An Open Letter To

Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Snoop Dogg and the African-American Community

Concerning Don Imus’ Comments about the Rutgers’ Women’s Basketball Team


As a journalist and talk show host, what I do for a living required me to remain silent concerning my personal opinions on the statements Don Imus made about the Rutgers’ Women’s Basketball Team, although I shuddered at the hypocrisy of many African-Americans who joined the discussion.

But who I am, an African-American woman, compelled me to speak when I read the response to Imus’ statements on from rapper Snoop Dogg.  While Imus’ statements were offensive, they did not prick the essence of who I am like those of Snoop Dogg’s.  When asked if there was a comparison between his sexist hip-hop lyrics and Imus’ remarks, Snoop said he felt this was a completely different scenario.  He said, “[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We’re talking about ho’s that’s in the ‘hood that ain’t doing shit, that’s trying to get a nigga for his money.

Those comments literally brought me to tears.  I cried for every young girl in the ‘hood’ who wants a better life and would like to trust a man to help her get it.  Does it matter whether a young Black lady attends college or lives in the ghetto?  Does living in the ‘hood’ make you a ‘ho’?  No.  A Black woman deserves respect whether she’s educated or not; whether she plays sports or not.  Every Black woman in the ‘hood’ should be offended!

My sisters, why are you listening to Snoop’s music?  Why are you buying his music?  Why are you desiring to be with men who disrespect you and refuse to provide for you?  Stand up and tell your brothers you are worthy of respect and honor.

I have often wondered how White women, prior to the suffrage movement, could sleep with White men who refused to honor her, his daughter and his mother by giving them the right to vote.  I couldn’t understand how White women could raise White men who didn’t consider them worthy of having a voice.  Now, I can’t understand how Black women can raise Black men who disrespect them.  How they can raise Black men who sleep with women and refuse to take care of them.  At least White men at that time provided for their women.  Black women, respect yourselves by refusing the behavior of men and rap artists who disrespect you.  Black mothers, these are your sons!  Teach your sons to respect you and other women.  Demand that your sons treat women with respect!

As if those words from Snoop were not enough, he continued, “These are two separate things. First of all, we ain’t no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them mutha fuckas say we in the same league as him.

No Snoop, you are not in the same league as Imus.  You are in a league of your own.  Your words and lyrics have done much more harm to the self esteem and image of Black women than one comment from Imus could ever do.  You said your songs come from your mind and soul and are relevant to what you feel.  So, let’s see how you feel.  What’s on your mind?  These lyrics are long and explicit, but this one song tells us how you really feel about women.

Snoop Dogg – 2006 – A Bitch I Knew Lyrics

Good evening ladies and gentlemen

{*scratched*: “Let’s describe a certain female”}

[Chorus: Snoop]
Bitches will be bitches as I smash in the Chevy
It’s gettin, it’s gettin, it’s gettin kind of heavy
Bitches will be bitches as I smash in the Chevy
It’s gettin, it’s gettin, it’s gettin kind of heavy
Bitches will be bitches as I smash in the Chevy
It’s gettin, it’s gettin, it’s gettin kind of heavy

