2000-04-08 / Columnists

From The G-Man...by Gary Toms

From The G-Man

"Rapped" Up In Negative Images

Hey people! Before I tackle this week’s subject, I must respond to a comment made by Howard Schwach last week. His comments were directed at the Reverend Al Sharpton, and he basically called him a liar and a racist. There are a lot of people that feel this way, and they need to know a few things.

The accusations of being a liar stem from the Tawana Brawley incident, and some people just can’t seem to let that go: even though the man has been judged by the courts and forced to pay a substantial settlement. The charges of being a racist are based on comments that may have been inaccurately reported or somehow taken out of context. We all know how good the media is at doing this! Why isn’t this fact considered when concerning Al Sharpton?

This man, and his family, receives many death threats on a daily basis. He is under constant surveillance, by local and state government, and he is always under the media microscope simply because he has the "testicular fortitude" to address racial issues when others choose to ignore them. How many of you reading this think you, or your family, would hold up well under such conditions? Yeah, that’s what I thought. If you haven’t walked a thousand miles in this man’s shoes, then stop bitching! The fact is, he’s out there trying: which is more than I can say for a lot of Black athletes and entertainers.

There are times when I would like to see Sharpton take a slightly different approach when addressing his critics, but overall this man has been nothing short of brilliant in presenting the issues that must be dealt with in this city and state. Respected columnists and reporters, from the New York Times to Newsweek, praise Sharpton for his role in keeping people calm during all of the recent shootings. People like Schwach should be thankful that Khallid Mohammed, of the New Black Panther Party, wasn’t out there. The outcome of the verdict could’ve been far worse!

If you choose to hate Sharpton, that’s on you. However, you must give credit where credit is due. It’s because of him that many, many angry people did not try to destroy this city, and unlike the Los Angeles riots, they would not have taken their anger out on their communities, if you know what I mean. The aftermath of the Dorismond funeral illustrates this. Certain people would’ve been begging for Sharpton to intervene if riots broke out after the Diallo trial.

Last year, around this time, I wrote a column based on how the youth of today constantly use the "n" word. I was careful to note that there were young, conscious people, from the hip-hop world, which knew the danger of this word, and they vowed to never use it in their music. I thank the Creator for artists like Will Smith and Lauren Hill because there are young Black artists out there that are killing our dream and denouncing the struggle of our ancestors.

I recently had the displeasure of watching a show called "Farmclub" on the USA Network. As I write this column, I plan to go after the major brass of the network, and I am going to hold them accountable for the projection of negative images and stereotyping. I hate this show with a passion, and I do not understand why the NAACP, and others, has not boycotted the network. I have an idea, but I won’t go there.

The premise of the show is to showcase bands and/or talent, with the hope of being signed to a record contract. Based on what I have seen in recent weeks, the emphasis is placed on negative images of rap stars backstage getting high, spewing the "n" word and cursing so much that the station has to bleep out every other word. Some rappers openly make gang symbols with their hands in order to "represent", and some go as far as to say, "I’ll kill a nig.. in a second!" The station didn’t even bother to edit this out. USA Network, you’ve just earned yourself a "whoop-ass ticket" from the G-man!

This is the very reason why good, upstanding Black members of the hip-hop generation, some of which are "A" students, are profiled by many police departments. This is why white people, including cops, are afraid of Black youth. Hell, this is why Black people are afraid of Black youth! Now don’t get me wrong. There is no justification for profiling of any kind or shooting people who are unarmed. Those are real issues that need to be dealt with. What I am saying is that shows like "Farmclub" help to generate these images across the country, and it reinforces the ideology that Black people, young and old, dressed in hip hop "gear", are to be feared because of how they are projected. They are distributing deadly poison, and it must stop! There are those that are going to say, "Yo! G-man is whack! He’s always putting the rap community down". If they do, as usual, they will be missing the point. I’m sorry, but I’ll be damned if I stand by and let this poison spread through the system of the younger kids. I already hear seven and eight-year-olds reciting rap lyrics like, "You hear my music on the radio, you know this nig… looking pretty in the video." I will do whatever is necessary to help stop this stupidity. I may not have a large forum, like a major daily newspaper or talk show, but I’m going to use any method possible, and I’ll challenge anyone!

Finally, there are many people that are responsible, both Black and white, for creating this situation. However, if you look to the very top of every record label, it’s usually a person of Caucasian decent calling the shots. In some cases, and I hope the Jewish supporters of my column will understand what I’m saying, they are Jewish. It doesn’t matter to me what they are, but I cannot understand how these labels, executives and celebrities, can profit at the expense of negative Black images, when they went after someone as huge as Michael Jackson for using the word "kike" in the song "They Don’t Really Care About Us"! As far as rappers go, when’s the last time you heard a cut played on the radio, or television, and the word "kike" was used? You don’t, and you never will because it is within Jewish culture to strongly denounce such an act, and record company pawns like Puff Daddy, Dr. Dre and Master P should take the same position. Why must we be allowed to degrade ourselves, and our culture, for simple profit? It’s a damn shame!

Feel free to contact me at

GeeMan1025@aol.com, and I’ll see you next week!

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