Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alicia Keys is Nuts

In a recent interview with Blender Magazine, Alicia Keys blew a fuse. According to Blender, Keys claims:

“‘Gangsta rap’ was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. ‘Gangsta rap’ didn’t exist.” She says that the rivalry between slain artists Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. was fueled “by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing.”

Uh huh. What's Alicia been smoking lately, and has she been sharing it with Britney Spears?

First of all, the childish mindset behind this is simply appalling. Such beliefs are called 'magical thinking' and they're the mark of an immature mind. This isn't simply someone's well-reasoned opinion: It is, in musical terminology, a few keys short of a piano.

Secondly, I would like to make the observation that if Tupac Shakur and the Notorious B.I.G. were 'great black leaders', then the black community needs some higher standards. They were no more 'leaders' than Michael Vick was. Sadly, even though they weren't leaders, all those men were idealized by many black people.

For example, in November of 2007, Vick was named the favorite NFL star among the black youth of America. Others idealize Shakur and B.I.G. even though those men were violent thugs who died from making their own choices in life: If you go looking for trouble, you'll find it.

In contrast, these guys make Martin Luther King look like a saint. Although MLK plagiarized and cheated on his wife repeatedly, at least he preached peace and unity and overall he brought positive changes to the black community.

But Alicia's comments bring me back to something I mourned in another post on MLK Day this year:

Is Booker T. Washington so far removed from our lowered standards that he seems like an almost fictional character?

What of George Washington Carver, who made contributions to not simply a small segment of society but to society as a whole, while serving as an upstanding role model? Is he also to be disregarded because he is simply 'old school' and our modern work ethic (or lack of it) cannot come close to his standards?
My friend Rosie (who's black) agrees with me: She doesn't get it either. And there are many intelligent, educated black people who would fall in step with Rosie. But why don't more black people make better choices for their role models?

Finally, the deaths of Shakur and B.I.G. occurred during the Clinton administration. If Alicia truly believes this garbage, are we to assume she's voting Republican this year?


The Ferryman said...

My best friend at work is a black woman, and she would agree with this post 100%. She tells it like it is, and is the first to acknowledge the foibles of MLK and Jesse Jackson. So many people think that's the same thing as attacking them.

Actually, now that I think about it, Jesse is no MLK...

jeanie oliver said...

Very well said-I wondered about the mindset of Ms. Keys when I read this in the paper. I check in on your blog from time to time-I connected to it after reading some of your comments on Jeff Hodges-The Gypsy Scholar.
Jeanie Oliver

The Lazy Iguana said...

1. Who the hell is Alicia Keys?

2. What makes what she has to say so important?

3. You call it "magical thinking", I call it "not thinking". As in no thought process at all. Magical or otherwise. Think of a flat line here.

Biggie Smalls a great leader? Dude was a friggin coke dealer. And not the fizzy sweet liquid kind of coke, but the white powdery kind.

The world would be better off if all rappers got into feuds and killed each other off. The winner could be arrested and charged with multiple counts of 1st degree murder then locked up forever. Problem solved.

daveawayfromhome said...

A lot of the trouble in racial discussions in America is that there is no distinction made between race (i.e., unchangable genetic characteristics) and culture (i.e., choices made by a large group of people [I hesitiate to use the loaded word "tribe", but it's a good way to look at it if you dont think of it as a racial term]).
If you dont like, say, Snoop Dogg because he's black, then that's racism. If you dont like him because he's "gangsta", that's culturism (unless you consider all black men to be gangsters). Culturism is not racism, but the racism card has been used and abused to keep any criticism of gangster culture (which has popularly become a major face of the black population) off the table. To criticize elements of gansta culture is not the same as to oppress black people (though to use that culture as an excuse to treat all black people in a certain fashion is racist).
Criticizing African Americans for admiring criminal behavior is only racism if you believe that blacks are inherently criminal.
And for the record, white people who glorify criminal activity are no better.

As regards the lack of hero-fying people like Carver or Washington, that's hardly limited to African Americans. Indeed, most of America shows little appreciation for those who gave them so much, prefering instead to worship those who amuse them.

As for Alicia Keyes, she's obviously nuts. Maybe the comparison to Spears is correct. She's no longer a black person (though African Americans may still claim her), she's moved on to a new group: pop superstars, a group that is long on exposure but short on worthiness.
I'm going to go with Lazy here: who cares what Keyes has to say? If people who said stupid things were ignored by the press instead of (over)publicized, the collective IQ of America would go up a dozen points.

Whistle Britches said...

I can remember quite a few years ago when my younger cousin hung on overy word Queen Latifah and a few other rappers said.
He talked about them like we might talk about the Apostle Paul, or Billy Graham.

Jamie Dawn said...

Alicia spews this stuff out, and the sad thing is, I'm sure some people who read it agreed with her.
Dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb...

Anonymous said...


In my whole life I've only met 3 blacks that weren't worthless. I just stay out of the city at night and pray that a black doesn't break into my house and stab me.

The real reason I stopped by though was to tell you that I'm throwing my hat in the ring for Superintendent of Schools. I trust I have your support.

Excellent post.

I'm just curious are you getting any sex?

Mr. Grey Ghost said...

Good points about Carver and Booker T and Alicia's political rantings do need to be fine-tuned, but she is right about one thing: the media (esp. the hip-hop media) did over-sensationalize the Tupac/Biggie beef for ratings and magazine sales. I should know I was a freelance hip-hop writer around that time and to this day, feel that the press has some blood on their hands for their role in those two being killed.

Saur♥Kraut said...

Grey Ghost, interesting! But the PRESS was responsible (I don't doubt what you say at all)... hardly the US government. You'll need to write a book someday, my friend!

Krok, as usual, you're crazier than an outhouse rat. ;o) I can never tell when you're joking or not, but you already know I won't agree with you on THAT statement (about blacks). So - you're running for Superintendant, huh? You can't do any worse than Wilcox. :P BTW, did you see that Fred decided not to run for school board in Hillsborough? He just stepped out of the race. :(

Jamie Dawn, it really taints her message (whatever it might be). I'm sure you're right - ignorant people want to be spoonfed and they'd rather believe a glamorous conspiracy theory than the truthful, though more mundane, one.

Uncle Joe, hero worship of poor role models - it's more common than it ever was before. I'm very saddened by it. Look at all the people who follow Angelina Jolie, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears...

Daveawayfromhome, Excellent points! I can't add to them. Thanks for taking the time!

Lazy, :-D

1. She sang a great song once, and plays the piano well.

2. You've got me. Apparently she feels she's entitled because she sang a great song once, and plays the piano well.

3. Good point.

4. I like your solutions. Practical, but very politically incorrect.

Jeanie Oliver, I believe that I remember you! I'll have to pop over to YOUR blog now and make sure. ;o) Thanks for stopping by!

Mr. Fab, I definately respect MLK over Jesse any day. :P That man is an obvious huckster, as is Al Sharpton.

I DO adore Thomas Sowell, tho...

The Lazy Iguana said...

All my solutions are perfect.

I have said this before, and Ill say it again. If more people paid attention to what I say there would be far fewer problems in the world.

Krok would have my vote. Why not. It would be amusing.

Unknown said...

Good post. Alicia Keys' comments are ridiculous.

But they're dangerous too. I don't know how many high profile blacks really believe this conspiracy crap. But they say it and young blacks believe it. Alicia Keys is saying what a lot of blacks say: Jews make money off black musicians, the US government manipulates blacks into killing blacks, etc.

Keys is trying to wiggle out of the consequences of what she said. Don't let her do it. If she wants to be a strong racist (and she is a racist) then she needs to be consistent.

Beaver said...


And this is yet another perfect illustration of my theory that pop singers should really open their mouths only to sing or feed. Seriously.

Our own Celine Dion has been embarassing us and herself for years making political comments about the secession issue - yet another internal cultural fight.

I blame the media for not cutting that off the waves. Seriously.

A.H. said...

Nuts...of a very big and hard variety. I tend to agree with beaver: why do we (UK and USA) give such credit to pop singers? I think of New Labour courting Oasis as if they were political gurus. Mind you, when so much of politics has become spin doctoring it is perhaps understandable why those who spin albums get their views phased in.

Jenn said...

Blender Magazine?