|Rappers Rick Ross & Young Jeezy had words at the BET Awards|
It's also potentially dangerous as artists like Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls could tell you - had they not both been gunned down over perceived slights and insults.
The latest ego-inspired fracas occurred over the weekend in Atlanta during the taping of the BET Awards when 36 year-old rapper/producer Rick Ross and rapper Young Jeezy (who's actually 34) apparently had words backstage. The conflict then escalated when the respective entourages of both groups had a confrontation that continued out into the parking lot and according to multiple sources, shots were fired.
It's the latest blight that gives a bad name to the industry and the thousands of legitimate rap artists across the nation who oppose violence and manage to create music without getting their faces plastered on TMZ.com. What's peculiar is on one hand you have artists who demand to be taken seriously for their creative and business/entreprenuerial skills (i.e rap artists who successfully expand their brands into fashion, sports drinks or even fast food) but then totally undermine their own public perception with highly-public confrontations or outbursts.
Remember when Kanye West totally embarrassed himself by blundering onstage during the Video Music Awards a few years ago to disrupt Taylor Swift's award moment with his unsolicited rant?
I won't even get into Chris Brown assaulting singer Rihanna after the Grammy Awards.
What's most troubling is the message that gets absorbed by young people. The same night I heard about the debacle at the BET Awards taping, I saw the horrifying news report about six teenage girls in Chester, PA who recorded a totally-unprovoked vicious assault of a 48 year-old mentally disabled woman sitting on her front stoop minding her own business; then had the audacity to post it on Facebook. The teens are seen laughing while they beat the woman.
The attack has outraged citizens (including me) from all walks of life not just in the Delaware Valley and Philadelphia area, but across the nation including Boston and Chicago. In response, assistant DA Greg Dawson is charging all six girls as adults and I agree with the vast majority of the reader-comments that all six should be locked up as an example of what happens when you prove unable to function within the laws of decent, civilized society.
Now I certainly can't blame any one rap artist or Hip Hop impresario for the sick teenage girl rampage in Chester, but I do hold the adulation of thuggish behavior and misogynistic themes that still permeates much of Hip-Hop culture, music and media at least partially accountable; and where the hell are the parents? Odds are NOT at a PTA meeting.
Neither Rick Ross or Young Jeezy were arrested for their BET Awards melee on Saturday; but if the six Chester girls were arrested and charged as adults, maybe Ross and Jeezy should be too. If for nothing else than to demonstrate that people in this society must take responsibility for their actions - and that there are consequences for acting like a fucking asshole.
On that note, I admit I don't always agree with the actions of the NYPD, and I've called them out in my blog on a number of occasions, but props to Commissioner Ray Kelly for announcing stepped-up efforts to control local gang violence in communities in New York.