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Term of The Week: Coon(ing)

Author: Tafari, Thursday, April 19th, 2007 at 4:54 PM
Bygbaby.com MindspillSo last night, I was on YouTube watching Oprah's "Now What" special, which is dealing with Black life & respect within & outside our community post Imus. The program had a very specific focus on who we talk to each other & how rap & hip-hop music plagues us & creates a double standard within & outside of the color line.

While watching part 2 which is the portion in which she had Russell Simmons, Common & to other Brothers that pissed me off during the whole hour special.

The bottom line is that they basically defended the stat of Rap & hip-hop music while admitting that there is a problem & that things need to change. The panelist did a lot of talking about needed change but they mentioned very little if anything about steps to make the change happen. From what I picked up, they are willing to talk to defend the music but not willing to speak out directly to make things happen.

I think I was most disappointed with Common because he is a very positive Brother & lifts up Black woman & shit the community. So when he said that he felt that changes needed to happen but he was not willing to go against his hip-hop family to do so (I’m paraphrasing loosely).

To summarize, by the time everything was said & done with, it was 2am, I was sleepy & pissed off by watching these grown ass men make excuses for 20 years of cooning to an ass shaking beat, misogyny & homophobia.

I got in the bed & bitched at Suite Suzy about my thoughts; she then told me to shut the hell up & got o damn sleep. So I did & while I was drifting off the one word flashing in my head was coon.

With this said: Coon is the term of the week & I dedicate it to anyone who gets paid to put their people down. People who spit venomous words that ingrain hate amongst brothers while degrading our women & children.
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According to the Urban Dictionary:

Cooning is a verb derived from the word coon. A coon was/is a person of African decent whose sole purpose was/is to entertain white people. These 'coons' started out as wearing black face, characterized by having big eyes and painting big red lips on their face. These people would tap dance, play instruments and sing.

Modern day coons are blacks who play stereotypical roles and black entertainers that promote ignorance. (Source).
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History of the Coon:

The coon caricature was born during American slavery. Slave masters and overseers often described slaves as "slow," "lazy," "wants pushing," "an eye servant," and "trifling."2 The master and the slave operated with different motives: the master desired to obtain from the slave the greatest labor, by any means; the slave desired to do the least labor while avoiding punishment. The slave registered his protest against slavery by running away, and, when that was not possible, by slowing work, doing shoddy work, destroying work tools, and faking illness. Slave masters attributed the slaves' poor work performance to shiftlessness, stupidity, desire for freedom, and genetic deficiencies.

The coon caricature was one of the stock characters among minstrel performers. Minstrel show audiences laughed at the slow-talking fool who avoided work and all adult responsibilities. This transformed the coon into a comic figure, a source of bitter and vulgar comic relief. He was sometimes renamed "Zip Coon" or "Urban Coon." If the minstrel skit had an ante-bellum setting, the coon was portrayed as a free Black; if the skit's setting postdated slavery, he was portrayed as an urban Black. He remained lazy and good-for-little, but the minstrel shows depicted him as a gaudy dressed "Dandy" who "put on airs." Unlike Mammy and Sambo, Coon did not know his place. He thought he was as smart as White people; however, his frequent malapropisms and distorted logic suggested that his attempt to compete intellectually with Whites was pathetic. His use of bastardized English delighted White audiences and reaffirmed the then commonly held beliefs that Blacks were inherently less intelligent. The minstrel coon's goal was leisure, and his leisure was spent strutting, styling, fighting, avoiding real work, eating watermelons, and making a fool of himself. If he was married, his wife dominated him. If he was single, he sought to please the flesh without entanglements. (Source | Dr. David Pilgrim - Ferris State)
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Back to me:

While doing my coon surf, I stumbled across this "Yall Should Get Lynched" video on by NYOIL on Myspace & it is very fiery & on point! It's calling out rap & hip-hop artists big time for their misogynistic, negative & bullshit lyrics.

Apparently, the video was too hot for YouTube and was pulled off within 48 hours of posting. While I totally agree with the message, I was struggling because NYOIL was using some of the same lyrics that he is mad about. On the other hand, I see the message from a final straw POV & maybe NYOIL is just at the point to make him over the top pissed off.

