Friday, August 11, 2006

Yung Joc -- Leader in The 'Hood ?????

While I am not for censorship, and believe anyone should be able to produce the "art" they want, I question the value of having a rap artist visit young people about being "leaders of the 'hood", when his lyrics are full of the things that keep people from being leaders of the 'hood.

Consider the song "It's Goin' Down", which he used as music for a dance contest for these young kids. From reading the lyrics, it appears to be your typical rap boast, which became tired about 1987, full of talk of hoes, cash, pistols, and the N word and a few MFs to boot.

I once heard a woman who ran a drug education organization asked why she didn't use celebrities as spokespeople. She mentioned that as soon as you do, that same person gets into trouble that basically obliterates the message they were trying to send. While it's admirable for anyone to want to help inner city youth, it's also naive to think that he's not sending a mixed message, and that his tossing of five dollar bills glamourizes a lifestyle that probably nobody there will obtain. Of course, 18 year old Jacinta Sloan says that much more elegantly than I can in the article below.

Rapper takes time out to meet with youth
By Jessie Halladay
The Courier-Journal

About 100 young people spent nearly two hours squirming on the bleachers of the Presbyterian Community Center as they waited for rap artist Yung Joc.

Finally, a high-pitched scream erupted as he entered the gym.

The rapper from Atlanta was in Louisville Thursday performing at Headliners Music Hall, but after stopping at several radio stations in the afternoon he took a few minutes to talk with young people at the community center on Hancock Street near the Sheppard Square public housing complex.

Yung Joc told the children about how he lost seven friends to violence in 2004. He warned the kids to stay off the streets.

“Y’all got to be the leaders of the ’hood,” Yung Joc told the excited crowd. “Life is too precious. You got one time to do it. Make the most of it.”

After speaking, he held a dance contest, handing out $5 bills to some of the children who danced to his hit song, “It’s Goin’ Down.”

Watching them, he said, “It brightens my day. It means love.”

He said several appearances and the rain kept him from getting to the gym earlier but said he thinks it’s important to get out and talk to young people.

She’nique Jackson, 11, waited patiently for the rapper to appear, hoping he would have a good message for youngsters.

She wasn’t disappointed when he walked through the door.

“He’s a good person who’s not only trying to make money but also trying to help kids,” She’nique said.

Jacinta Sloan, 18, waited for Yung Joc hoping to get a picture or an autograph but had to settle for a quick hug. While she said it was a big deal for a celebrity to come to a public housing neighborhood, she was disappointed.

“It’s just words,” she said. “You can’t make people change just by talking to them. People can relate to what he said, but I don’t know that it’s going to make a difference.”

Reporter Jessie Halladay can be reached at (502) 582-4081.

No comments: