July 22 1998
Last week during Bible study we had a powerful lesson that centered around the book of Mathews where Jesus casted out demons. The demons requested to take refuge with some pigs who they then led to death. To some the story symbolized that if you are a pig or behave in a pig-like [foul] manner you will attract demons. The question came up as to why so many of our young people were attracted to demonic-like people. 2Pac's name was tossed in the mix.
Folks couldn't quite understand why there was so much passion for a guy ran around with the words 'Thug Life' tattooed across his stomach. 2Pac was known for his violent behavior and his constant association with some sort of trouble. He was accussed of causing a disturbance in Marin City which resulted in a six year old kid getting shot to death. He went to jail for sexual assault. He carried guns and was not afraid to use them. Heck he once shot two off duty cops. For the most part he lived and died violently so why the attraction? Why were kids crying hysterically when he died? Why does his poster hang on the walls in many a kids' rooms? Why are classes that study his music and life are being taught on several college campuses? Was 2Pac and his fellow 'gangsta rappers' with their constant glamorization of street life serving the role of demons and leading our kids to death? 2Pac has taken on a legendary status. You often hear people refer to him as a leader who sacrificed and died for his people. How did 2Pac reach such heights?
Having done a number of radio shows on this topic, one of the constant things you hear being said about 2Pac is that 'he was real and he was fearless'. 'He was real while so many other people were fake.. You knew about his trials and tribulations.. You knew his momma was a crack addict who had several kids with different daddies. You knew he hated his father. You knew he was hurting and you knew he was angry. 2Pac pulled no punches and he exuded a passion that touched a lot of folks. His honesty and candidness was appreciated. For better or for worse 2Pac became a hero because so many of us adults stopped doing the job meaning that let the 2Pacs of the world get to our kids while sat back and did very little to stop him. I often ask this question. 'It's 10 o'clock.. Do you know who's talking to your kids?' Is it me on the radio? Is it 2Pac in a video? Is the drug dealer down the street? Or is the play station in the living room?
2Pac being a hero represents a bigger picture. The fact that he's more known and admired then Malcolm X, Martin Luther King or Jesse Jackson says we all gotta step up our game. Who is winning the hearts, souls and minds of our kids and why? An exercise I like doing when I speak to young people is asking them who their top 5 heroes are? What I found is that most never mention their parents or some other family member. I gotta wonder about that. I often hear names like Usher, The Spice Girls, Michael Jordan etc. Even more disturbing is a lot of kids don't have any heroes. Maybe I'm unique but when I was growing up my mom, my godmother and two of my cousins were my heroes.
One thing that has become apparent is the fact that so many of us never bothered to have heartfelt exchanges with young folks to see what sort of messages they were picking up from their heroes. Do they want to get tattoos like 2Pac and mimic his videos where he has bikini clad women fawning over him? Do they admire his violent ways and figure that's the way to handle problems? Did they pick up on his intelligence and brilliance as a writer? Or was he just a good looking guy who made great music? A lot of kids picked up 2Pac's good side.. But a good amount admired and strived to emulate his fearless-take no prisoners persona. They see 2Pac as the ultimate street soldier..
Who are your kids heroes? Is it 2Pac, Usher, The Spice Girls? Do they wanna dress provocatively with their breast hanging out and get their tongues pierced like Ginger Spice? Todays pop icons aren't so innocent. You got little kids who are 5 years old who know how to bump and grind and little boys who wanna pull down their pants like Usher and the guys from Jodeci. I recall attending a Puff Daddy and Mase concert that was packed with young kids who made them heroes. After listening to Puff encourage the audience to 'Yell F-- You Bitch' and 'F-- You Nigga'.. I had to wonder how many of our kids were gonna go home and be like Puff?
If your child is under 10, why aren't you or some other family member one of their heroes? I don't ask this question to point fingers anything like that.. But our kids are in trouble. All sorts of demons are fighting to possess their hearts, minds and souls. Ask who their heroes are..and if they're the wrong type of heroes be sure to step up and counter that. All of us have responsibility to protect the youth from harmful influences. Even if don't have kids of our own we can still strive to create better conditions entertainers and rap stars aren't more of an influence then the teachers and preachers in our children's lives...
Let me know what you think...
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