(FinalCall.com) – A recent quote by rap star Ja Rule sums up the tragedy, not only of the senseless murder of Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell, but of the overwhelming incidents of violence in the Black community.
Describing why concerns about his safety have grown with his fame, he said: “It’s sad, because that feeling is mainly towards my Black people. When my White fans come around, I don’t feel uneasy, like they want to harm me. But when I’m around a whole group of Black people, a defense comes on. That’s the tragedy of this.”
Several years ago, even the Rev. Jesse Jackson confessed of feeling afraid and how his heart raced when he heard footsteps behind him while walking down a dark street only to feel relief when he saw that it was a White person walking past instead of a Black man.
The violence in our community must cease. We must no longer search for blame outside of our community. We must blame ourselves and do something about it.
Yes, self-hatred was nursed into us through our slave experience, but we have also had giants–men and women–who marched through history trying to wean us out of self-hatred and into self-love.
The murder of Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell by all accounts was perpetrated by men of color. Men of color gunned down Tupac and Biggie. Other rappers whose star did not rise as high as Tupac and Biggie also have died at the hands of Black men.
But unlike many of these young men who have been killed that had a “gangsta” rap persona, Jam Master Jay was described as “one of the good ones.”
Indeed, Jam Master Jay was determined to stay in his community and give something back. He died while in his studio which was located in his neighborhood. And he didn’t make a token donation to a needy cause once a year; he gave continuously.
The media already has used the murder to imply that Jam Master’s death perhaps was linked to a new East Coast, West Coast feud. Our rap community should not allow itself to feed on such allegations that are only meant to spark new violence among rappers.
Rap has been allowed to denigrate from party/dance and message mediums to gangsta and drug glorifying mediums; the image of the dangerous and expendable Black male has been allowed to be perpetuated around the globe through rap images. These are old stereotypes in modern garb. But the point is these stereotypes never go away because we won’t let them. We fall into these traps that allow the Black image to remain negative.
In another article in this issue of The Final Call, rap activist Sister Souljah describes how while overseas she was treated like a “freak” because those are the images of Black women that people around the world see–IN RAP VIDEOS!
That means all of our mothers, sisters, daughters and nieces are viewed as objects of sex who are ready and willing to be denigrated. That is not how Black women–the strongest, most courageous women on the planet–deserve to be viewed!
Gangsta rap is all about this glorification of wealth and materialism, but the fact of the matter is that most rappers are broke. Even the most popular ones don’t have as much cash as it appears. They are not millionaires.
Yet, many of our young brothers and sisters on the Mother continent Africa want to be gangsta rappers because of the materialism, sexism, hard core thugism that they see perpetuated. What would happen if our rappers started sending a message through their music to our young brothers and sisters abroad that they should get busy and gain control of the vast wealth beneath their feet?
And instead of looking to Europe or the United States for aid, they could aid themselves. Suppose that message talked about setting up dialogue among rappers in the U.S. and entertainers and politicians in Africa to discuss how to set up trade linkages with Black America. Suppose rap music got back to inspiring pride among one another and teaching Blacks in America about their link to Africa?
Instead of glorifying cognac and another man’s corporate tennis shoes, what would happen if rappers started talking about Hip Hop Oil Company with oil from their counterparts in Nigeria and Hip Hop Airlines with direct links to every African capital?
This is not a pipe dream. America didn’t start out with airlines to every European capital. White people envisioned it and made it a reality.
Hip hop has the attention of the world, but our brothers and sisters in the industry are not taking advantage of it the way they should and could because of their limited world vision.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan coined the phrase: “Whoever gives you the diameter of your knowledge, prescribes the circumference of your activity.”
The diameter of our knowledge has been given to us by the very people who enslaved us and continue to control our activities through mis-education and manipulation. Unless we tap into an outside source for knowledge, a God source, we will continue to operate in the sphere of this satanic world order.
Again, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in an article printed in The Final Call shortly after the death of Tupac, admonished rappers that: “Managers and agents have a tremendous responsibility to those whom they handle; not just to book them and get as much money from them as possible, but to be a help to them in their personal lives that they may continue to grow in character and greatness as they manifest the greatness of their gifts.
“The problem here is that managers and agents are also lacking in the vital spiritual development that would allow them to be good mentors (good shepherds) to the young people under their influence.”
Jam Master Jay was the kind of DJ/manager who had a broader vision. He wanted to be a good shepherd to the young people under his influence. But there are many, many unscrupulous managers and agents who don’t necessarily care about the talent or the Black community as long as the artists continue to deliver.
Would gangsta rap be allowed to exist in its present state–with its misogyny, language of violence and glorification of gangsterism–if it were a White or Jewish thing and producing the violence that it produces in the Black community? Would it be allowed to go around the world and stereotype those communities as it does the Black community?
Then why do we participate in our own self-destruction?
Our young entertainers are one of Black America’s greatest commodities. We must cultivate and nurture it just as we would if it were gold or oil, because it is. It is our wealth; they are our children.
Let Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell’s unfortunate death be a turning point for the hip hop world and Black people. Let’s stop threatening one another in our lyrics. Let’s stop parading our women before the world in undignified clothes. Let’s stop the violence and do something positive and uplifting for ourselves.
That’s what Jason “Jam Master Jay” Mizell lived for.