Friday, July 27, 2012

Pride or Shame?

July 19, 20112
BH 422

Recently there has been a lot of discussion with reference to a six year old child rapper from Florida named Albert Roundtree, Jr. who is featured in a sexually explicit video called “Booty Pop”.  The video recording portrays the youngster as a pimp surrounded by scantily clad females shaking their buttocks in Albert’s face.

It is depressing and heartbreaking that many problems in our community that I and other journalists and bloggers continually write about do not go away and often the crisis does not get any better. Who would think that as much dialogue and debate the public has held relating to   indecent and lewd videos that someone would have the audacity to exploit a six year old child and turn him into a porn star? Is this artistry or could it be considered child abuse?

Rap music has been at the center of the controversy, and while some argue First Amendment rights, artistic license and music reflecting the reality of life, others argue crass commercialism by "artists" and the music industry, and a total disregard for social responsibility. At a Senate hearing on "The Social Impact of Music Violence" the late Dr. C. Delores Tucker, founder and chair of the National Political Congress of Black Women stated "no corporation should be allowed to exist if engaged in activities that contaminates, poisons and infects the minds of children".

The website   indicates child abuse as more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse and neglect, also leave deep, lasting scars. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and break the cycle rather than perpetuating it. By learning about common signs of abuse and what you can do to intervene, you can make a huge difference in a child’s life.

I have brought his matter to our attention many times before. A few years ago in this column I asked has mass media such as rap music videos and so-called gangsta’ movies eroded our ideas of privacy and dignity in a way that makes self-respect more difficult to attain? Are students today more at risk because of self-destructive behavior, such as promiscuous sexual expression, drug use and violence?

A review of child welfare research by The American Psychological Association suggests that children of color and their families experience poorer outcomes and receive fewer services than their Caucasian counterparts.

Pediatricians with a specialty in adolescent medicine are keenly aware of how crucial music is to a teen’s identity and how it helps them define important social and sub-cultural boundaries. One study found that teens listened to music an average of 40 hours per week. I would assume six year olds would listen to nearly as much.

During the past four decades rap lyrics have elicited the greatest concern, as they compound the environment in which some young people increasingly are confronted with pregnancy, drug use, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and other sexually transmitted diseases, injuries, homicide and suicide although proponents of free expression through the arts, maintain it is certainly not clear that this type of presentation of violence and sex leads to risky or copy cat behavior.

But there is hope. What do we know of little Albert’s parents or guardians? Are they aware of the consequences of their actions? Do they the history and struggle our people? Do they care? Is this exploitation or an expression of their child’s talent?

African American fourth graders with higher levels of racial and ethnic pride were found also to have higher academic achievement measured by reading and math grades in school and standardized tests, says the Penn State researcher who led the study.

Dr. Emilie Phillips Smith, associate professor of human development and family studies, says, "Parental racial and ethnic pride was also related to children's achievement in the study. In addition, children, whose teachers exhibited higher levels of racial-ethnic trust and perceived fewer barriers due to race and ethnicity, showed more trust and optimism. Children living in communities with higher proportions of college-educated residents also exhibited more positive racial-ethnic attitudes."

Do you have an opinion? Will little Albert grow up to emulate the denigrating behavior of Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne and T-Streets?  Might he appear in their videos such as “Money-Cars –Clothes and Hoes” or in a film with Serious Pimp and Kush Kingdom? Or maybe he wants to be in Kokanes’ video ‘U Hear Me”.

Or will his role model be President Barack Obama, or maybe attorney general Eric Holder, or Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King or the man who was known as Malcolm X? Does he or other young black innocent youths have a chance? Please express your opinion.

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Be Ever Wonderful!