Obama's Other Jeremiah Wrights
By EVAN GAHR
Jeremiah Wright is not the only supporter Barack Obama needs to explain.
Although the media has finally exposed Barack Obama's ties to the unhinged pastor his support from rappers who propagate equally pernicious nonsense has gone almost entirely unnoticed.
Rappers are gaga over Obama. The superstar Jay-Z, who raps about “b------,” “hoes” and “n-----,“ even urged voters to support Obama in a robo-call for the March 4 Ohio primary and caucus. The equally foul-mouthed rapper Will.I.am, whose hit songs include “I love my B----,” has hyped Obama in two widely-viewed videos posted on YouTube.
The rappers have good reason to praise Obama. He has at times been an apologist for their “music.” His complicity with rappers dates back to at least 2006.
Late that year he met with the rap giant Ludacris in his Chicago office. Ludacris, who Pepsi dropped as a spokesman in 2004 after Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly exposed his putrid lyrics, said afterwards that Obama felt like family to him. In March 2007 Ludacris, whose hit songs include “Move B----,” headlined an Obama fundraiser in Atlanta.
Obama even recorded a voice over for a new album out this June from rapper Q-tip. Will it contain lyrics like these sonnets from another Q-tip song? “Close the door, ‘ight let a n---- rock. Cause we ‘bout to eat real s---, not s--- slop.”
Who are these members of Obama’s amen corner? Many are the industry’s leading lights, who have become rich and famous thanks to the willingness of liberals like Obama to ignore or excuse their glorification of sexism, drugs and violence. Without this kind of collaboration they would just be unemployed thugs instead of millionaires.
Obama thus far has equivocated on rappers. He has criticized their language, but adamantly refused to denounce the whole sordid genre as the unique cultural problem that it is.
“I haven’t just singled out rappers,” Obama told Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference last year, according to the New York Observer. “I’ve said I’ve heard those words [used by rappers] around the kitchen table in some homes. I hear them in the barber shop. I hear them on the basketball court. All of us have been complicit in diminishing ourselves.”
Obama here relies on the pro-forma defense of rap music. Yes, apologists say, it’s racist and sexist but it only reflects the racism and sexism of society.
Oh, really? Where else but rap do folks talk so openly and regularly about b------, n------ and hoes? What other industry makes millions of dollars from those words? Obama says he’s heard this kind of language on the basketball court. Which one? Not any NBA game. Players who curse during games are suspended and fined.
Where else but rap do you hear words like these from Obama supporter Jay-Z in his song “99 Problems?”
Now once upon a time not long ago
A n---- like myself had to strong arm a hoe
This is not a hoe in the sense of having a p---
But a p---- having no God Damn sense
Besides Jay-Z, Obama has also won support from rap mogul Russell Simmons, rapper Nas, whose new album is titled “N-----“ and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Mos Def.
It’s high time the media ask some tough questions. Why has Obama collaborated with rappers? Is he familiar with their words? How could he not be? The senator’s spokesperson said that when he and Ludacris met the two men found common ground on AIDS prevention. How do you find common ground on sexual behavior with someone who calls women “b------?”
Have any rappers donated to his campaign? Will he return the money? Why has he not renounced support from rappers? Is this going to take 20 years like it did with Reverend Wright?
At stake here is something more fundamental than Obama’s rank hypocrisy. The willingness to break ranks with allies or anyone in your general orbit is the fundamental moral test for anyone engaged in public life.
In the 1980s, David Dinkins, New York City’s first black mayor, without any public pressure unequivocally denounced Louis Farrakhan. (In contrast to Jesse Jackson who has not to this day.) Dinkins did not try to offer any context for Farrakhan’s hate mongering or liken him to a misguided uncle as Obama did with Wright.
Obama should follow Dinkins’ lead. The senator should say that instead of performing songs for him rappers would be better off playing in the Rev. Wright’s choir.
Evan Gahr has written extensively about race for the New York Post, the American Spectator and the Washington Times.