[Snoop Dogg]
It all goes back, to ’85
When I start gettin pussy every day of my life
It really didn’t matter what the bitch look like
I remember one night, after the Sugar Ray fight
Wouldn’t you believe it, Dogg like a retriever
I went up in this big fat bitch named Treva
She had a best friend with titties named Vanessa
She told me to undress her, yessir
Ain’t no pressure, later that semester
She put me down with her homegirl name Tanisha
She was so vicious, lips so luscious
Suck a nigga dick and have it shinin like some dishes
Patricia, Patricia, she love the way I stick her
I take her to the movies and now, she eat the dick up
Big bucks, no whammies
I had to meet this white bitch, her name was Tammy
She lived in the Valley, she couldn’t understand me
But she let me dig out, her homegirl named Brandi
Now Brandi was a cute little thick bitch
She moved to the hood from the 2-oh-6
She brought some new tricks, flippin them squirrels
And the pearls, and turnin out the neighborhood little girls
Hmm, and I seen that, so I peep the game
So I put her down, bottom bitch on my team
And we began makin, breakin bitches takin
whatever we want, see she want with the fakin
It’s real in the field, no mistakin
And crack the little bitch, yeah she Jamaican
Time and time again she would bring me bud
And let me beat it up, listenin to “One Love”
Off some jerk chicken, I got mo’ bitches
Now I’m fuckin her sister it’s gettin real suspicious
But the dick is good, so they won’t tell
And now they next door neighbor, Clarissa Bell
She been lookin at me, I think she wanna hit
But I’ma holla back, cause I’m on another bitch
I’m on some other shit, I got a phone call
From the motherfuckin president y’all
He said, “Snoop Dogg, how could I fuck a bitch
and make her suck a dick and not get caught for the fuck of it?”
I called and look here, this what you do
Make the First Lady sell a little pussy for you
I think he got it, cause he left fast
He left his daughters, and a lot of cash
Well what do ya know, D-O-double-G
Major pimpin, out in D.C.
And I’m a young pimp, got a lot of growin left
And you’s a young hoe with a lot of hoein left
Always keep a hoe in check, blowin us a train wreck
Yeah I might have to go in depth
See every little hoe I met
They’re standouts, you know the ones like Yvette
We fucked in the car, behind a bar
I shot it in her face and it went “Ahhh”
My homeboy Charles
Went up in his sister, behind the garage
I was menace, I was freaky, I was sick
When y’all was tryin to hump, I was teachin them to suck dick
Always tryin to go up in a hoe
Got caught tryin to fuck in school they asked me what I did it fo’
You know just what I told her?
I love pussy, and this dick is what I showed her
And now they threw me out, now I’m at the pad
I’m at a new school, way cool
New hoes, new script, fresh fish
Walk up in the room and I bust a new bitch
I’m in some new tail, wanna holla back
But for now let me holla back Impala black
She’s a 12th grader, in my science class
And I done seen the pussy, yeah boy I’m movin fast
See I was taught by, and I was taught I
better move on somethin fast if I thought I
could claim a dame, or game her brain
Or tame a man, not with the same old game
See on some different stuff, I’m a different cut
It’s what I say and do to make the bitch give it up
Oh you wanna brag? I wanna brag too
Now what you gon’ do, when they ask you
Is you gon’ tell a lie, or you gon’ keep it G
Or you gon’ hold it all inside or you gon’ tell on me?
Shit it’s all cool, cause it was all good
It’s just another day in Doggy Dogg’s neighborhood
You better watch your girl, cause if she on the loose
It’s a 90 percent chance she gon’ get pimp juice
Now what it do, what it is
Now you livin with that hoe and y’all got fo’ kids

Bitches will be bitches as I smash in the Chevy
It’s gettin, it’s gettin kind of heavy
Bitches will be bitches as I smash in the Chevy
It’s gettin, it’s gettin kind of heavy
Bitches will be bitches as I smash in the Chevy
It’s gettin, it’s gettin kind of heavy
{*fades out*}

If you could bear to read all of the lyrics, compare those words to ‘nappy headed hos!’  Now who’s out of whose league?

Snoop, you have a wife.  You have children.  Is this the perspective you want your sons to have of women?  Do you really sleep well at night knowing your music is negatively influencing women and society?  Isn’t there a better message you can use your influence to deliver?  It doesn’t matter how many football teams you coach or how many great things you buy kids in the ‘hood’ if your music tells them to go home and disrespect their mothers and sisters – the foundations of many of their families.  It’s like the cigarette industry paying for cancer treatments.  If they really wanted to help cancer patients, they’d simply stop selling cigarettes.  So Snoop, if you really want to make a difference in the lives of Black children, stop selling explicit, degrading music to them.

Snoop’s wife, where are you?  This is your husband.  These lyrics are disrespectful to your womanhood.  I applaud you for your desire to ‘bring integrity back to the entertainment industry’ with your record label, but integrity starts at home.  Snoop’s mother, where are you?  This is your son.  How did you raise him to say these things about you and other women?  Snoop’s father, why didn’t you teach him what it means to be a real man who respects women?

Mr. Jackson, you called Amos’ firing “A victory for public decency.”  You said, “No one should use the public airwaves to transmit racial or sexual degradation.”   Your comments are appropriate for Imus and all of the rap artists who spew hateful racial and sexual degrading language daily in the homes of women via radio and television.  Public transmission of sexual degradation includes the sexually explicit rap music videos currently being aired on BET, MTV and VH1.  The lyrics above are from Snoop’s 2006 album, Tha Blue Carpet Treatment.  This album debuted at #5 on the Billboard charts with over 264,000 copies sold in its first week in stores.  Listeners hear and viewers watch the clean version but buy the explicit version with the lyrics above.

I am all for free speech.  Snoop Dogg has the right to say whatever he wants to say through his music, but we don’t have to promote it, sell it or buy it.  We allow our young children to listen to music like this and then we wonder why promiscuity, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual assaults and teenage pregnancy rates are so high in the African-American community.

Sharpton, you said “…we cannot afford a precedent established that the airways can commercialize and mainstream sexism and racism.”  Mr. Sharpton, the commercialization and mainstreaming of sexism and racism occurred when Orbit Gum, Burger King, Chrysler, Courvoisier, Electronic Arts, T-Mobile and XM Satellite Radio endorsed Snoop’s music and image by contracting him to sell their products.  This is mainstream commercialization of sexism and racism at the highest level.  Withstanding Snoop’s music lyrics, his womanizing reputation, many arrests, criminal record for cocaine possession, gun possession by a felon, sale or transportation of marijuana, accusations of sexual assault and his image in the hard core porn industry should have made corporations stay clear of any endorsements.  But instead, in their quest to profit, they have embraced him because the African-American community embraces him.  In addition to Snoop financially profiting from his degrading lyrics, he has been honored by many organizations as a role model for young Black men!

