Around the 11th of October, there was a video clip that went viral of a 25 year-old woman being viciously punched by a 60+ year old male bus driver while on a public bus. Both media and public reaction to the incident has been shockingly in
favor of the male bus driver, with almost all blog, article, forum, and YouTube comments universally praising the man for delivering such a “wicked punch”. Since the now infamous uppercut was featured on the Hip-Hop video site ”WorldStarHipHop“, I’ve pondered two questions;
first, how did we as men move away from the honor and protection of women, to the celebration and encouragement of women falling victim to potentially lethal fist blows?
And secondly, what kind of Hip-Hop magazine would feature such over-the-top violence, exploitation and degrading buffoonery on their website? Today I was browsing YouTube and what do I see in the related videos section?
Another “WorldStarHipHop” exclusive, i.e. another fist fight, between two black men no less. After viewing this nonsensical clip, I thought to myself ‘this kind of content can’t be all they feature?’ I visited their website and lo and behold, that is exactly what they feature;
an intellectually bankrupt, decadent page filled with street fights, slap contests and robberies…all violent acts, all done by African-Americans. Sure, there is some relevant music material, e.g. interviews, music videos, etc. For the most part however, this magazine features normal, everyday African-Americans at their worst – generally participating in criminal, sexual or violent behavior.
The site itself averages 1.1 million unique visitors a day and is ranked 247th in site traffic in the United States and 983rd for worldwide traffic by Alexa.
I wonder if Lee ‘Q’ O’Denat, a man of Haitian descent who created the site seven years ago understands that he’s participating in vile propaganda against Black people and Black culture, or if he even cares? Very much the same way Nazi Germany’s Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda used bias cinema, billboard and poster campaigns to promote negative images of Jews as a means of justifying crimes against them, Mr. O’Denat is fueling the perception of African-American people being uniformly violent, decadent and criminal.
I would argue that modern technology has made it even more insidious than Nazi propaganda in the sense that Nazi propaganda was watched primarily by Germans. The depraved material channeled by O’Denat’s site is viewed all over the world; criminalizing Black Americans for the entertainment of a global audience.
After seven years of despicable content, I doubt Mr. O’Denat cares about the dangerous, propagandist black imagery he’s spreading.
Is it any wonder then that hate groups and right-wing media outlets are so successful at convincing large sectors of the population that Black culture is inherently violent and criminal? Or why people are for the most part, content with Black and Latino men being stopped and searched randomly on the street by police despite having no cause to do so. The City of New York, one of the biggest and most cosmopolitan cities in the world has a very open and unapologetic “stop-and-frisk” policy in which last year alone, nearly 700,000 individuals alone were stopped and frisked by the police – of which 87% were Black and Latino. That is to say nothing of the prison population, where one in 11 African-Americans are in some form of correctional control. Now racist extremists may find any excuse for their hatred and xenophobia, but the not-so-racist may follow Chris Rock’s line of reasoning, and I’m paraphrasing; “don’t wanna get hassled by the police? Stop committing crimes.” Well, this line of reasoning is only effective because Black people are shown committing all of the crimes. How rich is it then that a Black entertainment site is now doing the work of the racist propagandists?
I’m still young and yet I haven’t actively listened to Hip-Hop regularly in over 15 years, so I’m very much disconnected with what’s happening in both the industry and in the culture. And I’ve often wondered at which point did Hip-Hop culture go from being an artistic, free-spirited, rhythmic amalgamation of poetry and rhythm and blues to a culture full of violence, crime, degradation, and excess. With exploitation sites like WorldStarHipHop, I can see now how it’s been done.
Throughout the years, various gangster and excess rap artists have helped re-define what hip-hop and Black culture is. With WorldStarHipHop’s 1 million daily users, the violent and criminal content are assumed just by using the word “hip-hop”. With this view, excessive lifestyles – drinking, drugging, reckless sexing, continues to shape and define both hip-hop and Black culture in general.
WorldStarHipHop gets a great amount of internet traffic, with millions of people both viewing and contributing to the site.
However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Unlike other media outlets which are filled with anti-Black propaganda, WorldStarHipHop receives it’s content primarily from user uploads. No doubt, O’Denat is callous in creating such a perverse platform, but ultimately it’s the public that keeps the site alive and it’s the public that has kept it alive for seven years. Like anything else, it would take an active effort and new-found awareness from the site’s users in order for the site to be dismantled. I am not opposed to Mr O’Denat’s success if he is the one pulling the strings. But it would be nice if users made him conscious of the fact that he is profiting from the demise of Black people, those of which he shares a common heritage and ethnic identity.
Uploading distortions of your people’s pathology due to years of racist and economic oppression is tantamount to helping your family get lynched.
Let’s stop humiliating and killing us!
- World Star Hip-hop: making a bankable brand out of brutality | Jason Farago (guardian.co.uk)
- Gucci Mane To Release Trap God On WorldStarHipHop’s New Mixtape Site (hiphopwired.com)
- Bus Driver Pulls a “Street Fighter” on Female Passenger…haduken!! (comm663.wordpress.com)