Letters To The Editor-June '98

Get Yo' Pimp On

These letters are in resposne to an editorial about Nike shoe company pimpin' young Black kids from the hood..
It's entitled 'Get Yo' Pimp On'

You went and told the truth and laid it out flat. I go to Spelman and Lord knows that the Atlanta University Center (AUC) is a particular haven where I have come to be well acquainted with a population of individuals who spend time cemented to certain see-me spots while they try to "get/give a ring in spring." It is so frustrating to live in an environment that is a perpetual fashion show. I went to an "elite boarding school for girls" (as it is always touted) where people like to assume I encountered the like but I did not. Everyone there dressed the same. Whatever you slept in is what you rolled out of bed to go to class in. I didn't know that three years in the AUC has left me tired of people thinking that they got it all figured out just because they spend this and that amount of money and walk around all day with big ass Tommy Hilfiger splashed across their clothing. It was there that I began to notice unofficial dress codes which caused me to question/wonder about my own. Has Michael Jordan ever said anything about the phenomenon over his shoes on any level? Personally, I always enjoy the look on people's faces when I ask them if they know how much it cost to make the shoes they carefully wear on their feet. I just cannot understand giving someone else consistent free advertisement and making them richer when they don't give a damn about me. Some people are truly dedicated to their wardrobe and specific designers and not other things like intelligence and personality, as you mentioned. There is so much more out there to engage in and there are so many more people to emulate in terms of personal platforms. I'm sorry but was there some kind of announcement that I missed where Nike and others agreed to pay off college tuition?

It's hilarious how Polo and other such companies advertise in Vibe (which annoys me greatly but anyway...) and it looks like everyone cares about evryone else because they tossed in a black guy or a black woman. But when flipping through magazines like Vanity Fair the accomodating multi-culty edge is gone in favor of catering to the more traditional/original image that disregards the presence of people of color.

My friends and I have wild grand plans to turn the AUC upside down when we return for our upcoming senior year and reverse the apathy but we always wonder how we can do it without being hypocritical or without alienating people and sounding like we are superior (because we do feel that way sometimes) to them because we are not AS caught up in all the hysteria. How do we help people get beyond all that crap? How do we help ourselves not fall prey to it at all or any longer? Something has got to give because I am positvively through with 20 something aged people seemingly identifying themselves solely through music and fashion. And in turn how my generation's identity has come to be conflated with those same images from outside sources. The politics of representation are just as hard to figure out as dealing with people's personal politics.

Mouthing off, Mashadi Matabane c/o '99!!!!!!!

Paula I-One Whatley Matabane
Department of Radio, TV and Film
School of Communications
Howard University
Washington, D.C. 20059

Dear Davy D.

Your comments on the Professional Pimping Game was timely and right on. The Nike/M. Jordan collaborations as well as other big businesses are doing our community a total disservice by (1) charging outrageous prices, (2) Marketing almost exclusively to people who can neither afford to buy the product and have limited medical/legal services available when they are robbed, beaten or killed for the product. However, since we already know this I suggest that we stop bending over, without the benefit of grease, dinner or a kiss for these Pimp Companies and spend our hard-earned $$$ for those services that will be worthwhile to the community.---And we already know what they are.


Hi, Davey D

I read EUR regularly. However, I am not into writing back because the paper can always have the last word if they don't like what you say. However, in the case of your article "GET YOUR PIMP ON" it was about the best thing I have read in the EUR. Of course, Jewel Diamond Taylor comments are always on time and on target. Has to get that in.

Anyway, Black American need to understand that they have been getting pimped in America since 1492. We were White America economic salvation as slaves, then as second or maybe third class citizens and now as volunteers in selp-imposed slaves with chains on our minds.

The Hip-Hop generate, the same as many Black Americans who came before them, still have chains on minds and is in denial of who they are. To me, pride in who you are comes before anything.

Well, I could go on but hope you get my point. You did a great job on this article and every Black American should read it. In closing, I would like to add, that we as Black Americans, love to help White America pimp another Black American.

Arthur Blair

I must say that I was highly impressed with your view point on this sad situation. This is the reason why my 13 year old daughter and 8 year old son will be entering into Catholic school in September. I think that all the publc schools around the nation should have a dress code so the students mind will be on books and not fashions. I went to Catholic school and thank my grandmother to this day for that major decision. She was emphatic on no public school for that reason. Even though we were Methodist she knew what was best for my future. I am insistant on not paying that much money for clothes that will not help my children. Those items are only good for the 6 months when they're popular. A good education never goes out of style.


