By Willie D
Being a member of one of the most flammable groups of all times, quite naturally like Don Imus, I embrace and cherish my first amendment right to freedom of expression, which includes freedom of speech. In 1990, my group the Geto Boys became the first group in music history to be denied distribution by its distributor because of content. Geffen Records refused to distribute the album entitled “Geto Boys” because of constant profanity, violence, and what they deemed misogynistic lyrics. We immediately believed that because we are a black group we were unfairly singled out by Geffen who continued to distribute controversial white rock groups including Slayer and Guns ‘n’ Roses whose song One In A Million drew criticism because of its references to ethic minorities and homosexuals. In hindsight I realize that the truth of the matter is Geffen, like CBS and MSNBC was under tremendous pressure from activist groups to distance themselves from the talent. These groups and their constituents wield a considerable amount of buying power and influence. Had those groups who protested against Guns ’n’ Roses been more aggressive and went after Geffen for backing Guns ‘n’ Roses, as they were when they came after the Geto Boys, Geffen would have refused to distribute them also.
The 15 million or so dollars a year that Imus made for each company is not even a drop in the bucket compared to the wells of money blacks and women consumers spend annually with the advertisers of Imus’ former radio and television shows. Who’s going to risk losing his or her livelihood to save someone else’s? I know I’m not. Come on man, this dude called the Rutgers University Women’s Basketball Team, which predominately consist of black players “nappy headed hoes” and you expect him to skate? Had he not used the words nappy headed he might have been safe. It is common knowledge that dark people of African descent have coarse hair, which some people in American society derogatorily refer to as nappy. Because Imus is white, that is what made his comments racist. Because he is a male, that is what made it sexist. And because of this country’s legacy of racial injustices and the racial divide that permeates our society today, it’s going to be hard for anyone of distinction to withstand the aftermath of publicly making a racial slur. Yes he did get away with it for 30 years but then again America got away with slavery for over 284 years. Does that make it right?
Although I applaud the folks over at CBS and MSNBC for stepping up to the plate and doing the just thing by firing Don Imus, I’m sure that after they did due diligence, the financial obligations of their shareholders considerably out-weighted any moral obligations to the public. With that said, I’m not surprised that Imus was fired. What is interesting to me is how everyone with a tongue to flap or fingers to type, consistently compares what this fool said to “what rappers say everyday.” To me that statement is equivalent to beating a dead horse… what’s the use. First of all, generally when rappers use a derogatory word or statement we are referring to a person’s character not a specific ethnic group. Furthermore, why are y’all always trying to use rappers as convenience scapegoats for whatever the current hot button issue in America is? Can y’all at least alternate from time to time between Hollywood and the Porn Industry, which I know some of you can’t get enough of. Say what you say about double standards but that’s the society we live in. Blacks can call one another the “N” word and get away with it, whites can’t. Likewise, whites can call one another the “H” word or the “C” word and get away with it, blacks can’t. If a man and a woman go out to eat at a restaurant, is it fair for the man to be expected to pick up the check? A growing number of men don’t think so. I’m not one of those men and society collectively seems to back me up on this one. Although, I did release a song entitled “I’m not a Gentleman,” I am very much one when it comes to that special someone.
Funny how so many people are saying Imus should have been allowed to apologize and keep his job. Well, as with any other job the content of your character is a reflection of the company that you represent and from time to time your character will be evaluated. If management doesn’t agree with your character, they may elect to give you a warning or suspension. How sports teams deal with professional ball players is a prime example of these tactics. Nobody raised hell when Dennis Rodman or Ron Artest was fired from their respective teams for inappropriate conduct. If your cantankerous character becomes a liability to the point where your employer starts losing money and it affects your fellow colleagues ability to effectively perform their job duties, then management has to make a choice. Stay on the boat and sink with Imus or jump ship and save yourself. Which one would you choose?
Note: The Insite asked legendary rapper Willie D to share his opinion on the Don Imus issue with the readers. Mainly, because rappers have now received a lot of attention as a result of the ‘nappy headed h-” comment. So here it is!