Hip hop was birthed in the 1970s, so it's now about 40+ years old. Gangsta rap was birthed circa 1990 so it's about 20. Now, in 2017 the men who influenced, nurtured and cultivated modern hip hop are in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

And many of them now have young or coming of age daughters. 

As I've said in a previous post, daughters are a trifling man's karma. You are forced to grow up and watch her go through all of the things you put somebody else's daughter through 10-15 years ago.

When I say "hip hop influencers" I'm talking about the rappers and producers as well as the DJs who regularly have spun records that are composed of ignorant misogynist garbage. I'm talking about radio hosts who promote garbage hip hop artists to this day. I'm talking about the female hip hop and R&B artists who run behind rappers promoting and supporting everything they say (well, he ain't talking about me!). Yea whatever you say "sista."

I don't doubt that even Tupac Shakur, who has a biopic coming out soon, would today regret some of the messaging today and how it would effect his daughter if he had one.

A lot of male influencers think that because 20 years have passed, they can just sweep all their garbage under the rug and raise their daughters to be saints. But the truth of the matter is that pile of garbage is too high and wide to hide with a carpet. Your little daughters have already lifted up the corner and taken a peek.

Not Much You Can Do About It At This Point 
Hip hop influencer: your daughters will likely be negatively influenced by the culture you helped build and there's nothing you can really do about it. You can threaten every guy she ever dates, tell her to love herself, buy her the best of everything...

But she will probably still look up to women like Amber Rose, Kim Kardashian and reality stars for examples of how to conduct their lives. She will still let it slide when a man calls her a bitch or ho because "love" (like her daddy showed women). She may still make excuses for being someone's "side chick."  She will still most likely look for a man who is just like her daddy was: a player, a user, a "baller," a person of low morals.

And please don't get mad at women like Amber Rose (I can as a womanist 15 years strong but you can't). Why? Because you, influencer, paved the way for women like Amber Rose, Kim Kardashian and Chyna Black to be celebrated by pop culture. You helped to put them on the pedestal they're on. The same way you worship Jay Z and Biggie Smalls is the same way young girls like your daughters worship their new "idols."

Yes, loving your daughters and loving their mothers is the best course of action despite your past actions. But let's not act like your support of the negative aspects of hip hop has been erased somehow by time. It's still negatively affecting the youth today. Please take steps to promote more positive music that feeds love, life and hope into the youth going forward -- both girls and boys. 

And please stop promoting and permitting ignorance and misogyny in the name of hip hop. Stop it now so that the future generation of black girls and boys have a fighting chance.

CBL


While outside on a sunny day getting ready to do some yard work, I decided to listen to some of Brandy's hits from the 90s. I almost forgot how amazing some of Brandy's songs were -- you could tell that most were probably written by someone much more grown than she was at 15, but she still sang those songs with such emotion that you could swear she was going through it herself. Here are a few of my favorites:

- Sitting Up In My Room
- Almost Doesn't Count
- Baby Baby Baby

But what I also noticed about 10 songs in was that some of the messages in those songs for young women were very twisted. For instance, here are some of the lyrics from her song "I Wanna Be Down":

"I wanna be down with what you're going through
I wanna be down, I wanna be down with you
No matter the time of day or night it's true
I wanna be down

If all you need is the time that I got plenty of 
I'll dedicate all my love until you call baby 
I wanna stay by your side 
Be there to call you up 
And let you know everything will be all right"

I don't know if that's the kind of mentality I would want my 15-21 year old girl to have about boys or ANYONE for that matter -- not even their future bosses. In fact, I think that this mentality is part of what causes so many young black girls to run behind boys like they don't have any common sense. It's this "ride or die, I wanna be down" mentality that has thousands of young black girls in jail or caught up in the criminal "Just Us" system in some form or fashion. It's this desperation for the attention of men that has taught some of our big sisters and aunts that it's perfectly normal to have children with men who don't love or even care about them. It's also this "rider" mentality that caused some black women to defend OJ Simpson even though he didn't give much of a damn about any of them.

