Greg Tate On Kanye And 50

Kanye West and 50 Cent are the two biggest drama queens to hit pop music since Alice Cooper and Iggy Pop, and that’s not a bad thing. Hiphop, still the voice of Young Black America, is only going to get louder and prouder as it goes along, if only because that demographic’s voice is so hushed elsewhere. Barack Obama’s campaign manager claims his candidate’s currently muted campaign voice is the product of his belief that America isn’t ready for a fire-breathing Black man, and our nation’s prisons and graveyards are full of the proof. But nature abhorring a vacuum, Kanye and 50 have rushed in to fill the void in that last safe space left for such characters. A sister I know once told me she had no respect for a Black man who wasn’t arrogant. Maybe the advent of Mr. West and Mr. Cent warms her heart, maybe not. Regardless, there is, of course, that bothersome question: loud and proud and arrogant in the name of what? Wealth, fame, and gossip? Hmmm. While traveling about the country speaking in the 19th century, Sojourner Truth, our beloved godmother of The Struggle, used to sell postcards of herself, rationalizing this enterprise thus: “I use the shadow to support the substance.”

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