Home > Dr. Boyce: Why I am Ditching Lil Wayne Completely

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Dr. Boyce: Why I am Ditching Lil Wayne Completely


I love hip-hop.  I want to support it.  I try to understand those who are a few years behind me and support their efforts to become empowered and thoughtful individuals.  But after hearing the lyrics from a Lil Wayne song (an artist who’d already pushed me to the edge), I had to take a moment of pause and make a quick comment regarding how he has firmly positioned himself as an enemy of the black community.  In the song, “We Be Steady Mobbin,” Lil Wayne says this:

“I swear you can’t fuck with me
But I can fuck your girl and make her nut for me
Then slut for me, then kill for me, then steal for me
And of course it’ll be your cash
And I’ll murder that bitch and send her body back to your ass”

This verse, and a few others, served as the straw that broke the camel’s back.  There is a difference between good, fun entertainment and (as one of our Facebook fans refers to as) “weaponized” brainwashing.  It’s one thing when scattered bits of poison happen to hit your children. It’s another thing when it’s concentrated, packaged and targeted in large quantities. Corporate America has wired this game in such a way that millions of our kids are encouraged to consume the messages of Lil Wayne and other artists, the same way soldiers are asked to recite the pledge of allegiance every morning before breakfast.

As a direct result of messages they are fed from commercialized hip-hop music, millions of black boys are religiously emulating the behaviors being promoted by their favorite hip-hop artists….black men are the most likely to die from gun violence, spreading HIV in droves (with far too many of us not going to the doctor), the most likely to go to prison and the least likely to be educated. Commercialized hip-hop is no longer good, fun entertainment; it has evolved into a regimen of brainwashing that is no less powerful than the one that Adolf Hitler used during the Nazi regime.

There is also an interesting impact that this music has on young women, far too many of whom find themselves in violent and abusive relationships, overlooking irresponsible behavior on the part of men, and even finding themselves intrigued by it.  In this song, Lil Wayne makes reference to goons interacting with goblins, which reminds me of too many African American relationships, where women turn themselves into goblins in order to deal with the hip-hop generated goons they find in the dating market.  When it’s all said and done, these same women have no idea how to react when true love comes knocking, and turn down decent, loving men, so they can pursue the thug with the most tattoos.

There is also an interesting contradiction that female support of Lil Wayne sends to young men.  On one hand, men hear that women expect men to be respectful.  But then they notice that Lil Wayne makes songs about disrespecting women and dumping their dead bodies, only to find that it makes women cheer for him that much more.  It’s difficult to demand respect from men and simultaneously recite lyrics to songs that reference women to be worthless, ignorant sex objects.  The same way the young women at Spelman stood up against the rapper Nelly in 2004 (when he swiped a credit card through a woman’s backside, a light-weight move for Lil Wayne), black women across America hold the keys to Little Waynes acceptance into the psyches of the men with whom they interact.  But if women are endorsing the music, then how can they become distraught when men emulate Wayne’s behavior?

I am now officially boycotting Lil Wayne.  It breaks my heart to do this, because the last thing I’d ever want to do is make an enemy out of my own brother.  I also consider Lil Wayne to be one of the most talented commercialized hip-hop artists in America (I clearly admit to respecting his lyrical capabilities).  But one thing I can’t support is this kind of irresponsible music without realizing the implications that it has on our young children, and how their lives are destroyed before they even have a chance to make decisions for themselves.  The same way the Arabic community pushes children to memorize the Qur’an at an early age, African American children memorize the recipe for their own self-destruction on the radio every single morning.

Lil Wayne may continue to make hits, but I’ve personally got him and his record label on my hit list.  I doubt that he’ll hear the words of his own community, but the least we can do is refuse to buy his records.  Our children are depending on us to be responsible, and something has got to give.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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