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Oprah has a long and complex history with hip-hop. She doesn’t hate all the rappers, but there are some rappers that she has had serious issues with. Some of the leading beefs have been with Ludacris, Ice Cube and 50 Cent.
Does she have a point? Seriously, do you think that a woman who has been abused by men her entire life would ever have a reason to support anyone who calls women b*tches, hoes and other nasty names? Maybe Oprah has a good point when she stands against what’s going on in the world of hip-hop.
But as she gets older, Oprah seems to have mellowed out on her hip-hop digsust. This video features something that was on BET a few years ago called “Hip-Hop vs. America,” and it says that rappers felt that Oprah never gave them a chance to tell their side of the story. But don’t rappers get to tell their story in every lyric they release to the public?
Here’s a bit of a description from Leethaniel Brumfield – Black College Wire:
For all the criticism they receive, BET deserves credit for taking on this topic and broadcasting it as a special prime time event during the first big week of the new television season. The image of BET in the media and in the black community is often reduced to a caricature that fails to acknowledge the subtlety and nuance of BET’s programming.
But having said that, I’m not sure that one television series is quite enough to make amends for years of missed opportunities. I’ve been very critical of the business model initiated by BET’s founder Bob Johnson, which amounted to little more than profit over programming. For years, BET was little more than music videos, syndicated TV shows, and late night infomercials. Now, under new leadership, the network has been trying — sometimes in questionable ways — to build original programming.
If we still had a daily news and talk show on BET, we wouldn’t have to wait almost six months to have this discussion on hip hop and America. While everybody else in America was talking about offensive language back in April, that discussion was nowhere to be found on our own black network.
And I have to say that the discussion we had at the town hall meeting in June was important. Rapper Nelly was clearly the most controversial and outspoken of the performers, repeatedly defending hip hop and his own music, including his controversial video “Tip Drill,” which as some observers said, has come to identify his career.
The real problem here is not just BET or hip hop. The real problem is broader than any one TV network or one cultural phenomenon.