Anything???
I had this aha moment about 90s R&B a while back, but only took a mental note about it and tucked it away. What first triggered the thought (that 90s R&B music confused some of our big sisters, aunts and in some cases mommas) was the song Anything by SWV. Here are some of the lyrics that we were all dancing and grooving to back then:

"I'm down for you, and whatever you want
to do... it's all up to you, because

[Chorus:]

Anything you want, baby Gonna try to
I am gonna try to do It's alright
I'm gonna try, to do
Pleasure every way You can ride
Just to get with you If you want to
To...

[SWV]

Whatever method used, is alright with me
As long as you get to where, you need to be..."

"Whatever method's used it's all right with me?" That's basically saying a man can have his way with your body, protected or unprotected as long as he's pleased. These were the "love songs" black girls wee exposed to in the 90s.

Now let's take a quick look at the types of love songs young white girls were listening to in the 90s. Here's a sample of a song by Celine Dion ("Because You Loved Me"), who frequently topped the charts:

"You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'coz you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me"

See the difference? I don't think it's that much of a coincidence that a lot of young white girls from the 90s ended up getting married instead of being used and tossed away.

If this doesn't convince you, take a look at the music that young white teenaged girls of the past 10-15 years or so have been listening to:

- gangsta rap calling them bitches and hos
- Britney Spears
- club music encouraging them to drink and party all night long
- songs about getting high all of the time 

Is it a coincidence that the jail population of white women has skyrocketed in recent years? That there is a heroine epidemic happenings in white communities across the country? That so many white women at now struggling single moms (many with biracial babies by black men who don't love or care for them)?

Now let's take a trip back in time to the 60s and 70s, when black people were singing about being unified and loving each other as well as themselves. Black people got married and built families. Black people had a strong sense of cultural pride that couldn't be shaken.

I could go on and on about this topic (rap music in particular). But I think this is plenty to think about for now -- many of us listened to those songs by black women and took the messages to heart because we looked up to them.

Music is a Major Part of Our Culture
I recognize that there's more at play than music that causes women to make the choices that they do in life. But we would be remiss to not pay attention to the lessons of history, and this is one of them.

Responsible music is important.

Things Are Changing for the Better
I always have my ear to the ground, and I see something wonderful happening in the black community. We aren't as accepting of garbage music as we were in the past. A lot of black women are rejecting dumb rap music and demanding better. Songs by black women are much more empowering (see Janelle Monae). We're looking at our musical choices more critically and that's a good thing.

I personally believe that in about 10 years time young black girls will be empowered and confident to a level that none of us have ever seen before. And that is in part due to our decision to think more critically about the music and entertainment we consume.

I'm also encouraged by recent news that the White House, congress and private organizations are doing more to help young black girls and women have better opportunities. This is exactly what's needed to propel us into the next couple of decades on an entirely different (and more positive) trajectory.

At the same time, I think it's important that we stop and take note of things from the past that didn't work and stop history from repeating itself.

Love CBL
"Time to Thrive"


The new school of young feminism is all about sexual liberation. It's being propelled forward by high profile black women in entertainment and music. 

The ultimate idea is that you should be able to sleep with as many men as you want, in any given time period, without being labeled a ho, slut or whore.

A lofty goal. But I often wonder just how liberating sexual liberation is for the average black woman (or woman in general)?

Men sure have it easy these days. They can pretty much breathe in a woman's direction and get sex from her, and that's in part due to the "sexual liberation" movement.

I get it. You don't want anyone telling you what to do. You don't want anyone telling you how to conduct yourself or use your body. True. I do whatever the hell I want to do as a grown adult.

But let's go beyond that for a moment. What exactly is the liberating aspect of sexual liberation for women? Who benefits from it the most and who gets the sharp end of the stick? Who's really being freed?

When you have sex with a lot of men in a short period of time, you put yourself in a number of situations that could effect your basic human rights and "freedom." For example:

- Possibly becoming pregnant, but you're not sure by whom. Now you're also affecting the life of your future child.

- Possibly catching an STI or STD and not sure who gave it to you. Now you have to contact X amount of partners to warn them as well.

- Frequent yeast infections, vaginitis, other random woman's issues and buying morning after pills that take substantial money out of your budget every month.

