By Akosua Kathryn Albritton
Don’t Snitch Policy: Who Penned It?
Did anyone catch the segment on CBS’ 60 Minutes (April 21, 2007) where mega rap stars, Busta Rhymes and Cam’ron had the mike to wax intellectually? These men fell down on the job. The issue is the current theme of “no snitching to cops” under any circumstances. True, for several months different rappers are penning and rhyming threats to those in the ‘hood who want to call the police.
It doesn’t matter whether a shooting, a robbery or drug sale is the reason for the call. Rappers are now teaching that calling the police is bad. In essence, crime does pay. Our teens are listening to this. Once they start dancing to it, it’s a done deal. That message is saved in deep memory. For those unaware of the power of dance: it is a form of communication. We send and receive messages from watching and doing the dance. People who love gangsta rap are singing and dancing to the breakdown of the social fabric.
The impetus to 60 Minutes looking at this music trend is most likely Harlem Children’s Zone’s Geoffrey Canada. The murder of a young man well-known to him occurred and no one has come forward to give information on the murder, though he was in the company of others, namely Busta Rhymes. Canada asked whether “anyone held the young man in their arms” as his life ebbed away or was it cold avoidance.
Busta Rhymes took part in the segment and stayed clear of any direct language regarding the murder. Rather, a video tribute to the slain man is what Busta Rhymes gives to a life that ended so early. Canada is very concerned about this turn in rap music. Rappers are teaching fans to avoid the police and let crimes be resolved within the community. Cam’ron displayed bullet wounds in his upper arms. He stated that if he knew a mass murderer lived next door to him, he wouldn’t call the police. He would move. That’s fine for Cam’ron. He has money that’s too hot for his pockets. What about the average working person. Can we quickly put together two or three months of rent to move to another apartment. If you’re in New York, that’s $2,700 or $3,000. Cam’ron would have people spend thousands of dollars when all they need do is dial 9-1-1. Cam’ron would have folk spend thousands of dollars to move away from domesticate violence when possibly, shouting “Hey, quiet down or I’ll call the cops,” may do some good?
These two men had an opportunity to represent to the world what it means to be a man, a celebrity and a role model. They follow the script of “no snitching.” Who told them to stick to the policy? Cam’ron points the finger to the record company. Cam’ron says he wouldn’t be able to sell records without it. He’s not saying the rap audience wouldn’t buy it because that crew buys different genres within rap. The rap world appears to be directed to write certain lyrics or the music won’t be heard; to dress a certain way or they won’t be seen and do certain things or they won’t get paid.
Their comments have generated much dialogue on the web and blogosphere. All Hip Hop’s website features an editorial entitled “21 Questions for Cam’ron and his ‘No Snitching’ Ethos”. Technorati, a blog search engine has 3,241 search results for the key words, ‘no snitching.” At the top of the list is “21 Questions for Cam’ron and his ‘No Snitching’ Ethos”. How deeply embedded this ethic is within gangsta rap fans is to be seen. It’s a feather in CBS’ cap for bringing it to the attention of its audience.
NEW YORK CITY BROADBAND ADVISORY COMMITTEE
On Tuesday, May 22, from 12 noon to 3 pm, in Brooklyn Borough Hall’s Courtroom hearing room, the New York City Broadband Advisory Committee will convene its second public hearing to hear testimony from Brooklyn residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses. Gale Brewer thanks the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz for their help in securing this beautiful space. Brooklyn Borough Hall is located at 209 Joralemon Street in downtown Brooklyn If you would like to testify at this hearing, please contact Jeff Baker (email@example.com / 212-788-9193), Counsel to the Committee on Technology in Government. Brooklyn residents, nonprofit organizations and businesses are particularly encouraged to testify (Reprinted from E-Update for the Committee on Technology in Government of the City of new York, April 22, 2007).
Attention Film Aficionados: Tribeca Film Festival
If it’s spring then, it’s time for the Tribeca Film Festival. This year it runs from April 25 through May 6, 2007. This year over 200 are offered from Canal @ Sixth Avenue, Canal @ Varick and Franklin Street @ Varick. Special niches include Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, Tribeca Family Festival, Tribeca Talk Panels and Tribeca Drive In. For details about all locations, film descriptions and festival events, visit www.tribecafilmfestival.org