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The World In Black & Yellow

What Gangsta Culture Says About Black America

The Relevance of Physical Signs

There’s a lot we can do in private, in quiet, in silence, in our prayer closet, our secret room. But inner convictions manifest themselves as outward, physical signs. Just as God required a physical sign of obedience for His judgment to pass over the children of Israel (Exodus 12), Satan requires an outward expression of an inner conviction. The man difference being an inner conviction to God requires a conscious acknowledgement of and submission to Him and His righteousness. Loyalty to Satan can be achieved even if the loyalist scoffs at or denies Satan’s very existence. In other words, you don’t need to believe in the devil to be owned, lock stock and boxer drawers by him. Dismiss this teaching as reactionary or extreme, the truth is you are either with God or not with God, and your choice will manifest itself outwardly in physical signs.

Just as God protected the Hebrews living amongst the Egyptians during the devastation of the first 9 plagues, the physical sign of obedience written in blood caused the destroyer to pass over His People. Every first born in Egypt died that night, both man and beast, including Pharaoh’s son.

Why Sons are So Important

Despite modern attempts at gender neutrality, the bible indeed teaches that man (and, by extension, mankind) was created in God’s image. The male of the species was created first. This is not intended as sexist argument or rationale to oppress women, but to make the point of the enemy’s pure hatred for God’s creation. Biblical scholars as well as secular scientists point toward the African continent as the likely origin of human beings. Like my point about the male creation, this statement is not about race or even racism, but to make this supposition: what if the black male was, in fact, the first of God’s creation? How much moreso would Satan hate and despise the black male? How would that hate manifest itself over the course of history?

If the black male represents the origin of God’s creation, in God’s image, on earth, then Satan would stop at nothing to deceive, mislead and demean the black male; to break him, humiliate him, and, worse, to have him actually defending his own demeaning, shuffling around with his buttocks exposed, as a “social expression.” I submit that, from the dawn of creation, the black male has been a special and favorite target of the enemy of God. That we should suffer in every way imaginable, and that God’s divine purpose for mankind would be corrupted and profaned.

In that view, taking on this rebellious (and ridiculous) look is tantamount to taking the sign of the beast. God does not inspire His people to behave or dress in unseemly ways. Much as I hate to sound like the extremist, reactionary preachers I grew up under, there really is a stark difference between rebellious teens growing afros (which was erroneously preached against back in the day) and teens blaspheming God by layering themselves with occult piercings and symbols and wandering the streets with their buttocks exposed. The only reason we don’t call this what it is—witchcraft—is we’re either too uninformed, too lazy, too selfish, or too weak in Christ to acknowledge the satanic indoctrination of our children—particularly the young black male—that’s going on in plain sight, right before our eyes.

No, this is not a joke. But it should be. A garter belt for ignorant black men, created by an enterprising white man.
Macy's is considering carrying them

For me, when I was a kid, it was simple: no secular music. Period.

And, mind you, the secular music of the day was The Jackson Five—five Jehovah’s Witness boys singing G-rated pop tunes about alphabet letters. The raunchiest lyrics of the day flew well above my radar, interpolations of Otis Redding’s Respect or the Rolling Stones’ (Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Nothing even remotely like the degrading filth that routinely passes for entertainment today. I realize that makes me sound old or out of touch, and perhaps I am guilty of both. But even a child can see music—specifically music targeted to youth (as most pop music is)—has become increasingly depraved over the past decades. I used to scoff at the Footloose mentality of 60’s church folk, railing on against wonderful art like Aretha’s Natural Woman because of its sensuality or taking James Brown to task for his Cold Sweat hedonism. But the sheer unadulterated profaneness of music streaming 24/7 to today’s youth cannot be described any other way. It is occult. This stuff, by any reasonably objective standard, is filth. Evil.

“Wide receiver weezy throw da p-ssy at me. Ya p-ssy lips smilin' I make da p-ssy happy. Take your panties off, the p-ssy lookin at me.” —Lil’ Wayne

“Shut up slut, you're causing too much chaos. Just bend over and take it like a slut, OK Ma? 'Oh, now he's raping his own mother, abusing a whore, snorting coke, and we gave him the Rolling Stone cover?'” —Eminem "Kill You"

“Skeet skeet all up your in your face girl now open your mouth and tell me how I taste, girl. Peaches and cream drippin down our waste girl. Now give it to me. I don't like fake girls she'll be my f--k affairrrrr skeet skeet up in her hairrrrrr. Babyyyy don't be so scaredddd I got a 12 incherrrrr”  —Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz "Get Low"

It's not funny. This stuff is satanic. Antichrist. And Chrysler’s got Eminem selling cars for Pete’s sake. This is the general quality of the sexual and violent imagery regularly invoked by “mainstream” music artists. This is the stuff your kid is listening to, the imagery they are seeing. These are the values they are learning. I suppose what I resent most is the pervasive insistence that this is black culture, that this is mainstream and people who do not embrace it are outside the norm, are somehow defective.

