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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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The finger has to be pointed towards us women because those songs are selling and it is not just males

that are buying them. We continue to buy CDs that denigrate us and even worse are those women that

continue to flash their 75% naked bodies in music videos. As long as there is a market, it will never stop.

Suge  Knight                                                                                                                                 Jane Musoke-Nteyafas



Hip Hop CDs

Straight Outta Compton (Priority, 1988)  /  Ghetto Music: The Blueprint Of Hip Hop (Jive, 1989) 

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50 Cent CDs   Get Rich Or Die Tryin'  /  The Massacre   / Guess Who's Back  / Power of the Dollar

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Books on Rap & Hip Hop


Todd Boyd, The New H.N.I.C.: The Death of Civil Rights and the Reign of Hip Hop (2003) / Sharif Responds to Todd Boyd / Is Hip Hop Really Dead?


Brian Cross, It's Not About a Salary... Rap, Race and Resistance in Los Angeles: Rap, Race, and Resistance in Los Angeles (1993)


Tricia Rose, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (1994)


Russell A. Porter,  Spectacular Vernaculars: Hip-Hop and the Politics of Postmodernism (1995)


Bakari Kitwana, The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture (2003)


Imani Perry,  Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop (2004)

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Enough with the Poisonous Lyrics

Women’s Role in Hip Hop

By Jane Musoke-Nteyafas

Toronto, Canada



Sunday, 28th August, 2005

Many black women (and men) have had enough of hearing music that denigrates them. It seems as though many people are cashing in from lyrics that describe us as ho’s and bitches. I am a generation x baby or the name now seems to be the hip hop generation. I was born in the late 70’s and I am confident enough to say that I am a young beautiful black woman. I am confident enough to write that I do not feel that woman-bashing lyrics are addressed to me in particular, but I am observant enough to see how they subconsciously and directly affect ALL black women.

When I heard my two-year-old niece dancing to and clearly singing the words ‘ooh, ah, oh baby oh baby please’ and ‘do me baby, oh’ that rang bells of alarm in my brain. Her five-year-old sister knew all the words to ‘It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes’ by Nelly. This negative conditioning apparently starts from the early baby stages. Black women are being negatively and wrongfully represented in hip hop lyrics and we can no longer sit down and permit this to continue.

When I was a tweeny and growing up, expressions like video vixen and video ho were non existent. It was while I was in my late teens that these expressions started taking prominence. It started very subtly with people like Snoop Doggy Dog rapping about “it ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have her.” Innocently and naively I nodded my head to the banging beats but it was only after I was a few years older that I realized the implications of those lyrics. But from then on from the late 90’s well into the 2000’s, matters just seem to explode into full blown vituperative lyrics. It seems that the more attractive the beats are the more unconstructive and harmful the lyrics are.

An African Canadian male friend of mine always says that people that name call and curse do so because they lack the intellectuality to express themselves in a proper manner and they have a very limited vocabulary. Very harsh words but definitely food for thought.

I am an avid fan of watching interviews, hearing interviews, and reading interviews. I love getting to know people and one of the best ways is by analyzing their interviews, especially those on television because you can also read into their body language and gauge whether or not they are convinced by their own words. A small nervous tic, an eye that won’t quite look at the camera, an uneasy cough when certain words are being said, there are many dead giveaways that there is a degree of lying going on. 

I am always amused by those hard core thug rappers that say things like they would never let their kids watch BET (Black Entertainment Television). The best ones are those that say they never allow their children to watch their own music videos on BET. Some of them are even female rappers that are unashamedly wearing skimpy clothes as they are being interviewed, surgery augmented breasts spilling out of their tops. That implies that they are FULLY aware of how poisonous their lyrics and materials are. They are fully aware of how negative, denigrating, disrespectful, non-nourishing, self-esteem destroying and dangerous these lyrics are.

The finger has to be pointed towards us women because those songs are selling and it is not just males that are buying them. We continue to buy CDs that denigrate us and even worse are those women that continue to flash their 75% naked bodies in music videos. As long as there is a market, it will never stop. As long as there is a supply of beautiful young women that are ready to jiggle and wriggle their wares for a few dollars, or even for no dollars these videos will never stop. They justify themselves by saying that actresses do it and that those that are offended by it, should turn their TVs and radios off or flip to other channels.

