Hip Hop Commentary

Myth of the Great Black Pimp
by Adissa Banjoko

So much of Hip Hop culture is surrounded by pimping. Despite the fact that Hip Hop is international now, the life blood of this art comes from the minds and souls of African American culture. So, in many ways we (African Americans) are responsible for what Hip Hop becomes and the imagery that comes with it. Right now, this idea of pimp culture permeates Hip Hop. I feel that it is one of the many dangerous myths that people in the Hip Hop community world wide buy into. The newest wave of pimp culture is a disrespect to women world wide of all races and cultures and it is also a by product of Black fear in America. So, lets cut to the chase.

How does one become a pimp? Being a pimp relies on mastering the minds of women. I'm not talking about strong willed women with a firm spiritual base. I'm talking about scared,confused, vulnerable, financially unstable women with low concepts of self. How much talent does it take to manipulate a woman with those characteristics? It boggles me how mastering the mind of a weak woman seems so impressive to other men.

The truth of the matter is that pimps, in all reality are very creative thinkers. They are fluid speakers and they have the gift to see into peoples minds. Yet they are in truth, cowards. Why do I say this? Because coward by definition means "One who shows ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain". So what do pimps fear? What would cause them danger or pain? Dealing with the American system, and dealing with other men causes pimps psychological fear.

They cannot deal with strong men. So, they prey on weak women. What admirable talent is there in that? If you called yourself a hunter, but you could only catch wounded birds, who would look up to you? These men hunt spiritually, mentally and physically abused women. Therefore, a pimps "mastery" over their women means nothing. Imagine if these brothers used their gifts of speech and their understanding of human nature for a higher purpose in the hood?

Again I say that pimps are men who cannot deal in the American system. They are afraid to fight against it. The sad part is, they have the talent, skillz and the ability to do so. So why aren't they turning the tables and hustling a system that often hustles them? For example, many Hip Hop artists from KRS-One to Ice T have described the music business as a 'pimp and ho' system. They have decried the fact that record labels historically have beaten or 'pimped' Black artists out of all their money. Such happenings still take place today. Artists like Chuck D have pointed out that anywhere from 80-85% of today's artists are in serious debt to their parent labels and despite what is shown on TV and described in songs it's a totally different thing behind the scenes. Record contracts still offer up the traditional (90% [label]-10% [artist] split). Hardly any artists have the final say so to dictate what will or will not be played on their local radio station or video outlets. Yet we're in a day and time where everyone is a pimp. Isn't it ironic? Our pimping is limited to exploiting women and not fighting back
and system that pimps us.

They won't do the homework it takes to succeed like Marcus Garvey. They lack the fearless courage and discipline of Malcolm X. They do not have the desire to uplift those with broken souls like Frederick Douglass. Confronting the source of their ghetto lifestyle is too hard to do. It takes serious courage, research and strategy to be a successful Black man in America. In fact, pimping IS EASY. Anytime I hear a Black man say he wants to be a pimp, what he is really saying is "I can't deal with this system and I am too afraid to confront my oppressor".

You know what they call it when a man uses his brain to have other men pay him for things? Business!! These pimps are afraid to be true businessmen.

Ironically, many of today's newest generation of pimps were born just about the time Malcolm X died. It is no coincidence that with the fear the savage murders of Malcolm X and MLK Jr. put in the minds and hearts of Black America, pimp culture reached it's highest heights. It was shortly after the civil rights movement fell apart that brothers started pimping HARDER than ever. The rise of pimp culture was further glamorized in film and music industries like never before (until now). They call this genera of movies "BLAXSPLOITATION", for a reason. Because Black America was being openly and eagerly exploited.

Black America was tired of fighting with their white oppressors and on top of that were SCARED to fight back. The F.B.I.'s COINTELPRO orchestrated assassination and imprisonment of our most courageous soldiers like Bobby Hutton, Fred Hampton, Geronimo Pratt and others left us "shook" as a people.

Many young Black males, out of ignorance and fear turned to pimping. They did not have an understanding of themselves as Black men, and were afraid to take on the American system (which they also did not understand). Now, I will not sit up here and say that pimping is only a Black problem. All people from all nations of the world have engaged with pimping since the dawn of time. But, the truth is that when most people in America and around the world think of a pimp- they think of a Black man.

Outside of that stereotype, as an African American man, I feel it is important that we erase the culture of pimping as much as we can from the Black community. African American women deserve better than this (all women deserve better than this!). We (Black men) owe our sisters better than this legacy. How do we look to the rest of the world when we still engage in "the worlds oldest profession", while the rest of the planet is talking about wireless communication, international space stations and Internet infrastructure?

Too many young men and women from all walks of life are being distracted from the real roots of success in life through Hip Hop "pimp game". The truth of the matter is, that pimps are the only one's in "the game". The rest of the world ain't playin'. Most other people of this world take life very seriously and continue to move swiftly forward in terms of technology, culture and business. I hope America's true pimps and wanna be pimps find the courage in themselves and in God, to step away from the Black pimp myth, and become the real Black man they were born to be. We need your minds for a greater cause.

This article may have stepped on some toes and rubbed some Hip Hop 'pimps' the wrong way, but this is an issue we can no longer sweep under the rug. As men we have to honestly discuss this trend of 'pimping' our women on video and on wax. Explain to me how pimping is helping Hip Hop? How is this helping us as Black people? Holla back at me and enlighten me so we can build. Why pimp when we're being pimped?



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