It’s Just Entertainment
I recently went to see Kevin Hart’s show “What Now” and while we sat in our seats waiting for the show to begin, the sound people had music playing. Doing their jobs and playing the most current and popular Rap/Hip Hop tracks out, “I’m in love with da Coco” comes on and I see folks in there bobbing their heads and even singing along. I began to feel out of place for a moment because that’s definitely not a song that gets any play on my radio. That whole scenario got me thinking that if adults are here grooving to this, I can only imagine that our youth are too….that scared me!
People will argue that there’s no real harm in the music they listen to, the movies or television shows they watch but is that really true? If you’re talking about an adult with some Knowledge of Self and an understanding of reality versus fantasy, then no there is no real harm. But let’s talk about our easily influenced children who are lacking guidance at home. Can they decipher between fact and fiction? Do they see it as just “entertainment” or a blueprint on how to be somebody in life? There is a vicious cycle that is perpetuating itself in urban communities that keeps breeding negativity and violence.
It started in the 70’s with the rise of blaxploitation films highlighting pimps, prostitutes, drugs and violence while making popular the use of the words “nigga” and “bitch”. In the early 90’s Gangsta Rap came on the scene also glorifying pimps, drugs and violence. All of this leads us to today’s self degrading reality TV shows and even the ever so popular Fox hit show “Empire” which has caused many a heated debate on how they affect viewers. These debates have been going on since blaxploitation films hit the scene and they won’t be stopping any time soon. What harm does today’s entertainment really cause?
Studies have linked the repetitive viewing of negative images with the way one behaves. “The American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Healthy Children website notes that television violence can actually lead to real-world violent acts. According to the AAP, by the time that your child reaches his teen years he probably will have seen roughly 8,000 murders in the course of watching TV programs. Although your teen has the cognitive abilities to reason that televised violence is fantasy — unlike a younger child who may not understand this or the consequences of violence — the constant bombardment of violence may desensitize him to these acts or even make them seem intriguing, in an exciting way.” (http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/negative-influence-tv-teens-7224.html)
The definition of program is “a plan of things that are done in order to achieve a specific result; a plan or system under which action may be taken toward a goal”. Now ask yourself why what we watch on television is called “programs”. What/who exactly are they programming? If repetitive images are constantly being shown, and if repetitive negativity is being played on the radio who is it really affecting? Our youth! Our youth has been targeted since blaxploitation films and the targeting grew with the violence in Rap. Today music executives are more willing to back albums promoting “black on black” violence, drug use and degrading women than ones that promote our people to think, act and better themselves. What some adults call “entertainment” is really strategic programming focused on targeting our youth to keep Privately Owned Prisons full and prosperous.
When you find yourself debating that music, movies and television “programs” are innocent forms of entertainment, don’t just focus on your household and the relationship you have with your children think about the households that don’t have actively engaged parents. They are the ones who are more susceptible to the negative programming they’re encountering on an hourly basis. To them it’s not just “entertainment”, this is reality and something worthy to emulate.