By MICHAEL EATON
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
I have no stones to throw, but I do have an ax to grind! I am in the words of a newly released hip-hop song, Seeing Green! I was watching the BET 2021 Awards show. I had the mindset of trying to stay current and connected to our Black community. I am of a certain age now and I am not naturally tied into the new trends of songs or the Black entertainment industry. And to tell you the truth hip-hop for the most part is foreign to me now. R&B is foreign to me as well. And in many ways, it should be foreign to me because I live a different kind of lifestyle as a preacher. However, I thought this was a good time for me to get caught up with the Black culture at the Black Entertainment Television Awards. I was thoroughly shocked at what I saw on the show.
I was thinking that the BET awards were run by dignified, respectful and somewhat moral Black folk. They were touting that for the first time in history three legendary African American women helped to produce the show. I was ready to be entertained by the great talent that we have in our community.
The best way I can describe some of the music on the show is misogynistic. This is not uncommon in hip-hop. There seems to be a hatred for Black women in this music. Ironically, Black women have made it a habit of listening to this kind of music and not take it personally. It seems if it has a great beat in the song, the melodies can beat up on Black women. But there is now a different kind of misogyny. I saw a young lady who has a reputation of being a good young lady from Houston. But it seems that she had taken on a different persona on the mic.
On the mic, she is a good girl gone bad. And her music could be best described at times in her songs as pornographic on the mic. From having heard her acceptance speeches, it was very evident that she is a sweet young lady. She reminds me of the young lady I think is the greatest rapper in hip-hop history. But many of her songs that are successful could also be defined at times as pornographic on the mic. This young lady has what the young folk say, “bars.” This means that she can really rap. But it seems to be a successful female rapper she must play into the misogynistic hip-hop industry from a female perspective.
There was another female group out of Miami that had this same kind of makeup as a female hip-hop group. However, the vast majority of their “bars’ seems to be what one group I believe in the late 90s said, Shake Whatcha’ Mama Gave You.
I was also saddened to hear one of the most gifted R&B female singers of our time. The music quality or musicology of the song that she was singing was a technological marvel. Her vocals are some of the best singing abilities I have heard in R&B in a while. But as I sit back and listen to the lyrics of her song I was horrified. I said to myself, “What is she saying?” The lyrics were very subtle because the production of the song was so excellent.
I could not make out the lyrics in the BET production. I would soon discover why after an internet search of the song. She was saying on national TV what would have had a triple X rating if it was being played on the screen on the Internet. I begin to describe that song as porno on the mic. R&B use to have a reputation of being more subtle back in my day. But with this song, all the subtlety was gone. She was saying what she was saying, and it was so raunchy to me that it overshadowed her true giftedness.
In the Black community men used to have a goal to keep their little girls off the pole. Now it seems the hip-hop music industry has put our girls on the pole and in pornography on the mic. It seems that people will do everything for the “bag.” The “bag” is money. Young women are prostituting themselves on the mic in the hip-hop music industry. It seems like the music industry is the pimps. It seems to me that BET that night was pimping our young Black men and young Black women on their national stage. They would not be able to achieve this unless there was a great demand for this kind of music.
The saddest part of my experience at the 2021 BET Award was what happen the next day. I waited for the outcry for dignity, morality and respectability. Where was the outcry of the NAACP? There was no outcry because at the NAACP awards some of these same people will receive awards for their pornographic behavior on the mic. Where was the outcry of the Black Lives Matters Movement? Maybe it should matter what Black lives say on the mic or in music? Maybe it should matter that Black people carry themselves with dignity, honor and civilities. Maybe it should matter that there be morality on the mic! I am seeing green and crying for dignity, respectability and morality in the Black community.
Rev. Dr. Michael Eaton is the pastor of the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. He is an Adult Curriculum Writer for the Sunday School Publishing Board of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. He has authored several books. His latest book is His latest book was “Black Lives Matter in the Bible.”