Black men, are you not your brother’s keeper?  Yes you are.  Where are you?  Hold your brother responsible for his words and actions.  Snoop deserves nothing short of the plight of Imus; to be taken off the air.  Jackson and Sharpton, you have the power to make it happen.  Your efforts to say to corporate America that derogatory language toward African-American women will not be tolerated were successful.  Now take it to the next level.

Rev. Sharpton, on you radio show, you asked Imus why he shouldn’t resign.  Ask Snoop Dogg the same thing.  Invite Snoop on your show and ask him to retire from the music industry.  Then go back to MSNBC, which is owned by NBC, which owns Vivindi SA, which owns Universal Music Group, which is the parent company for Doggystyle Records, of which Snoop Dogg is the founder, and tell them to stop the production and distribution of Snoop Dogg’s music.  Technically and ironically, Snoop Dogg, like Imus did, works for and ultimately gets his money from NBC.  NBC cancelled the television simulcast of Imus’ radio show.  Demand that they immediately disassociate from Snoop Dogg’s record company, stopping production, distribution and promotion of Snoop’s music.  Tell them to start with the expected April 24th release of Snoop’s new album.  It should not be allowed to hit the streets or the airwaves.  It should not be allowed to further demean Black women, all of whom watch NBC.

Rev. Jackson, tell Snoop Dogg that enough is enough!  Tell him that you will no longer tolerate his degradation of African-American women.  Then, go back to CBS, which owns over 180 radio stations, many of which play the music of Snoop and other rap artists who degrade women, and tell them to take Snoop’s music off of their play lists.  CBS and the public should be equally revulsed by Snoop’s music lyrics and his recent statement toward women in the ‘hood’.  Bruce Gordon, former head of the NAACP and a director of CBS Corp., should take the rap music issue to the boardroom of CBS.  Snoop Dogg and other rap artists crossed the line a long time ago.  And as he said of Imus, they should also be made to face the consequences of their violations.  Mr. Jackson, hold CBS to their promoted high corporate standards.  And if they refuse, you should go forward with your rally outside the CBS headquarters in an effort to persuade advertisers to pull their ads off of CBS radio stations that air Snoop’s music.  CBS cancelled Imus’ radio show.  Tell CBS to stop the promotion and air play of the equally offensive music of Snoop Dogg.  Their zero tolerance policy when it comes to irresponsible behavior on the air should start here.

Stopping the production, distribution, promotion and playing of Snoop’s music and other rap artists like him, will make room for conscious artists whose music can uplift our communities.   Jackson and Sharpton, you both say you’ve been working on the entertainment industry and rap artists for years.  You are both veterans of the Civil Rights movement.  You should know how to bring about change in society and corporate America.  You pull the purse strings.  You go directly for the money.  Imus’ advertisers showed you how to do it.  Pull your financial support from a company and it will change the company’s behavior.  You don’t need a town hall meeting to determine what companies are profiting from the proliferation of degrading rap lyrics.  You didn’t need a town hall meeting to address Imus’ comments; you knew then and you know now exactly who to go to.

But I’m afraid the issue may not be one of whom to go to, it may be one of hypocrisy and double standards.  You are holding your Black brothers to a different standard.  You’re willing to affect the finances of CBS, NBC and Imus when it doesn’t involve the finances of African-Americans.  But it doesn’t seem like you’re willing to tell these same companies to pull the plug on the finances of African-American rap artists.

The Imus controversy ushered in a new Civil Rights era.  It’s not Blacks against Whites anymore.  It’s Blacks cleaning up our house.  And just like the movement of old, there will be casualties for the advancement of us all.  Imus was a casualty to tell White people what they can and cannot say about Black women.  Black men, show us that you really honor Black women by making Snoop Dogg a casualty, telling all rappers and brothers what they can and cannot say to and about Black women.  I believe Black people will never be able to get true respect from others until we respect ourselves.  We cannot call each other names that we don’t want others to call us.  We must lead by example.

Sharpton, you said, “It’s not about taking Imus down; it’s about lifting decency up.”  This question is one of fairness.  Will you hold your African-American brother to the same standard you held Imus to?  If your goal was to ‘lift decency up’, then you have no choice but to use the same passion for justice with Snoop as you did with Imus.  Or do the young Black ladies in the ‘hood’ not mean as much as the Rutger’s basketball players?  I say they do.  Address your brother.  Do it for your mother, your sister, your daughter, your aunt, your grandmother.  Do it for your people.

Finally Reverends, let me remind you of Matthew 7:3-5 as it relates to Don Imus and Snoop Dogg.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

Thank you so much for reading my op-eds. I would love to hear from you. Did anything resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below.

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As always, thank you for allowing me to share in your journey to purpose. I am forever grateful.