What they do not take into consideration is just how successful the most negative elements of hip hop music have been imported to the rest of the world. Huge billboards celebrate it, several television channels support it, the radio channels play it, and all the advertisement and commercials down to selling cars use it and use the same pitch of hard core sex-selling to sell their wares. Sex has always sold to some degree but hip hop has stamped its approval on it and this has spilled into many other sectors. So that would mean you would literally have to become blind and deaf to tune it out. You cannot hide your kids from that negativity unless they become hermits or move to Mars. 

Even in the deep villages in Africa, and South America people are listening to hip hop, sold into it by the intoxicating beats. So your children may not see it in your homes but they have friends and not all parents are strict about these things.

Besides, I have to ask the question, is it ok to protect your own children from your own lyrics and those of your clique and yet fill other people’s children’s heads with all this garbage? Is it fair to blame other parents for not banning their kids from watching material that you are producing, material that the children will have access to in some way shape or form even if they are from the best families in the world? Is it fair to throw responsibility for your negativity and trashing ways on other people?

The fact that sex is selling hip hop brings out two points. What has happened to the talent? Hip hop used to be a medium to spit ill, poetically profound, politically aware, socially conscious, creatively unique, intellectually original, soulfully inspiring lyrics with positively charged messages in the lyrics. But right now, it seems that there is a formula that gets your music banging on radio stations and selling records.

 The mélange includes a drop of bling bling—showing off your wealth, cars, and diamonds;  a spoonful of women bashing and including how many women you had sex with, you have to show off your masculine sexual prowess even if you look like a gorilla; a stirring of sexy, ass jiggling, bikini clad women that would not have paid attention to you if you had no money—but hey, if you want to delude yourself and keep your heads in the clouds it’s your prerogative; a cup full of gangsterism—after all you have to prove to the world what a thug and stud you are; and finally a pinch of ghetto glorifying. 

Make sure you have all these ingredients and you will make it, even if you are just repeating the same lyrics all over again. Don’t forget adding guns, pimping, drugs, and violence! That will make you a winner!

All sarcasm aside, the second issue is why are the women doing it? Why are they taking off their clothes to enhance other people’s marketability? Fame? Wealth? Acting gigs? Modeling gigs? Fun? Association with the artist? Is it all worth it? 

Half the time these same artists are dissing video ho’s that show up in different videos. Very unflattering lyrics about them have been written. Many rappers say that they prefer using new girls each time and so the shelf life of a video ho is very short. A very miniscule number are even seen in glamour magazines as models or on the big screen as actresses. Which begs the question, what is the point?

What is less spoken of in the media though, are the women that do not make it as video ho’s but still play a part in perpetuating the negative image of black women out there. These women are often mentioned to in these distasteful lyrics and they are even more dangerous than the video ho’s. They are the source of inspiration for many a song and the reason why many hip hop artists lists of women that they have slept with are as long as a plane flight from here to Australia. 

These are the groupies that follow these artists around. There have been many stories about women being raped by some of these artists, but as a woman your credibility is already shot when you are found alone in a hotel room with a drugged up or drunk perfect stranger. These same artists do not respect these women and at the end of the day, they will go look for a decent, unadulterated, woman with principles to marry. It’s a double standard, I agree, but these women have a role in their own mistreatment.

A friend of mine from Montreal told me a story that brought the point home. She mentioned that some  African American group went to Montreal to perform. As expected after the show many young females, many of them barely legal, threw themselves at the artists, and a few ended up in the hotel rooms. While the rest of the girls were shacked up with the artists and their entourage, two of the girls came back to their senses. They had just wanted to see the artists in person and interact with them, but they were not interested in opening up their legs for anyone. So they refused any of the sexual advances from the men and stayed downstairs in the lobby where they had a great conversation with two of the artists and went home after that without having compromised their morals and dignity.

What happened after that is interesting. While all the other girls were showing off that they had slept with the artists and their entourage, down to the drivers, they never heard from any of these men ever again. But for the two girls, it was different. They got call backs from the two artists they had conversed with, who went out of their way to contact them despite their busy schedule. These men respected the fact that the girls had respected themselves and sent them money, tickets, jackets from the group, other memorabilia and kept in touch. But the other girls had nothing to show for their association. Point taken?

Women, we have to stop this cycle. We have to stop this cycle of hatred. We have to put our feet down and let our voices be heard. Our daughters are being affected by these self hating lyrics. Our sons are looking up to these hip hop stars as role models. Millions of dollars are being made, but also millions of young souls are being misled, and taught wrong messages. Freedom of speech is allowed but how much hatred can be churned out? 

