Straight Outta Prejudice: Media & Hip Hop Meet Again

As a hip hop fan, I am sad to admit that I have learned to lower my expectations when it comes to the big screen. I am unfortunately used to low-budget music biopics or dance movies designed for a teen audience with cheesy lines and mediocre acting.

So when I decided to check out Straight Outta Compton – the film recounting the rise of legendary rap band N.W.A and its prominent members Eazy E, Dr Dre and Ice Cube – I only expected a good soundtrack and a polished story about the geniuses who gifted the world with “Fuck Tha Police.”

I guess I underestimated the refreshing talent of the cast portraying the rappers we all know, and the director’s bold decision to let LAPD’s infamous early 90s practices resonate with the police brutality crisis that America is currently facing.

Ironically, CNN was more prepared for the intense content of the movie than me. So prepared that the network not only expected violent scenes in theaters across the nation, but seemed truly disappointed by the riots that failed to erupt.

This segment leaves me with so many questions. Because the movie contains violent scenes that hit a nerve, we should expect violent behaviors from viewers? In that case, let’s consider deploying security for the next Tarantino! But even if we followed this bizarre logic, why would people affected by racial tensions express their frustration while watching a movie that actually backs their opinion? And while we are on the subject, do I really need to remind the ethnicity of the last two shooters who brought chaos in movie theaters? I didn’t think so.

In the end, I am not shocked that CNN assumed the movie would cause violence. It’s just a reflection of the constant misrepresentation of certain communities and cultures in the media. Scorsese’s depiction of savagery in Gangs Of New York is an artistic interpretation of History, but Straight Outta Compton is an invitation to rebellion, right? Again, not surprised.

But for the media to be astonished by the million of dollars that Straight Outta Compton is generating just shows how disconnected journalists are from reality. If only their job was to report the news! Why, in 2015, does it still feel like the mainstream media is just being introduced to hip hop? Have they not done their research about N.W.A and the 10 Million copies sold in the country? Maybe they suffer amnesia. But where were they last week, when Drake became the only artist with a platinum album this year? Have they not heard of the overwhelming success of TV shows like Empire?

It’s sad to see that hip hop is never good enough for the media to recognize its global influence and power. I just hope to see the day when this culture no longer suffers the negative treatment from those I’m going to start calling journalists with attitude.

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How Nicki Minaj’s Booty Started A Juicy Debate

If there is one thing that America loves, it’s a good ol’ scandal. Put race and a butt in the middle, and you get the buzz of the month!

Nicki Minaj is currently under fire for releasing the very racy art cover of her latest single “Anaconda.” From social media to online publications and even national news, everyone seemed outraged by the rapper for posing in a pink thong, leaving close to nothing to the imagination.

nicki anaconda

How was this exactly shocking news, when the show business industry has clearly made it a rule for entertainers to go naked or go home? This is the very question that Nicki took to her Instagram. For the first lady of rap, the nature of the controversy was strictly racial and she posted recent magazine covers to make her point.

Sports Illustrated

When white supermodels bare their booties for the world to see, it’s acceptable. When Nicki flaunts hers, it’s a massive attack. The rapper thinks society’s tendancy to hypersexualize black women is to blame. To her point, black women have been misrepresented in the media for centuries, and rarely portrayed as anything other than sexual objects. While she is bringing a crucial and usually silenced issue to light, is Nicki’s argument really relevant here?

Compared to the daily dose of female body images I am exposed to as a Millennial, the Anaconda art cover isn’t too different. But it does bother me more. Why? Because I do hold music – and especially hip-hop – to a higher standard than fashion. I don’t expect to be intellectually stimulated when I grab a magazine, but I do when it comes to music. That’s what the “Bootygate” scandal should be about. If the chorus of a song is “Oh my Gosh, look at her butt!” then what do you expect the visual to be?

The source of the problem is the content of the music, which is what Nicki Minaj, sadly, won’t take responsibility for. Like pioneer female rapper MC Lyte recently pointed out when asked how could hip hop be more substantial: “It would sound a little bit more realistic. It would be more reflective of the struggle that’s actually happening. It would be the reporting of truth. And right now, it’s a big party.”

If Nicki is going to compare the uproar her Ananconda cover caused to anything, why not mentioning Lady Gaga’s latest single cover instead of women that have nothing to do with the music industry?

gaga single

In that case, Minaj’s argument would be more powerful: it does seem like we are given free ratchet passes to white female artists. Her peer Iggy Azalea, who interestingly just dropped the teaser of the J-Lo remix “Booty,” is the perfect example.

But whether the raciness is served by a black or a white female rapper, the truth is hip hop lovers like myself are over it. We want to be lyrically challenged. Nicki Minaj may be the queen of punch lines, but the day of a punch song about something other than her booty (implants) is long overdue.

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10 Dos And Don’ts For Foreigners In The USA

To avoid any awkwardness when you are a foreigner moving to the US or simply visiting, it’s better to be slightly prepared. While some of the things you would never consider doing in your home country are totally OK here, others that seem normal can be weird to Americans.

Here are my top 10 Dos and Don’ts that should help you fit in:

 

#1 Smoking In Public: DON’T

funny-gif-chandler-quit-smokingIn the rest of the world, non-smokers apologize for not having a lighter, in the US they make smokers apologize for existing.

#2 Correcting Americans’ pronunciation of foreign words: DO

tumblr_mh1k7zrCpu1rhczg2o1_500Americans will let you know when your English sounds off, plus they need to start taking foreign languages seriously!

#3 Kissing someone you just met on the cheek: DON’T

hug scandalThe ultimate greeting rules should always be: hand shake someone you just met, hug someone you know, and kiss someone you love.

#4 Talking about how food tastes better outside of the USA: DO

macaronBecause nobody should think that grapes or oranges naturally grow without seeds.

#5 Talking about religion with people you barely know: DON’T

mirandavirginmaryIn a country where everyone is easily offended, religion is not the best icebreaker.

#6 Wearing workout clothes when you don’t actually work out: DO

jloIt may not look as good as on J-Lo…but it’s totally accepted!

#7 Using slur words because you heard them in rap songs: DON’T

kanyeJust because you heard them on the radio doesn’t mean they are appropriate or don’t have a strong significance.

#8 Tipping even if the service was bad: DO
scarlettwaitress
In most countries, you tip because you enjoyed the service. Here, you tip because it’s all the money waiters make.
#9  Eating dessert at every meal: DON’T
donut
Dessert after lunch is not a thing in the US, skipping it should save you from +1 kilo a month rule.

10# Ask About People’s Day: DO

joey_how_you_doinStrangers asking how my day went used to feel like an invasion of my privacy, now I find them rude when they don’t.

 

Can you think of other Dos and Don’ts?

 

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