By Colbert I. King
Retail stores and online shopping drew much of the attention on Black Friday. But the most important event of the day may have taken place away from the world of commerce and within the domain of the National Black Leadership Alliance and National Congress of Black Women. The two organizations, which serve as an umbrella for a host of other black groups and individuals, have launched launched a Black Friday “Respect Us” campaign that calls for ending support for broadcasts from “urban” radio stations that feature music they say “demeans, denigrates and promotes violence against women, with Black women as the primary target.”
E. Faye Williams, president of the National Congress of Black Women, told me this week that the misogynistic messages spewing out of radio stations that target black audiences “destroy our image as black women” and give a green light to sexual misconduct. “Black women are human beings and have had our fill of being treated as though we are something else,” she said in an earlier press release. To be treated that way by their own sons and daughters — who are the artists recording those demeaning messages — is galling and unacceptable, she said.
The two organizations want corporations to stop financing advertising on stations that play such rot. And they want people to stop patronizing those corporations.
Lest there be any confusion about what the Respect Us campaign calls “sexual misconduct and violence against Black women,” allow me to share the lyrics from the song “I Love It” recorded by Kanye West and Lil Pump (real name Gazzy Garcia).
But first, a digression.
West — rapper, songwriter, record producer — and President Trump have a thing going on.
That was in evidence during West’s recent televised meeting with Trump in the Oval Office, which ended in West embracing a grinning Trump in a bear hug. To West, Trump is a spiritual father.
West, to Trump, is a soul mate. In a “Fox & Friends” interview, Trump said of West, “First of all, I like him a lot. He’s been a friend of mine. I’ve known him for a long time. He’s a very different kind of a guy; I say that in a positive way.” Trump added, “Those that are in the music business say he’s a genius, and that’s okay with me because, as far as I’m concerned, he is.”
Let’s hear from Trump’s genius friend:
I’m a sick f—, I like a quick f— (whoop)
[repeated four times]
I like my d— sucked, I’ll buy you a sick truck
I’ll buy you some new [breasts], I’ll get you that nip-tuck
How you start a family? The condom slipped up
I’m a sick f—, I’m inappropriate
I like hearing stories, I like that ho s—
I wanna hear more s—, I like the ho s—
Send me some more s—, you triflin’ ho bitch (bitch, bitch, bitch)
Thus, a rendition from Trump’s friend. But let’s get back to the bigger picture.
There are radio stations that broadcast a toxic playlist of songs that call women bitches and hos, and that celebrate rape, shootings and use of the N-word.
From the song “Rover 2.0” by BlocBoy JB [James Baker] and 21 Savage [Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph]:
If a [N-word] dis the Bloc, he gon’ come up missing
If you want to find his body, you gon’ have to go fishing
And from “Bank Account” by 21 Savage:
Spray your block down . . .
Glock cocked now
I don’t really give no f— ’bout who I hit
That trash is played on some so-called urban radio stations, which, without advertising support, would likely grind to a halt. Without those stations, music that degrades and demeans black women, that promotes violence and bloodshed, and sends black youths the message that deviant behavior is quite all right would be off the air.
Williams has been at this campaign for quite a while. She shared some of the pushback from radio stations that her campaign partners have received: “We’re just playing what the people want to hear”; “If we don’t play, another station will play it and we will lose market share”; and the race card: “Lose market share, we have to lay off people, and it will be Black people who will lose jobs.”
The clincher: “It is the parents’ fault because they should not allow their children to listen.”
To which Williams says to the stations, “You don’t get a pass because you want to make money.”
So the pressure campaign by Williams and her coalition to get corporations to remove their commercials from stations that play and promote music celebrating misogyny and sexual violence to largely young black audiences will continue long after Black Friday. As it should.