This was a outstanding message to our black people. You were so right about the part dealing with parents going to open classrooms and PTA meetings. As a teacher I get to see maybe 4-5 parents a year at PTA meeting or when their child has lied about the teacher mistreating them. I get so tired of our black people always wanting to blame the teacher for everything. Why not involve yourself 100% to your child's education. Visit the classroom, keep in contact with the teacher, get involved with your childs homework, make your child's education your first priority. Our people don't do these kinds of things instead they want to criticize the teacher for not being the child's parent. We are paid to teach reading, writing, and math. We cannot possibly teach morals as well. There are not enough hours in the school day. Thank You for listening to a teacher!


I wholeheartedly agree with your opinion as to how our people as a whole are being "played." It would definitely be nice if we could see these young ones line up for something positive instead of for new Air Jordan's. I also blame the parents for being in the lines with their children or giving them the money to purchase these things as a status symbol. Even if the parents are not supplying the money for these items, the kids are getting the money from some other means (hopefully not from drug dealing, etc.) but this is probably more likely the case. The conditions in our society will not improve. We can try all we can to change things, but it we can't do it on our own. We have to look to a higher source.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if our children and the parents would line up just like this to get spiritual guidance and support? Use their money to support this cause instead of some faceless corporation. I for one, am teaching my daughters not to be materialistic not needing expensive garb to prove their self worth, but to be proud of whom they are and happy to know that our kind and loving God will soon put an end to all of the injustice that all people are suffering the world over. Thanks for your opinion, and keep up the good work. It is good to know that we all aren't willing to be "pimped" by "big business."

Allyson Arrington

King David - I agree with you wholeheartedly. When one considers the price to manufacture a pair of Jordans, one would be a FOOL to follow through and purchase them...However, to shed a positive light on the situation. We must not forget that shopping for a well liked item can sometimes relieve stress or make one feel euphoric due to the new acquisition. Furthermore, one fact that we must keep in mind is not everyone is aware of the games people play as you and I...What we as leaders must do with this perpetual negative behavior is make it into a positive trait within the community. Such as designing, marketing and selling a well received/liked product ourselves (and keeping the price affordable). Then funneling the excess money back into the communities to assist with the uplifting of our culture and nurturing of our economic well being (the concept of turning lemons into lemonade). The one thought that stays in my mind is no matter what my people do my King, I still LOVE them despite their shortcomings (that's what makes us all GOD-like).

As far as the term Playa - it all depends on what type of mind-set one has. I and many of my professional associates characterize a Playa as someone who is an athlete in the GAME of life, nothing more. The superficial reverence of pimps, macks and utilization of hos is a idiotic thread in our past that tends to resurface with the ignorant or devilish spirits occupying the simple minds of some African Americans (the scientifically proven seed of the Mother and Father of all creation). I too, feel that Women are a man's better half. And to disrespect or show anything other than love to our Women, is to disrespect or hate ourselves. Because everyone except Adam, came from Woman. When you really think about it, GOD did such a (#%@&) good job when he made Woman. 95% of the sisters I know, couldn't be classifieds as nothing less than a Queen in my book.

As far as history goes - It is only recently that African Americans & Africans are shedding the colonization of their minds and opening up to the TRUTH about their heritage. Professors, Griots, others and I are making the effort to change the mind-set of ALL to the civilization building contributions of our ancestors (from the Nubians to now). With the latest www distribution of the true history (that has been destroyed, rewritten or hidden for tens & thousands of years), our mind-set change can be considered nothing less than a revolutionary miracle in nature. And as with the revolution of the mind that Jesus Christ lead when he appeared on the scene, it wasn't until his death that many of those who wanted him dead realized he was right (Jews, Romans & Gentiles). I refuse to have nothing but love for everyone Black, White, Brown, Yellow, etc., because we all came from the same womb. But with the expansions of different families throughout time, we became warring nations (which is so unfortunate). As a matter of fact, the very inventions that we as Africans introduced to civilization, were used against us to strip away our memory, religion, heritage and culture. Please note - What you, I and others must try remember is that the devil (evil beings, spirits, whatever) is in everything except what GOD has claimed as his own.

humbly, yorick yhempstead@deepwell.com

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