- Giving men in general more license and fodder to spread their base misogyny, especially in public spheres thanks to social media.

- Jumping from man to man, none of whom really care about the essence of YOU, never finding real fulfillment within yourself.

There isn't a whole lot that I find empowering about any of those situations.

When I was 20 I had an abnormal pap smear. I was very shocked because I always used protection and was choosy about the guys I chose to sleep with etc. But what I learned from the GYN is that some abnormal cells can develop even from protected sex. 

Let's not even talk about the feeling of momentary enslavement if you have to wait for the results of an HIV test. Especially if you know you've been with a lot of men in a short period of time. Is that scenario freeing for a woman?

These are questions and thoughts to challenge the current wave of new feminism that completely and blindly embraces sexual "freedom." I believe that bell hooks and a number of other feminist voices have started to chime in on this issue because they see where this type of thought pattern can lead when it comes to women's overall health and well-being.

The point of these challenges to sexual liberation is not to oppress or shame women. It's about prioritizing yourself and your needs as a woman. Despite what you may see everyday in American culture and media, there's a whole lot more to being a woman than using your body and looks as your main source of expression.

Love
CBLady 



If you speak your mind you're an angry and bitter bitch.

If you don't speak up for yourself you need to do better and demand more from life/men.

If you save yourself for the right one, you're a prude bitch.

But if you sleep with everyone that you meet you're a nasty ho.

If you wear a weave you're a self-hating black woman who wants to be white.

But if you rock a 4c natural you don't take enough pride in your appearance. 

If you have goals, aspirations and respect for yourself as a black woman, you're a snooty, condescending beeyotch who "don't need a man."

But if you rely on the government or a man to take care of you you're a welfare queen/gold digger.

If you fight for the rights of your skinfolk you're just "trying to be like Rosa Parks," searching for the limelight.

But if you choose to sit back and let the men handle it for once, you're a "sellout."

What "they" think (whoever they may be for you) should be the last of your concerns as a grown adult woman. You have to conduct your life in a way that feels comfortable for you.

Do everything that you do for YOU.

Don't abstain from sex with every guy you meet because you're afraid of being called a ho. Do it because you value your sexual health and don't want to sit in a clinic wringing your hands for hours.

Don't go natural because someone says you're not "real." Do it because that's what makes you feel good.

Don't hold your tongue because someone might call you an angry black woman. Do it because you personally have decided to choose your own battles.

Choose to make your money in a way that feels comfortable and right with YOUR OWN spirit -- not what someone else deems appropriate.

If you're going to be on the front lines of *any* movement, make sure you're doing it for the right reasons (your own reasons) -- not to fit into someone else's mold of what you "need to do."

Do what you do in life for YOU. Every day, every moment, every millisecond of your life.

Amen.

Love 
The CBLady




I caught the reunion episode of a reality show called the R&B Divas of Atlanta. I didn't watch the season, but clearly there was some major tension between a few of the ladies.

The show was hosted by Joe Clair, a black male comedian who was really there to just play up on the drama. That he did, and the women just disrespected him, yelling over him as if he wasn't even there. It got to the point where he had to call in assistance from Sheryl Lee Ralph -- a woman I have always admired for her style, elegance and grace. As soon as Ms. Sheryl walked into the room it got quiet and everyone seemed to feel ashamed of themselves.

It was as if something magical happened, because the conversation immediately changed. Instead of pointing the finger of blame at the next woman, the women started talking about how disgusted they were with THEMSELVES for making a fool of themselves on television.

The Real Issue Is Within
If you have a lot of struggles and arguments with the people in your life, it may be time to do some personal soul searching. Whenever you get angry with another person, there's a problem inside of YOU. No exceptions.

Something about that person just burns you up, right? There's a good chance that the trait you don't like in that other person is one that you don't like in YOURSELF. Or maybe it is a trait you secretly wish you had.

We are the most angry with ourselves. Think about it.

The women on that show were clearly angry, but not at anyone else -- they were angry at themselves for some reason. Maybe they were having problems at home. Maybe they were angry at themselves for not reaching their full potential as singers or for the way they were being portrayed on television. They didn't know what to do with that simmering inner rage, so they simply chose to take it out on a fellow sister in the struggle.

