One of the most treasured aspects of the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage are the innumerable high-level panel discussions that deal with a myriad of issues pertinent to the African American community. On the “Women in Hip Hop” panel, hosted by media personality Jacque Reid, legendary female rappers and songstresses like Salt-N-Pepa, Lil Moe, Monie Love, MC Lyte and SWV covered a variety of subjects about being women and mothers in the game.
But the conversation took a dramatic turn when Speech of Arrested Development, who sat in the audience, asked the panel how they feel about disrespect in rap and media, and the fact that black women are portrayed as gold diggers, whores and baby machines. Monie Love then explained about how this type of situation has led to a horrible tragedy that will doubtlessly repeat itself unless the poisoned atmosphere is flushed out of our community.
Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa: “This is why this is important when we do stuff like this, to show a different side, that all black women don’t do that. … And we do what we do to show a different side of that, to counteract that, that there is something else going on here that’s positive. That’s why they say it takes a village to raise a child.”
Salt of Salt-N-Pepa: “It makes me sad for the young women because, regardless of how we raise our children, the images in media, not just hip-hop, are very influential to young people. They are trying to figure out who they are and what their value and worth are and where they belong [in the world]. And the message is that their minds and their spirits and what they have to offer the world is not what’s valuable but their bodies are valuable. That’s the thing for me, being the mother of a female, that I want her to know that she’s worth more than what she has to offer physically. And I think that [the media’s message] is very damaging to young women.”
SWV: “I want to add that the people in the audience, you have a responsibility. The stuff that’s on television is there because we patronize it, we watch it, we record it, we monitor it. Once we say no, they can’t give it to us anymore. These [stations such as] VH1, they make us look crazy and these reality shows where we are cussing each other out and looking like straight whores. That’s why our reality show [with her husband, former NFL running back Eddie George] only lasted one season, because my husband refused to slap me down the stairs [to boost ratings].”
Monie Love: “Some young woman from Southeast London flew to Philadelphia, auditioned for a video, got the job but was later dismissed from the job because it was found out that she was wearing butt pads. She went ahead and made an appointment to get butt enhancement injections, which she did undergo. Shortly thereafter, she suffered a heart attack. She got back home to her parents in a body bag,“ Monie said as the audience gasped and recoiled in horror. “That’s what bothers me and scares the living daylights out of me. But is it women who need to stand up and take responsibility and say ‘no’ we’re not doing this anymore? Or is it, in addition to [that], can my brothers in the industry please stop professing this as being so daggone important.”
Actually the answer is that both black men and women who must put a stop to this. And we don’t need to wait for the media to make a change.