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Watermelon Award:

If you could give a Watermelon Award to any Rapper for his/her conning ways, who would you nominate?

I would give nominations to Nelly, Snoop (even though I love his music), Lil’ Jon & his entire BME Clique, Remy Ma & Puff Daddy aka Diddy or whatever he is going by nowadays.

BTW: There is a woman in Detroit named Agnes Hitchcock who does give out Watermelon Awards to “leaders” in the Detroit/Highland Park, MI area on her public access program, which is where this I go the idea. She refers to her award as a “Sambo Ward”.



21 Responses to “Term of The Week: Coon(ing)”

  1. Cluizel Says:

    I need to stop reading your blog at work…it always makes me laugh out loud. Once I saw the picture of Lil’ Kim I knew it was over. lol.

    I would give a Watermelon award to…Diddy (he can never get too many) and whoever thought it was cool to bring club music (Lil’Jon and such) to the radio. I don’t enjoy seeing little girls recite “Get Low” or “Doo doo Brown” (I went to college in the South…I can’t even pretend I don’t like to dance/workout to some of that music)

    Wait…I had a point to this comment…OH! I am surprised at Common…I’ll have to check that out!


  2. Michelle W. Says:

    I would definitely give a watermelon award to Nelly. I would actually give him two…maybe four. Ever since that Tip Drill song was released I decided he was not the rapper I thought him to be. But then again what can you expect. I will also give on to each of the members of the Black Eyed Peas. I think they lost the black eye of that pea when the picked up Fergie.

    I am also shocked at Common, but I think he is working his way up to a Watermelon award. I love his last CD “Be”, but if you look at the CD Book you will see that the album was not only mostly produced by Kanye West, but it was also mostly written by Kanye. So Common lost a lot of cool points from the kid on that one.

    I could go on and on about the hypocrisy of Rap and Hip Hop (yes, there is a difference…) but I won’t waste the time.

    PEACE
    IAMNOTANIGGA


  3. Lola Gets Says:

    Id definitely give Lil’Jon a Watermelon Award. Hes got all these young menfolks affecting his look – locs, gold, grills, etc. Im a sister who loves natural hair on men, and have almost found myself swooning over the locs of a Lil’Jon wannabee!
    Id also give two Watermelons to the Yin Yang Wtins.


  4. Exodus Mentality Says:

    this continues to be one of the most entertaining blogs i frequent. you gets the good stuff and puts it where i can find it, and i appreciate that. your views on the issue of hip-hop have caused me to seriously reflect on

    now to the meat of the matter. you expressed how you struggle to reconcile the obviously positive message of NYOIL with his casual, and evidently well practiced, use of the same terms you find so disturbing from the targets of his diatribe. you also expressed how common and the other “defenders” of hip-hop had disappointed.you.

    i humbly submit to you that those men on Oprah’s panel face the same dilemma every day that you expressed over NYOIL. russel said you may not understand,like, or agree with the message, but it’s not fair to deny that there is a message. i could see that russell, common, and kevin were struggling to try to get people to understand that they are not against the voices that call for a better brand of hip-hop, they just don’t think you can take bad language out of the poetry when it remains part of the culture. NYOIL, as much as he rails against it, is still a part of that culture. he most likely doesn’t feel it’s completely inappropriate in his circumstance, just inappropriate in some others.

    i don’t want to seem to disparage your feelings on this. you are right to want change and to demand respect from everyone, especially your brothers and sisters.

    the obvious solution is a complete and total ban on all abusive and offensive language in public or private. it’s also the solution least likely to win popular support, even in a society where an overwhelming majority of the people profess religious affiliations where such language is absolutely taboo.

    how’s that for a disappointing contradiction? i don’t mean to offend you, but if i must offend you to teach you, is it not worth giving offense?


  5. Bygbaby Says:

    Cluziel – I hear you cuz sometimes when I check my comments & burst out on lighter & the people in my cube farm are like what the fuck are yu laughing chuckling at. Shit, sometimes I crack on the crazy shit that I write about.