All artists need to take responsibility for what they produce, including hip hop artists. The unchangeable fact is that a significantly colossal market for this lyrical madness is children. All marketing agencies for most industries are aiming for tweenies, teens, and generally people under age 24 and so responsibility is key. Hip hop artists need to take responsibility for the damage they are causing. My thought is that Malcolm X and Martin Luther King must be turning in their graves right now.

Are there positive hip hop artists out there? The answer is a resounding most certainly! Yes, the list is endless but they are not being supported enough. We have artists like Common, Lauryn Hill, Wycleff Jean, KRS One, Mos Def, Paris, Azarel, Dead Prez, The Roots, De La Soul, Talib Kweli, Black Eyes Peas, Arrested Development, Chuck D & Public Enemy, Speech, Guru, Roots Manuva, MC Lyte and so many more. 

If that list is not enough to satisfy you can also try some R&B artists such as Erykah Badu, Eric Bennet, India Aire, Musiq Soulchild, Jill Scott, Les Nubiens, Angie Stone and Sade. There is a world of music out there. Have you ever heard African music? People like Youssou N’dour, Lucky Dube, Angelique Kidjo, Suzzana Owiyo, Cesaria Evora, and Me shell NdegeOcello? What about Haitian, Cuban, English or Canadian music? The list is endless . . .

How am I contributing as a black woman? In several ways including writing this article and starting a musical and poetical revolution using my poetic skills. I am joining women like Mc Lyte in this revolution to challenge the status quo. This poem [see below] is my stand as a black woman regarding the general situation of hip hop today and how I feel as a black woman and as an artist. Let us all spread the message and bring about positive changes. Change starts with individuals. You do not have to be a celebrity or rich to effect change; you just have to follow the Nike logo and ‘just do it!’ This poem ‘Musical Revolution’ is open to be reprinted by the Public Domain

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Musical Revolution

                     By Jane Musoke-Nteyafas


This is a musical revolution

This is a lyrical revolution

This is a poetical revolution

This is a wordology revolution

This is a phraseology revolution

This is an ideology revolution

This is a respectology revolution

This is an imagery revolution

This is a dictionary revolution

This is a humanitarian revolution


We refuse to take off our clothes.

we refuse to be ho’s

we refuse to play these games

we refused to be called names

just to sell

just to tell

our souls to the public

our stories to the public

our music to the public.


We stand on merit of our poems

We stand on merit of our songs

We stand on merit of our talents

We are calling for a change

and do not call us deranged

if we want to be portrayed

in a more positive light

in fact we are the light

that brings you delight

and brings you insight.

We take you to creative heights

Our words sing with sensual sights

We shout our message with might.


We are the female voices

that are making positive choices,

enough with the sexual noises.

We are the messages

of beautiful womanly images.

We do not need to strip

in order to make that video clip.


We are beautiful even with our clothes on,

we’ve got brains that can turn you on.

We refuse to show you our breasts

just to boost our record sales.

Isn’t it enough that we tell tales?

We refuse to jiggle in thongs

just to sell our songs.

We refuse to wiggle

what our mamas gave us

instead we choose to juggle

with the gray matter that our creator gave us.


We be the poets

We be the singers

We be the rappers

We be the artists

We be the writers

We be the creators

that are calling for a change

calling for a change

calling for a change

calling for a change.

This is a musical revolution.   

Copyright Jane Musoke-Nteyafas ã2005 /Written Monday 15th August 2005

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Jane Musoke-Nteyafas, poet/author/artist and playwright, was born in Moscow, Russia and currently resides in Toronto, Canada.  She is the daughter of retired diplomats. By the time she was 19, she spoke French, English, Spanish, Danish, Luganda, some Russian and had lived in Russia, Uganda, France, Denmark, Cuba and Canada. She won the Miss Africanada beauty pageant 2000 in Toronto where she was also named ‘one of the new voices of Africa’ after reciting one of her poems. In 2004 she was published in T-Dot Griots-An Anthology of Toronto's Black storytellers and in February 2005 her art piece Namyenya was featured as the poster piece for the Human Rights through Art-Black History Month Exhibit.

She is the recipient of numerous awards for her poetry, art, and playwriting and is becoming a household name in Toronto circles. She is a columnist for Bahiyah Woman Magazine and is also a fellow for the Crossing Borders-British Council Writers Programme.

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter


#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.” We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper's wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man's turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners' plans to give him a "necktie party" (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by "the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn't operate in his own home town." Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson's magnificent, extensively researched study of the "great migration," the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an "uncertain existence" in the North and Midwest. Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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