Editorial (societal) Featured — 14 February 2014
Lookin Ass Nigga: The Disrespect Of Black Legends Must Stop

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By Juste

Malcolm X did not die so that a rap artist could use his image to promote a song called Lookin Ass Nigga. Detroit Red did not leave jail a changed man, so that his image could be used as promotional material for a song called Lookin Ass Nigga. He did not go to 125 Street, up in Harlem and serve as the voice of a people who were locked in a battle against the racist power structure of the United States just so, almost 50 years after being assassinated, a rapper could use his image in the artwork for a song called Lookin Ass Nigga .

When will we, and by “we” I mean Hip-Hop, become better than this? We use the images and names of our most cherished and respected leaders, who gave their lives in the fight for the recognition of our humanity, and sully their memories on flyers for “freedom to twerk” parties, “I Have A Dream” bashes or “Free At Last” fiestas. We photoshop crowns and ridiculously gaudy jewelry onto their images, in grotesques attempts to make them cool.

Our heroes deserve better than this. Hip-Hop is better than this. It is should not be the sole responsibility of the families of Malcolm X or Martin Luther King to safeguard their legacies. It should not be up to Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson or the NAACP to keep their legacies free from the sort of disgusting and unsavory depictions that many in Hip-Hop all too often use. It should not be up to some other entity outside of this culture that polices Hip-Hop.

 It is our job to g-check the bullshit that we all see but all too often ignore. It is the duty of those who say that they do it for the culture to actually take a stand for the culture. To those who wield influence or talk as if they do, you do not get to be merely spectator and a cheerleader of the good and then freely turn a blind eye to the bad. It is not acceptable of you to be a critical coward.  It is wrong that Nicki Minaj decided to use the image of Malcom X in her artwork for the song Lookin Ass Nigga. Hip-Hop should know this. I think it is about time that we are the ones saying, to those within our culture, that you cannot disrespect our heroes in this way. The memory El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz deserves better. We all deserve better.

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