    Michelle W, Lola & Cluziel – I am considering do a watermelon award weekly to the biggest fool. I actually just came up with a cute graphic. Stay tuned.

    Lola – The ying yang twins need a watermelon & cantaloupe award LOL.

    Exodus Mentality – I appreciate your challenge I don’t mind being checked because no one is ever right not to mention that there is always something to learn.

    I’m not one for censorship but I am one for not destroying my people & culture. Russell always likes to say that rap is poetry but I beg to differ. Poetry is not saying “shake that ass bitch & let me see what you got” poetry is not saying “It ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none” poetry is not saying “shake yo tittles while you sick my dick with your tongue ring”. I could go on but I think the point is made or at least I hope. We have to be careful with what we call art & poetry etc. If the Harlem renaissance where to ever be relived, & the masters came back from back then, they would surely say, this is not poetry, this is degradation.

    I know that there are so many ways to view this issue(s) so hopefully at some point hopefully soon, we can all put this in perspective & end the assault on our precious commodities.

    Much love,
    Bygbaby


  6. Maxjulian Says:

    No, you nailed it, Byg. Common was very disappointing. I expected more. The excuses were ri-fucking-diculous! Poetry? Verbal hemroids is more like it.


  7. Exodus Mentality Says:

    Is a naked chocolate Jesus art? A lot of good Christian folks don’t think so. Wasn’t the Venus de Milo considered vulgarity when it was created? Do we not celebrate it as art today? I’m only 40, and I can recall a time when half naked sculptures and pictures from Africa were considered vulgar or obscene. Who gets to decide that rap lyrics are not poetry? It may not be your idea of poetry, but can you really in good conscience deny the poet who defines himself as such?

    Don’t think that just because I am willing to concede that it’s poetry, I support the message. Nothing could be further from the truth. I look at it as cries for help from a generation and a community that has always been marginalized and victimized from within and without. The ones who glorify the behaviors and attitudes we find most abhorrent are really the ones crying out the most for help. It’s too easy for us to say they ought to know better, and demand that they mend their ways immediately. It’s much more difficult to get in there and relate to them and try to demonstrate that there is a better way.

    We agree that it would be better if no one had to live the lives that are described in some hip-hop lyrics. We agree that the misogynistic attitudes perpetuated throughout society and often graphically in hip-hop music must be addressed and rejected. We agree that there’s a lot of work to be done.

    Let’s get to it.


  8. Stephen Bess Says:

    I graduated high school in 1985. I remember when Hip Hop was just good music and I began to see it transform by the time I reached college. I enjoyed the conscious days of Tribe, and the Jungle Brothers. I can’t forget KRS-One just to name a few, but these rappers out here today are just that…COONS!! The worst thing is that they don’t even know it. They are trying to put all the responsibility on parents?? We cannont, however, forget the record companies who allow this trash to be put out. They are out to make millions on the back of these people. It’s terrible. This is a great thought provoking post. Thank you.


  9. JustMeWriting Says:

    Firstly, excellent post…I really enjoyed the read and will make note of all the links, so THANK YOU MUCH.

    Lastly, my comment. I can’t say I’m a fan of rap music and I do think there’s a difference between Rap and Hip Hop, but in regard to accountability and responsibility I really feel there is NONE that should be associated with the industry.

    The accountability is within the home. What are we teaching and NOT teaching our children. There are SOOO many things that can taint the minds of our black people as well the minds of those around us, but WE can aid or change that. The foolishness of most rap music can be isolated and eventually drowned out by the positive uprising our US.

    This has been an issue going on for a long time…(the effects Rap has on the black image) but what about these DJ’s some of the crap coming out of their mouth is CRAZY… and kids listen to that before and after they hear the Rap.

    I love Common and I don’t blame him for supporting the ART of Hip Hop…it’s not the ART it’s the ignorance of some of the FOOLS putting it out there, but they can do us no harm unless we invite and allow it.