In the overall scheme of things, the cleaned-up version of  Black & Yellow, Wiz Khalifa's homage to his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, is hardly the worst thing in the world. Still, Khalifa--a young, East Coast Lil' Wayne-esque behind-the-beat stylized performer whom I'd never heard of before working on this piece--seems to be a reasonably likeable and almost playful young man. He is nonetheless immersed in false values as he blithely goes about the business of making Atlantic Records rich. Black And Yellow contains the usual litany of braggadocio over material possessions, girls and of course, rap prowess. Missing is any violence or threat thereof, and all the girls are (in this version, at least) fully clothed. Nobody appears to be drinking or smoking dope in the video, but Khalifa himself has posed for the ubiquitous (and tired) dope-exhaling headshot for his much-less positive and less-creative On My Level. He is likewise heavily tatted up and, despite his great wealth, seems to prefer wife beater tees and jeans (which, thankfully, appear to be pulled all the way up). Had Khalifa or his handlers thought to include even one sequence of this young man studying for an exam or, say, going to work, taking care of his home or family or, heck, being responsible in any way at all, I might grant him some grudging applause for at least not being heinous. Then again, the explicit "G-Mix" version, which includes the likewise ubiquitous Snoop Dogg and others, includes the standard array of demeaning cusses, so maybe not. It amazes me that record labels or the acts themselves haven't figured this out: how to rope in parents: just clean up the language and toss in a  few clips of these guys doing positive things--anything at all positive, raking the yard, walking the dog--and their sales would likely double. As is, Khalifa contented himself with the usual partying, huge crowds celebrating him, showing off his bling (a huge nameplate "T.God"), and driving recklessly without a seatbelt. Watching the happy football tailgate song Black And Yellow and the still-born celebration of drugs, sex and alcohol On My Level, I can't help but wonder how amazing and powerful this talented young man might be if he would only turn his gifts over to God. The emptiness at the center of his creative vision is both stark and telling.

Now, clearly, the church is partly to blame.

Far too many of our churches have inexcusably weak and ineffective youth and young adult ministries. Parents, especially busy working single moms, are simply outgunned. Far too many of our churches are run by the Old Hats because middle age and young adults are either too busy or too self-absorbed to measurably involve themselves in the lives of young people. Old Hats tend to be disconnected from youth, envious of youth, resentful of youth. Go over there and play. The worship experience is designed by the Old Hats and run by the Old Hats with their Old Hat mentality. The new trend is to split everybody up—send the children down there, send the teens over to the school auditorium where they can sag and hoop and jump around. But all that does is divide up a family that’s likely far too divided already. As Elder Lewis points out, the hippity-hop youth service does not prepare youth for matriculation into then main worship experience because, in general, the jump-around high-voltage hip-hop service demonstrates a level of contempt for the mainstream service. It, therefore, sets youth on a separate track from adults, rather than to teach and grow and move toward reconciliation. What Elder Lewis does not address is the church’s failure to make their general worship service more inclusive. The demand seems to be to force youth to conform to them, to the Old Hats. The Old Hats rarely move toward the youth and, usually, do so only under protest. This innate selfishness is what destroys faith and trust, young people recognize selfishness when they experience it. The main worship service atmosphere is typically hostile to youth. Therefore, efforts to point them toward that Old Hat experience are themselves intrinsically selfish. What needs to happen is a process of reevaluation and reconciliation: the main worship service becoming more inclusive and culturally diverse. Not hippity-hoppity but not 24/7 Mahalia Jackson, either. Diversity is a difficult challenge because most of us like only one kind of pie. I know of fairly few people whose musical palette extends much beyond whatever rut they’ve grown up in. Adults like R&B. Youth like hip-hop. I know fairly few black youth who enjoy rock music. I know of no white youth who enjoy black Gospel. This is mainly about exposure and patience. The pastor needs to teach patience: the Old Hats need to be patient with youth and vice versa. Over time, this will produce diversity as our cultural palette expands and we stop turning each other off whenever the worship activity shifts away from what we like and are familiar with.

I thought the best part of John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood was how actor Laurence Fishburne, in his pre-Morbius incarnation, existed outside of the prism—or should I say prison—of urban black culture. Fisburnes’s Furious Styles was, as was his Morbius in The Matrix, his own man, his own invention, walking in his own revelation from God at his own pace and in his own direction. Being your own person requires courage, something many of us lack. We desire friends more than identity, community more than individuality. The quietness inside our head can be frightening, even threatening, so we fill every moment of every day with noise and people and events. We are blindfolded and deafened by televisions and iPods, drowning in the newest beats, the latest fashions. Dese dem and doze. Da flava.

