Where Did the Love Go?

By Todd A. Smith

          The Black family structure is under attack.  From teenage pregnancies to dead-beat dads, what was once the strength of the Black community is now a glaring weakness.

            What happened to Black male and female relationships?  Are the constant derogatory images seen across the media on a daily basis the cause for the so-called decline in positive Black male and female relationships?

            Almost since its inception, hip-hop culture has taken much of the blame for the lack of love that is sometimes shown in Black male and female relationships.  But is hip-hip culture really the blame?

            On Wednesday, June 25 and Thursday, June 26 at 8:00 PM BET will air the first two segments of HIP VS. AMERICA II: WHERE DID THE LOVE GO?, the second installment of the popular town hall meetings brought about by the Don Imus controversy in 2007.  The third segment of the series will air exclusively on BET ON BLAST.

            According to BET, the town hall meeting hosted by BET News correspondent Jeff Johnson and hip-hop legend MC Lyte will focus on issues such as the images of women on television and music videos, misogyny in hip-hop, race vs. gender , Black male and female relationships and the media’s role in shaping the perception of African Americans amongst other cultures.

            Author Kim Osorio believes the lack of female video directors leads to the negative depiction of women in some hip-hop videos.  “We need to see more female directors, we need to see more female executives and we need to just diversify really what we are looking at.  It’s just one type of man that seems to be running the business of hip-hop,” she said.

            However, many rappers believe that they receive too much criticism for all that is negative in the entertainment business and turbulent Black male and female relationships, and more emphasis should be placed on parenting instead of policing rap music.

            “An artist’s job is to voice the struggle to inspire a generation of leaders.  It is wrong to put the job of raising children on the artist when it comes in the home first,” said rapper Talib Kweli.

            Furthermore, many Black celebrities feel that they have to overcome a double standard when it comes to portraying Black male and female relationships on the screen as opposed to their White counterparts who seem to face far less criticism from their community.

            Deelishis London Charles, winner of Flavor of Love 2 said, “if you watch The Bachelor and check them out, they’re not only still married, they are expecting a child, and they’re respected as having a serious relationship.  However, when we did it, and I found my mate in that household, it was looked at as though it was ‘toony’ or it was a joke …”

            Nevertheless, others feel like the choices made by some Black women are causing the decline in Black male and female relationships.

            “I will say this to all the women: If you want to change what’s going on—pick better mates.  In most cases, with these men, you know what type of men they are when you lay down with them.  You have to make a decision for yourself to pick a better mate.  If you want to change this society, close your legs,” said Mississippi rapper David Banner when asked about the problems confronting Black male and female relationships.

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