  10. JustMeWriting Says:

    Oh…I LOVE the Coon information too. I’d give the Watermelon award to Michael Jackson…lol.


  11. Keith Says:

    Bygbaby,

    I’m down with you on this one 100 percent, and that’s only because mathematics won’t allow me to go higher. We need to keep pushing on tis one and shut this shit down. And we can’t just leave the sisters hangin’ out there alone to run with this. The brothers need to get on board.

    Real good post, man.


  12. Anonymous Says:

    Hey Tafari,
    carmelsoul here checkin in’ on your latest post- interestingly enough I was at the MAAH on thurs eve. as a panel discussion was presented by the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalist following the fallout out on the Imus issue. The title of the panel was: The New “N” Word: Fostering Cultural Understanding in Media. Panel guests included Rev. David Burlock of St. Matthew Church, Brandown Truttling, WXYZ Channel 7, Akindele Akinyemi – Syndicated Columnist, Desiree Cooper – Detroit Free Press, Catherine Kelly & Khary Fraziez – Michigan Citizen. This 2 hr. discussion focused on mainly the aspect of “what do we do now”; many points of view were discussed and expressed however as a young brother stood and proclaimed toward the end of the discussion – these type of forums are nothin’ more the intellectual masturbation and now that the problems have been aired; which included the parallelism of this denegrating verbal abuse stemming from the “hip-hop” culture; what do we do now; why aren’t we spending more time on the solutions instead of the problems. Anyhoo… we talkin’ bout it, but what are/can we really do about it. Also, there is another event(panel) that will be held on April 30 @ the Detroit Urban League Ballroom (free) and the topic of that discussion will be lyrics and the media (are we doing enough), blah, blah I don’t have the flyer in front of me but I will scan and send to you via the “space” Ok well that’s all I really wanted to communicate and yeah – I’m still pissed too. BTW will Quench essentials be participating in the BUY BLACK WEEKEND on May 25-28. I have a vendor packet if you need it. halla.
    Peace-n-Hairgrease
    Carmelsoul


  13. Bygbaby Says:

    Max – Thx for checking in & giving your POV. You know that you are one of my blogging big brothers!!!

    Exodus Mentality – We feel each other but hung up in the details & that is all good. This type of debate will keep the Afrospear moving forward as we look for solutions etc!!!

    BTW – A chocolate covered Jesus is art & the mainstream religious (who I usually call Jesus freaks) are just afraid to see a Black dick, which challenges their desire to have one in their mouth. After all it does not melt in the hand (unless you are freaky as hell).
    Never mind me I am entering my ghetto zone.

    Stephen – I love KRS 1’s you must learn just think, if all rap & hip hoppers could speak & think as well, we would not even be having this convo.

    JMW – Thx for the love & visiting. Shit MJ deserves more than a Watermelon Award with his lost ass!

    Keith – Thx for the love yet again. I am in for the long haul!

    Carmelsoul – Where you been boo? I have not seen you out & about in a while, miss you.

    Thx for the info at the session Thursday, I wish I knew about it cuz you know my azz would have been there.

    Intellectual Masturbation? Damn homeboy was bringing he heat, I wish I heard the reaction to that. Yes send me the info for the 30th, hopefully I can make it.

    Of course Quench will be at the BBE the year & you know we are gonna turn it out!


  14. T.C. Dipped Says:

    Hi Bygbaby, I enjoy reading your blog. I know I am late to the discussion but I agree that something done about this sexism, racism, namecalling, use of the N word in rap.

    That was face time for those guys on Oprah’s show. They were invited by Oprah but they were sent by the white label/distribution heads to prevent a shitstorm from potentially cutting into their money.

    Those guys on Oprah’s show have no interest in cleaning it up b/c they’ve made millions selling this stuff to white men and women, boys and girls.

    The ultimate in coonery was Russell Simmons. This is a man who launched a diversionary campaign to convince people that the Blood Diamonds conflict actually HELPS Africans. Sent by, of course, representatives of the diamond industry.

    Him, Jay Z, they will do and say anything to stay in the good graces of the big money folks, and their actions speak even louder.

