the barriers that we have been trained to stay behind.
I’m a big fan of Hip Hop; rap is truly my first musical love. But as a young black woman I was able to leave my Mobb Deep days behind without assuming the demeanor of the artists; for some young black men trying to find themselves, it’s not so easy to divorce fantasy from reality when the tellers of these hip-hop hood tales look like them and face similar struggles of varying degrees, and when artists like 50 manage to make commercial gangsterdom pay, that lifestyle becomes all the more rewarding.
Men, if your listening, I want you to know that you are beautiful, capable, talented, strong, full of potential and allowed to be human. Nobody gets it right all the time, you just need to make sure you KNOW what is right and try your best to achieve that. Don’t let the TV tell you who you are.
It’s not my place dis 50 or demonise him in Obama’s shadow, but if I had to choose one of these men for my unborn children to look up to, it wouldn’t be the one in the platinum chain.

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