By Christopher “Flood the Drummer®” Norris
6.2.16: National – (Media): Odd it is that an American artist of means – one who’s worth his weight in platinum and who has more than normal access to media and capital – would portray himself as a vulnerable victim of art, a man defenseless to the power and influence of broadcasting, but yet here we are, with Mr. Cordozar Broadus, Jr., whose better known by his stage name, Snoop Dogg.
To be clear, Mr. Broadus isn’t unique in his victim-hood but rather he joins a growing cohort of recognizable American entertainers who often lament their industry’s short-comings without applying visible or measurable effort on mitigation: for example, producing creative works that balances and/or enhances the view of a person (or group of people), place or thing.
Mr. Broadus, a popular producer, rapper and actor – though the title actor, if we’re to being honest, is a bit of a stretch for a man whose on-screen personalities aren’t a drastic departure from his public persona – this week expressed great frustration, using profane language to do so, with the remake and airing of ‘Roots,’ a critically-acclaimed slavery-centric creative work that, in the opinion of the California-born multi-platinum artist, serves only to remind African-Americans of their once subservient and subhuman place in the nation and world.
To intensify his opposition, Mr. Broadus called for a boycott of the work, and then asked what I assume is a rhetorical question: “When ya’ll gonna make a series about black success?”
An equally rhetorical question was asked by African-American actor, producer and television host, Mr. Nick Cannon, in response to the release of ‘12 Years a Slave’: “Why don’t they make movies about our African kings and queens?”
Never mind that in existence – in the past and present – are television series that highlight black success. And forget the fact that movies about African kings and queens have been produced and distributed: there are at least two about Shaka Zulu, a great African king and warrior, and in the 21st Century, at least two have centered on King Tut, who was a child monarch.
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What struck me hardest about the two men’s statement was their instinct to – with the use of “they” and “ya’ll” – assign responsibility to tell significant and asset-orientated historical stories about Africans and African-Americans to anyone other than themselves. Though they both in the same breath later acknowledged their capacity to do something about their complaint – Mr. Cannon in 2013 said he was going to start developing a film about “Akhenaton and his beautiful wife Nefertiti” and Mr. Broadus issued a call to action, saying “Let’s us create our own sh*t based on today, how we live and we inspire people today” – their statements were nonetheless reactionary and came from a place of frustration and victim-hood.
Both men, prior to release of either ‘12 Years a Slave’ or 2016’s ‘Roots,’ were in the position to produce and distribute to large audiences creative works that highlight black success and/or royalty. But neither one did, and that’s because they either don’t see themselves as the right messenger to present serious works of culture and race, or they’re simply risk-adverse, meaning they prefer to, instead of investing in substantive historical and racial pieces that changes attitudes and debunk myths, make and finance pop-culture and humorous media, which is perceived to, more often than not, attract general audiences and pay-out dividends. In their rage, men like Mr. Broadus and Mr. Cannon become idealist: they feel empowered to change the world through storytelling, excited to tread what they perceived are unchartered waters.
But when the outrage wears off, those guys revert to their pragmatic nature, putting their name on, and their brands behind, the types of creative work that’s less concerned with preserving and promoting black history and more focused on turn-out audiences and garnering profits, or in other words, upholding the status-quo.
Mr. Broadus is incensed now, and his self-righteousness is providing him with a healthy dose of earned media. But if I were to guess, I’d say Mr. Broadus’ anger won’t translate into the creation of meaningful or substantive video content that enhances the world’s view of Africans or African-Americans. Instead, Mr. Broadus, and those who join in him in the complainant class, will more than likely leave that job open for “them” and “ya’ll.”
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Thanks for reading. Until next time, I’m Flood the Drummer® & I’m Drumming for JUSTICE!™
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