    Respecting black women and girls in America actually cuts into their and the white man’s money; it’s what sells and, previously, NO ONE (particularly black male rappers) has come to our defense or thought to defend the black woman’s honor – so it continues to be open season on black women and girls in rap.

    This is why that racist Imus can pull that pathetic “they say it too” defense out of his ass. He is saying in so many words that black rappers think black women are nappy headed hos too.

    I grew up on and with hip hop but this rap shit is out of control. Like Chris Rock said you can’t really defend rap anymore. If this hatred and nastiness were directed toward white women they would be marching in front of the white house like it was a roe vs wade issue.

    But b/c we’re talking about black women and girls, not many people think it’s that big of a deal. They’ve used the black community to gain credibility to become rich and once that happens, you never hear from them again about anything that doesn’t have to do with putting money in THEIR pockets.

    But you do hear – every five minutes on the radio and every hour on the Coon Network and MTV– their contempt for black women and girls (particularly dark skinned women and girls) in their lyrics. You hear them calling black women of America who do not fit the Euro standard of beauty every name in the book to their white female and male friends as they all laugh and pop bottles.

    Like I said on the blackwomenareangry blog, not ALL of the rappers are guilty of this; just the ones who are winning and making money.

    And this brings me to another point: BALANCE. You don’t hear a balance in mainstream America of the more positive, uplifting, enlightening rap, and that is by DESIGN. People say, “well, it’s not what sells”. Well, guess who’s buying 70-80% of rap? White folks. The ultimate form of coonery is that we would rather entertain them by insulting our own people, we don’t seem to mind making money at the expense of our people. But this is the deal they make to stay in the game. It’s a sick pathology and self-hatred that sets us back but we don’t even realize.

    They are rewarded by white consumers who purchase their music b/c these same white consumers hate black women, too!

    The genre is becoming a poison, we are willing to coon it up if the price is right – and all at the expense of the black females. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.


  15. BYRDPARKER Says:

    It is pitiful , but we really cannot blame the rappers , most of them are young boys who want the good life , and have not been taught reality versus fantasy,… No i blame the record companies , as most black execs are under a white parent company , they do not do their own distribution , if the records do not bring in the numbers they loose thier company . Its a vicious circle .. And basically your asking people to stand up and be heros . Sorry heros are rare in this world now …

    So I was happy and thinking this same thing the other day , there should be an award given to the do bad people who have the means but don’t up lift the race… here is my list , and of course i agree with your choices:

    COONS
    RUSSELL SIMMONS , FOR ALWAYS DOING SOME STUPID MARCH OR CHARITY THAT DOES NOT MEAN SHIT .

    KIMMORA LEE SIMMONS , FOR BEING PROUD OF DRESSING LIKE A HO AND BEING A PUBLICITY WHORE.

    TYRA BANKS – FOR BEING ON SOME MODEL BULLSHIT . ENOUGH THERE IS NOT THAT MANY BLACK SUCCESSFUL MODELS COMPARED TO DOCTORS OR LAWYERS.

    DIDDY , FOR JUST BEING A BLINGED OUT AMOS

    DR DRE – FOR SIGNING EMINEM , AND HAVING A LOT OF BLACK PEOPLE BELIEVE HIS FLOW IS TIGHT .

    JAY Z FOR BEING A BOSS AND STILL PUTTING OUT THE SAME OLD SHIT , DAMN NUCCA U ARE CLOSE TO 40..

    BEYONCE = FOR WEARING THEM DAMN WIGS TO DEATH . AND NOT LEARNING HOW TO CONDUCT AN INTERVIEW .

    DIPSET = FOOLS FOR NOT WANTING TO HELP THE POLICE IF SOMEONE WAS KILLED

    IRV GOTTI = ITS NOT COOL TO BRAG AND BOAST HOW CLOSE U ARE TO A CONVICTED DRUG DEALER AND MURDERER , AND IT’S NOT COOL TO BE INVESTIGATED BY THE FEDS/.

    ASHANTI – ITS NOT COOL TO TAKE YOUR STYLE OF TALKING FROM IRV GOTTI , U SOUND STUPID , YOUR SUPPOSED TO BE A LADY .