Few things drive me to rage quicker than seeing these ignorant teens walking around with their pants sagging and their underwear showing. These young men are emulating and glamorizing prison life, a siege mentality whose social moirés are organized around violence: Recreation under threat of violence. Socialization under threat of violence. Weakness exploited by strength. Emotional bonding under duress. Sexual intimacy contorted by shame, violent sexual exploitation or fear thereof. This is the culture being glamorized by our young men, by your son. It’s not cute. It’s not a fad. It is pathetic and pathological. I Need To Fit In. Validate Me. I Have No Opinion Of My Own. I am Not An Individual. I Have No Intellectual Propensity. Don’t Hire Me.

This phenomena is largely fueled and financed by you, the parent. Yes you. Because you keep paying that cable bill. That internet connection fee. That cell phone bill. If your kid has a job or is slinging dope, there’s not much you can do about any of it. But our young boys, your child who has not yet bought into this, you can get in front of some of that simply by stop being a moron. Forget parental controls—DON’T WATCH TV. PERIOD. This is where they learn these things. This is where they see this behavior accepted as reasonable and normal. If they never saw it on TV, they’d be less likely to simply accept it when they ran into it on the street. The world is feeding your children a steady diet of lies, and you yourself are paying for it. It is the most confounding cultural evolution I’ve ever seen: the utter denigration of a race, paid for by the very race that is being denigrated. You want to improve things for your children? Stop signing those checks. The cause and effect is so obvious, so simple, that it simply astounds me that we have all of these symposiums, all of these conventions, all these speeches, all of these sermons, all these books, parents pulling their hair out, wailing,. Crying out to the Lord. IDIOT: TURN YOUR TV OFF. Stop paying that cable bill. Stop allowing that demonic, antichrist mess in your house.

The bottom line is we are simply cowards.

We fret and worry and complain and toss and turn at night, wring our hands, cry, stomp, fall over—but we are simply unwilling to do what needs to be done. We are lazy and selfish. We have to have the idiot box on day and night, while wondering why our sons and daughters are being so negatively influenced. Mom, Dad, if that’s your son walking around looking like a gay hooker, his pants sagging around his thighs and his nasty drawers exposed to the world, I frankly have no sympathy for you. Every month you sign that check. Every month you load him up with more propaganda, more lies. Deze, dem, doze. Your son looks like an idiot. An idiot selling butt, no less. And you have only yourself to blame.

I am so put off by what passes for black culture in this country, that I find myself screaming for a divorce. People who deal in absolutes assume I want to be white—that this is an either/or proposition. I reject the premise that this ignorance is black culture. This is black denigration, funded by ignorant blacks themselves who create enormous profits for multinational corporations, none of which—none—are owned by majority black stockholders. We are lining the pockets of selfish and untimely evil men and women who, like tobacco pushers, exploit weak-minded individuals for monetary gain. I reject this dress code, this vile “music,” this cussing and prostituting of our sisters. Calling any of that “black culture” offends me because, if you follow the food chain all the way out, you will discover this is a largely invented, created culture. Like monkeys, we see it, we imitate it. The hundreds of billions of dollars this destructive self-loathing produces does not flow into the black community. Not one dime of it. It flows into the pockets of wealthy stockowners many tiers above the “creator-owned” record labels these rappers boast about. Yes, son, you’re getting rich, but the corporate owners so far above you you don’t even now their names are getting far richer. And you’re all making money off the dead souls of young Black America.

Beyond turning off the idiot box, the very best thing you can do for your children is to instill within them a sense of uniqueness. Of singularity. A lot of white churches love to push these useless and typically fruitless virginity pledges—I will Not Have Sex Until I Am Married. What our community desperately needs is an Integrity Pledge. I Will Not Curse. I Will Not Sag My Pants. I Will Learn To Articulate The Language. Every great African American hero, from Frederick Douglass to MLK and Malcolm X to W.E.B. Dubois, Bill Cosby, Maya Angelou to Louis Farrakhan, Barack Obama (yes, I’m using them both in the same sentence), Kwasi Mfune, Julian Bond, Tavis Smiley, Steve Harvey, Jesse Jackson, Michael Eric Dyson, Al Sharpton, Muhammad Ali—the common thread is their individuality. These are all unique persons, each gifted in their own way, each seeing the world their own way. They all have unique style and a command of language that has propelled them beyond their peers and made them stand out beyond accepted social norms.

The accepted social norms of Dr. King’s day were bowed, broken, yassuh Negroes. I can’t begin to imagine the sadness Dr. King might feel to see what we’ve done with the hard-won freedoms granted us by the sacrifices of our fathers: to walk around in public with our underwear showing and call that a “social statement.” This behavior is an echo of the kind of degradation whites routinely forced upon us, and now we actually volunteer for it and defend it as free speech. Municipalities have learned they really can’t legislate against saggy pants. There really is no nudity involved, only acrimony and self-loathing. And, if you look at these knuckleheads, that’s what you see: stooped shoulders, bowed heads, shuffling. Can’t articulate the language. Yassuh.

Fellas: you look like an idiot.

Christopher J. Priest
13 March 2011

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