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Al Duncan: Should Michael Eric Dyson Be Teaching a Class on Jay-Z?

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An article on USAToday.com—Jay-Z provides the blueprint for college course—has rekindled the polarizing topic of whether or not author, radio host, and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson’s course on the hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur is a good idea or bad idea.

One thing is for sure: It’s brilliant marketing and publicity. The class has been mentioned in the news plenty of times. Critics and supporters have been quoted in major news outlets. And here I am writing about it on a blog that’s mainly about soft skills, personal development, and youth empowerment.

So…

Read More via Georgetown’s College Course on Jay-Z: Good Idea or Bad Idea?.

James

4 Comment

  1. Jay-Z is one of the most sucessfull black men in the world, so why not teach about how and when he got his riches? Our own people are always finding some negative things to say about any young black and rich men in the Afro American community. Dr. dyson is a great one too to teach this course.

  2. The problem today is that entertainers aren’t boxed in as just that, someone who entertains vs. someone to look up to. It’s not like in past time periods where there was not only a celebrity that we liked but there was also someone of note, someone serious, DECENT (or who at least tried to be), educated whom someone young and impressionable could look up to and was also a hero. In our media we used to have that as well but if you pick up Ebony now it’s full of celebrities compared to older Ebony magazines that I still have where you have a celebrity on the cover, sure, but inside would be articles about people like two women who were sisters owing a contact lens company.
    Today publications are out of step with our experience and we are so disconnected that we have lost the ability to innovate in music. I listen to the stuff my kid likes but she also listens to real vocalists from the past, real jazz, music from all over the diaspora and I used to make her watch shows like “Like It Is” with Gil Noble. Just so that she understands that when these singers today squeak out a noise she knows that at a different time in our history they would just be the back up singers.
    I know the world has changed but when I see college courses taught and money wasted on teaching about this dude who can’t even understand that the N word is such a low thing because he himself is low I know i want to scream. During the time of the protests at Zucotti Park ( I came there daily from Monday, Sept. 19th) a lot of the younger Black males were angry about their situations and looking for solutions. It wasn’t that many in the first place. Some aren’t aware of their history here since they’ve been brought up in an integrated they deemed it irrelevant until I talked about the slaves who built that wall on Wall st and were the first stock on the exchange, who were forced to build Trinity church but not allowed to attend, who were forced to expand the old Lenape Indian trail now known as Broadway which part of Zucotti/Liberty Park is bordered by. One told me that he can’t wait for old Black revolutionaries because they’re so angry and they’re tired of hearing them…that is until the white dudes with beards came and started pushing black folks out of the movement and then all of a sudden that history became important.
    What other young brothers/sisters wanted to know about when I started letting them know about the history downtown that is quite extensive but hidden is that their current struggle with the police in this city isn’t new. It’s an old story but a hidden one. There are some black folks in this movement now that are foreign, don’t know the history but want to be a leader in this movement and in this country. I had to tell one who, when she gets up to speak proceeds to cuss and carry on about the dignity of Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Ida B. Wells which she hadn’t a clue of yet when I spoke of how Rosa Parks got started in civil rights by defending rape victims like Recy Taylor and how one of my heros A. Phillip Randolph threatened a march on Washington during the middle of WWII suddenly there was recognition and shock in the eyes.
    When I mention to an African security, the actual names of slaves forced to build Wall street, suddenly their eyes fill with light. It’s how you tell the story. I will tell more on my own blog this week so I won’t give it all away just yet but those lives were lived and they were harsh.
    I have often told younger people the harsher stories of life in NY and how we survived it by helping each other and to always remember that when your existence is challenged you obviously have the most intense lessons to teach, you must be extra special. In order to counteract the garbage that the media fuels like a Jay-z and the empty lifestyle he portrays by promoting unattainable, endless consumption and the cold way he presents himself you have to tell the most intense stories of how many of us succeeded when there was no justice to be found.
    Our media today is about pacify and distract. Jay-z is part of that. Meanwhile the reality of our situation is dire. As usual we get the brunt of it and now we’re about to face even more discrimination because the Latinos aren’t our friends and Black Latinos are either outnumbered, unable to have the balls to stand up to the hatred where they come from or both. in the stores around Zucotti Park I’ve only seen one black face working in McDonald’s. All the other food places don’t hire us yet the prejudiced Latinos see an OWS button and want us to fight for them for jobs and fairness. With a smile I hip them to it quick with a fast lesson about who built that wall on Wall street, who was lynched on Maiden Lane and Battery Park and so on and so forth. I do this of course after I get my food (and don’t come back – “If you can’t work there, don’t buy there” – Adam Clayton Powell III) and then the light of recognition comes to their eyes. I part with words about humanity starting in Africa and how we’re not going anywhere.
    To wake up the current generation they will experience what many hoped would never occur again. I could see a chapter on Jay-Z about how the drug dealer life was alluring for someone trying to survive but could it possible to compare / contrast his example of unmitigated greed wiht gangsters of the past who tried to help their people out of dire straits? Somehow I just don’t see that happening when I look at those cold, dark empty eyes of his. As the days wear on and black unemployment rises higher there will be little to no money for internet service, cellphone service and mp3 downloads. To make music will one day require instruments again. This will relegate the likes of the Jay-z’s of the world irrelevant. This they fear the most.

    • Do you have a blog/page I can follow you on? I love your comments period! Please inform. Thank you.

  3. Jay Z is not the most successful black man in the world. He is a greedy, materialistic, arrogant jerk. He thinks he is a god and he has done nothing for black people but ask that they worship his throne and kiss his butt. He and his wife are constantly bragging about themselves and their goods. His wife posed in black face, performed for terroists, has ripped off other aspiring artists by passing off their work as their own. He tried to make money off the protestors in New York by hawking his T-Shirt, but refused to allow the proceeds to go toward the effort.

    There is nothing special about him. There are many black mentors, doctors, lawyers and scientist that are more powerful than an arrogant rapper.

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