Kanye West, crazy or crazy genius?









  I am sure we have all had our share of Kanye West. From his temper tantrums about not winning “well deserved” awards to him stealing Taylor Swifts spotlight. I must remind you though of a Kayne West most of us once admired. The fresh new,coming from behind the scene making beats Kanye that was ready to change the world. Well, not he is not still changing the world, but this was in a better light. “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” Kanye is whom I am referring too. “Jesus Walks” is the Kanye I am referring too. Okay, since I have now brought you up to par, I would like to discuss the clothing that bare the confederate flag, that he is currently selling at his shows. Many concert goers have been angered and totally lost by this concept of Kanye selling racist gear at his shows or anywhere else. I on the other hand thinks it is a wonderful marketing plan of ingenuity. You see Kanye’s album Yeezus has a few songs that push the envelope. The entire album is dedicated to racism but is a fashion sense. Does that take away from the very meaning of racism? No. With songs like Black Skinhead, Blood on the Leaves, and New Slaves it almost clarifies the reason behind the Confederate flag on the  clothing.

Kanye West was born in Atlanta, GA. to a to a former Black Panther father, who was also one of the first photojournalist for the Atlanta Journal- Constitution. As well as a mother who had he doctorate in English and a professor at Clark Atlanta University. With parents having those credentials, is the a wonder why Kanye is so out spoken and confident? West is not a stranger to racism by any means and with wisdom comes sorrow. With his up bringing, racism, raised and the south side of Chicago where black on black crime is prevalent, I can more understand his “coming out swinging” attitude. I once read that at age 08 his mom took a job in China teaching and Kanye mentioned how his classmates would ask to touch his skin because they never saw a black person. Back to the subject, Kanye received a lot of backlash for this particular album because of his relationship with Kim K. He was looked upon as fake because here you are rapping about “black struggles” but yet you impregnate Kim K. Instead of the people taking his music seriously, they rejected his lessons. The motivation behind the album was the insults he had received from a few fashion designers he had once looked up. They discredited his  new line of clothes in a racist kind of way. Kanye mentioned that black people were still enslaved due to the desire to have the most expensive hottest selling appeal even if it meant selling your soul for it. He feels that we are still picking cotton but this time not in it’s raw form but by the finished product, clothing. The album is well worth listening to especially the one called Blood on the Leaves with the Nina Simone’s 1965 rendition of Strange Fruit.http://yourlisten.com/iTTi/blood-on-the-leaves




   “Making Easy Money Pimpin Hoes In Style” is what Memphis “Ten-a-ki” is suppose to stand for. Oh, my bad. What is “Ten-a-ki” you say? Besides standing for Tennessee, it also the supposed ten thousand dollar price per kilogram if purchased in Memphis. Which is not true because the going price for a kilo of coke is about $36,000. Well, that’s what I heard it cost. There is no way for me to possibly know that, cough cough. But on a more serious note, living in a city whose name is an acronym for prostitution and drug dealing, sounds like a very serious problem. There is a known hip hop artist from New York city who liked the name so much he claimed it as his own, Memphis Bleek. I guess he is no different than every other out- of- towner that came and stole from our home grown culture. From what I understand the word pimpin does not necessarily mean prostitution. Pimpin can be used as a general term such as, gaining something for a little of nothing. There is a more positive meaning, like when one is in a situation and they are being treated wrong or unjust and instead of behaving abruptly, they “keep it pimpin” which means keeping emotions intact and under control. Although pimpin is a way of life for some, I have always felt it may have originated in the South as far as African Americans are concerned.

  Okay, this is how I see it. During the Great Migration, when about 6 million blacks left the rural South and headed North, West, East, etc.,not everybody was able to find jobs. Therefore, one of the oldest profession was in service. I know I am reaching right now but by the way Bishop Don Magic Juan dresses….he gotta be from the South. Country is, what country does. With that being said, we have Oscar Award winning Three 6 “Hard Out Here For a Pimp”, Hustle and Flow movie, and must I not forget, the local legendary King of Clubs Danny Owens. There is no proof for what I am writing but it kind of makes since if you think about it.

  Not everybody knows those street terms of the representation of M.E.M.P.H.I.S mean but for those that do, do you think that name has a correct meaning? I do not personally know any pimps or prostitutes, nor drug dealer, so I guess that does not represent my Memphis. I sometimes wonder if these type names have put a curse on the city. If life and death is in the power of the tongue, “I rebuke the dark cloud over my city”. Martin Luther King was assassinated, Elvis Presley over dosed here, Nathan Bedford Forest is celebrated here, Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr lost their title here, but that is still not enough gloom to shut the city down.  While poverty rules here, high crime rates sky rocket, well I WAS suppose to be uplifting the city so on that note, Memphis is known for more Rich history than it is truley given. And  although I just put alot of not so good news out there, it’s all about how you look at it.  Just understand that just every city, town or countryside wants to be known for something. Whether it be a shameful reminder or one to brag on, everybody wants to be heard.

Only in the South

Have you ever seen the yard statue of the little black lawn jockey? You know the one with the red hat and red vest? Oh, I mustn’t forget to point out the red lips which guarantees to assure you of his “blackness”. The lawn jockey would probably have on his face and hand, the blackest paint in history to help stand out against his “Lilly white” shirt and pants. Well as a child I would only see these type lawn statues while visiting family in the south. I had never seen those little guys in the Chicago where we lived at the time. Though I never asked my parents what the black lawn jockeys stood for, I had made up in my young mind that they represented some form of racism, slavery perhaps. To be honest, this is the first time I have questioned the little men in my adulthood. The black lawn jockeys are a rarity  in this day. You may find him in an antique shop or all white and not painted at all. When I began my search for information, I started by typing “black lawn jockey” on the Google website. Low and behold all the information that popped up. Legend has it that a little black boy by the name of Jocko Graves, was General George Washington stable boy who wanted to help out in the war. Being too young though, Washington and his men needed to go across the Delaware River so he agreed to let lil Jocko hold the horses and lantern. Well, Washington and his men took a tad bit longer than expected. When they returned, loyal Jocko was frozen stiff still holding the lantern and the horses. General Washington was so hurt that when he made it home, he immediately had a statue built in the remembrance of Jocko and he even had some sculpted for his friends. I even read a story where Jocko the lawn jockey was used during the underground railroad to let the slaves know if it were safe for them to stop by or not according to the direction he was turned or if a ribbon was wrapped around his arm. If these stories are true then Jocko Graves needs his place in history instead of a place in the yard where unsuspecting people could assume the worst. With that being said, if the statue was so noble, why paint Jocko in such a derogatory light? Maybe we can hold a candle light vigil at Nathan Bedford Forrest Park and place little Jockos around the park? Only in the South would we celebrate a young boys misfortune and death with an awkward looking lawn statue but build an even better story of how he came about. Well, maybe its not only in the South, but this is what I have witnessed. Legend or b.s,the world may never know. Good try though.