Thursday, October 7, 2010
Growing older has given me the erudition of being a part of Black Radio and Records History. I have been privileged to have learned from some of the original 13 Black DJ’s within the United States, original Black radio programmers and Black record executives. Normally I speak from a position of respect, comprehension and wisdom, but today I am angry and very disillusioned.
How can we continue to move in a positive direction when there are fewer and fewer examples of positive role models within the entertainment community?
At the infamous Jack The Rapper Family Affair conventions an intricate part of the learning process was sitting in the lobby with the executives and learning from their conversations and meetings. These were man & women with a code of moral decency that set the standard for the industry. There were many wild stories about how they made, promoted and sold music, and contained in every story was a business insight. There has always been a greedy, unethical person in the industry; everyone knew who they were and how to treat them.
Today the subterfuge is phenomenal and the ability to unmask unscrupulous individuals has become clouded. The proliferation of businesses that prey on the unsuspecting artist, executive or entrepreneur continues to grow unimpeded.
What I now understand is that the artist, executive or entrepreneur is the main reason for the unscrupulous behavior of the businesses that they approach. We now have a mindset that success can come instantaneously and without talent or effort. The NOW generation wants everything immediately and very few are putting in the work effort, education and moral fiber needed to become a continued success. When you approach a company with the thought that they are going to listen to your music, FLIP and give you a bunch of money up front, market, promote, publicize and sell your song while ALL the time making sure that you are getting paid, you are wishing for disaster.
The morning drive radio team has the fortunate advantage to be the most listened to program on most Black and Urban based radio stations in this country. Millions of people of color depend upon this team to keep them aware of national and local events, news and music while being entertaining. As a teenager the morning drive DJ was looked up to within the community and could make a personal appearance become a traffic stopping occurrence. With this in mind you may understand why I am so concerned about the morning show teams I have heard that seem to have taken it upon themselves to destroy the Urban community.
Comedy is cool, it allows you to discharge pent up emotions, relax and forget about the trials and tribulations that you go thru everyday. What it doesn’t do is teach positive behavior to a listenership that needs it badly. When you are young and impressionable hearing your favorite morning drive host / hostess talk about having more BLING, SEXUAL ENCOUNTERS, BETTER CLOTHES, BIGGER CARS, PARTYING AND SPENDING MONEY only makes you want to be exactly like them. Where is the balance that allows listeners to know about spending limits, credit worthiness, moral decency and more?
Again I ask where are the role models that use to be so prevalent in the entertainment community. The ones chosen today are being indicted on drug charges, gun charges, petty theft and immoral behavior. Who wants their child to emulate a thug, dope dealer, harlot or money hungry con man? Where are the positive examples of wealthy doctors, lawyers, technology workers, nurses, builders, media owners, educators, store owners, bankers and more? There are many positive morally right people inside of the Urban community, the problem is that they have been covered up and looked over by the multitude of media outlets available to the public.
Media exposure is not dictated by the community at large, but by the owners of the media. Once these owners have determined what is making them the most money, they normally stick by that vision. Unfortunately the community at large is suffering from the vision that they have been exposed to for so long. Today even news has become entertainment designed to sell more advertising for the news channel owners.
Even though I write from an American perspective, this devious monetary scheme is being perpetrated in every major country on the planet. Radio & TV stations sell advertising and have no higher priority than to make money for there owners. Cell phone carriers sell hardware and carrier time and need you to use them more and more. Internet sites are loaded with advertising on so many levels that it is becoming mind blowing. ALL of these outlets are endorsing the negative behavior that makes the populace become true consumers and weaker morally.
There is profit in destroying the positive role model and creating a new vision of a role model.