    ALL THE GIRLS ON FLAVA OR LOVE .
    TO MONIQUE FOR STUPID CHARM SCHOOL SHOW .

    KAYNE WEST , GO SIT YOUR ASS DOWN , YOUR MOMMA RAISED U IN A GOOD ENVIRONMENT , WE LIKED GEORGE BUSH COMMENT ,. BUT NOW YOUR HEAD IS TO BIG..

    50 CENT , TALKING ABOUT OPRAH IS NOT COOL , WHEN U BECOME A BILLIONAIRE , AND WALK IN HER SHOES , BUILD SCHOOLS IN AFRICA , THEN MAYBE U CAN TALK .

    KEVIN LILES / LA REID , AND ALL THE OTHER SHOT CALLERS , U CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO STOP THIS POISION , BUT BECAUSE U PROBABLY WILL GET FIRED ,BALCKBALLED , AND SOME OTHER HUNGRY NUCCA WOULD TAKE YOUR PLACE ANYWAY , U WILL NOT TRY.

    TO ALL THOSE WEALTHY BLACK PARENTS WHO ARE PUTTING THERE CHILDREN ON SWEET 16 , WITH RIDICULOUS GIFTS , IT HAS GOT TO STOP …

    FOXY BROWN … HONEY MAYBE U NEED SOME MEDICATION !!

    THANKS FOR THE POST BYGBABY, IT WAS RIGHT ON TIME !!!


  16. Bygbaby Says:

    T.C. Dipped & Byrdparker – You know what, I woke up this morning with a banging headache & after reading your responses, I am suddenly cleared up!

    You are both are on so many levels T.C. you are hit the nail on the head with these DJ’s who can be out of the fucking box sometimes. They cuss, say stupid shit & obliviously do not mind being GNN (Ghetto News Network)correspondents.

    Byrdparker – It’s very difficult for me to wrap my head around the ignorance & poverty factor in regards to the rappers & wannabees. I guess I am that Negro that believes that they oughtta know better.

    So anyway, know that we are on a new week, who has any guess on the next national tragedy???? More deaths, ignorant statements or what!


  17. Bygbaby Says:

    BTW Byrdparker, your list was funny as hell but the Supersuite16 tok the cake.

    When I watch that shit when they have Black families, I just cannot believe it. I mean who the fuck needs leopards at their party. That shit is just over the fucking top. Did you see the on with the man divo?

    Bygbaby


  18. Maxjulian Says:

    This isn’t an art issue; its a commerce issue. It is commerce that drives this dubious “art”, not vice versa.

    If one of these guys took these “poetic” phrases into Joe Blow’s poetry reading they’d be laughed off the stage. Remove the beat and what do you have?!

    I rest my case.


  19. byrdparker Says:

    hi bygbaby ,
    i did not see the divo .. but i did see some little girl who was signed by pharell , i think she is a dancer .. Her mom brought her 250k to 300 k worth of jewelry .. scarry ..

    i agree they ought to know better !!! But money talks , without it you can not live ..

    who knows what will be the next tragedy .. but this imus situation will deff issue in a new age of mcarthyism.. Its funny that everyone chooses to target al sharpton!!! But to debate him u need to have your knowledge straight .

    Last night i watched hannity against sharpton , and it was hillarious , they were targeting puffy and timbaland.. Really comical . I have never heard puffy or timbaland say anything noteworthy .


  20. Sugar Says:

    Oh God! There’s so much to respond to here, but let me first say, I was disappointed in Common too. When he said, “I’m going to ride with hiphop regardless…” or whatever he said, I was shocked too. It was like they were all afraid of being seen as sellouts by those idiots, but those idiots are the real sellouts for making us look so stupid!

    For my nominee for The Watermelon Award I’d like to send up, “The Ying Yang Twins”.


  21. aulelia Says:

    Kanye West is the ultimate coon; his pseudo-style the perfect cover up.I am agreeing the most of the comments so not much to add except your subjects are brilliant, tafari!

    –A



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