We took a break from rehearsal today to discuss an important challenge that we deal with every day: the negative portrayal of black youth. So where does this portrayal come from and how can we overcome it? This weekend we brought in an expert on the subject, who we all know as Baba Ben. His name is Ben Ore Israel and he was kind enough to write this post summarizing our open discussion about the negative images of black youth.
By Ben Ore Israel
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Who is Curtis Jackson? Most people think the person known as 50 cent, born Curtis Jackson, is a heartless, brutal, drug and alcohol abusing thug. Few see him as a opportunistic entrepreneur who created success after hardships of never knowing his father, his mother being killed when he was eight, being arrested at age 15 for drug possession, and being shot nine times at point blank range. Turning lemons into lemonade doesn’t quite explain his story; it’s more like turning lemons into a lemonade multinational company that is branded and shipped around the world.
With this feel good story comes the negative images 50 cent and his fellow rappers have perpetuated of black youth around the world. This negative portrayal of our children has, as TYA Team Manager Ylynne Brown stated, ”made us disrespectful, subconsciously” to our parents, peers, and complete strangers. As a group, we discussed the aspect of disrespect within our modern culture. From this discussion of the culture of disrespect, a devolution of ghetto mentality and behavior was brought to the forefront to help us see how we are perceived by others and ourselves and the corresponding results can be anywhere from bullying or joaning, to murder (i.e. Trayvon Martin).
Click on www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVFY1Dm28DI to see the Piers Morgan interview with 50 cent.
Ben Ore Israel