If you have a lot of problems with the people in your life, be honest with yourself about what the real source is -- it all comes down to you. Once you really deal with that, other people will have a hard time getting you to come out of your character.


Posted by: CBL


In one of my very rare moments listening to the radio while driving, I heard this new singer that everyone has been raving about. The beat is catchy and makes the song addictive. The chorus goes:

"We'll never be royals... "

Over and over and over again.

I wake up in the morning the next morning and for some reason that refrain is playing in my head.

"We'll never be rulers..."

Out running errands the song is still playing over and over.

"We'll never be royals...It don't run in our blood..."

Until I finally had to recognize and call out what was going on. I get what she's trying to say overall; that they don't need all the bling and things to be happy. But I also think that the song is appealing to a generation of young people who just want to give up on everything. They don't have much hope or inspiration to be great.

So I had to openly state: listen, you might never be royal, but don't try to put that on me sister! I am whatever I say I am (no matter what someone else may think) so if I say today that I am royal then I am. Simple.

Failure or success (whatever that may mean to you) doesn't run in someone's blood. It's a choice we make every day. Yes, people are struggling, but they don't have to accept that as their reality forever and just give up on trying to have what they really want in life.

To be fair, it's not just about this particular song. This happens with pretty much all catchy songs that you can't get out of your head -- especially in hip-hop and pop music. It's part of the reason why I avoid listening to the radio.

If you keep saying that same negative message to yourself over and over again eventually it's going to seep into your subconscious. You'll start to believe it to be true for you.

It's almost like you're chanting or casting a spell -- you have to snap yourself out of it and come back to your senses.

The Formula


Musicians in the music industry know the formula to create a song that will catch on quickly. You need an almost trance-like beat and a chorus that is hard to forget. The chorus has to be repeated over and over again.

When you have that formula it really doesn't matter what you say in the song -- the artist could be chanting "I'm a dummy yo, I'm a dummy yo. I'm a dum dum da da da da dummy" -- and most people will still repeat it over and over again as if they are in some sort of trance.

I don't know if musicians, writers and producers are creating choruses with negative messages for a diabolical purpose, or just because that's what the marketing people think will sell. All I know is that we're hard-pressed to find music these days that has us waking up with positive lyrics on our minds.

Please be careful of what you're listening to on your iPod or on the radio.When you put those earbuds in your ears, what are you dumping into your brain? Those messages could be affecting your entire day and how you perceive yourself.

Let music be a soothing release that inspires you to be great -- don't let it tranquilize your mind.

Posted by: CBL




I created this site as a place to present ideas and opinions in support of black women and girls. I choose to use a pseudonym because I'm not trying to create a personal platform for myself here -- I want this to be a strong informational and motivational resource.

At the same time, I realize that it can be beneficial to young girls and women to know that someone can relate to many of their current experiences. I would also like for young black girls who may be going through a troubling time to feel comfortable enough to reach out for help when it's needed -- whether it's from me or one of my followers. I want this site to become a sort of support system and motivator for black women and girls.

So I'm going to give a few facts about myself here. If you have a similar experience and have a specific question about how to get through it, email me here -- your question might be published on CBL.

Facts About the Classy Black Lady
- I'm a prolific independent writer
- I'm a small business owner
- I went to an Ivy League university and have been "the only black girl in the room" for much of my life
- I pledged and joined a sorority
- I amassed a large amount of debt early on in life (early 20s)
- I have had major struggles with money in the past
- I have held all sorts of odd jobs in my life from retail to data entry to bartending during my years of self-discovery
- I was once in an abusive relationship
- I was teased as a young girl and only "swanned" after high school
- I have been engaged
- I have gone through the experience of losing someone very close to my heart
- I have had anger issues, and made it through periods of depression 
- I am very creative and a vivid dreamer

I think that this is a pretty good list of the experiences that many modern black girls and young women may go through. If you have a specific question related to one of these experiences that you're currently facing, I will do my best to address it either via email or in a blog post (you won't be named) at CBL Thrive.

Love,
The Classy Black Lady


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