By Russell Simmons
I have received so many calls asking me to further respond to Don Lemon after what he said about me this weekend. And I would agree with him that that jail fashion has become the norm, for even people like Justin Bieber, i.e. saggy pants, but saggy pants don’t make the man, the prisons do. So, instead, I would rather turn my attention to what just happened in San Francisco that brings me great hope that one day, jail fashion may go out of style.
The time has come to end the so-called “War on Drugs.” Forty years of a failed war has destroyed communities and families all across our land. Hard earned tax-payer dollars have been wasted on ineffective policies that have resulted in over-incarceration, pushing state and federal budgets to the brink of bankruptcy. We elected President Barack Obama in 2008 with hopes that he would have the political will to reform our criminal justice system, and now the day has officially come. With the extraordinary leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, I am inspired by his speech he gave this afternoon at the Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates, where he laid out a vision for a 21st century criminal justice system that is no longer focused solely on a “tough on crime” approach, but also must be “smart on crime.”
I have worked with many amazing people over the past few decades on issues of mass incarceration and poor drug policy, including all of the great civil rights groups and leaders, celebrities, men and women of faith, educators, elected officials and members of the business community. Across this country, we have worked with city council-members, mayors, state assembly members, state senators, congressional members, U.S. senators, governors and presidents on creating a paradigm shift in the way we punish those who have used drugs and those who have sold drugs. I think I can humbly say that on behalf of Dr. Boyce Watkins, myself and the over 175 people and organizations who most recently signed a letter to President Obama in April about our concern with the the mass incarceration epidemic in America, we thank Mr. Obama, Mr. Holder and the entire administration for this gigantic step forward.
Read More The Saggy Pants Don’t Make the Man, The Prisons Do | Russell Simmons.
The Prisons are the end result. The parenting in the home…..there is the root of your problem. Start with PARENTS, they set the example and or allow the example to be set by others.
Simons doesn’t want to take one slice of responsibility for any of this. It’s a wall. A total wall. He’s excuse each and every time is “artists are reflections of their plight and their conditions”. Not a direct quote, but loosely that’s his take. You know, most women don’t dress like Madonna. She’s an artist. Most women don’t walk down the highway naked, or writhe around in a gondola, or call themselves Dita and prowl around with a whip. Madonna knows this is extreme. If everyone was doing this, she’d no longer be special… and well, more women are. More artists, that is. Hip Hop is different. Hip Hop has a strong hold on its public. Whereas Madonna’s followers generally don’t dress like prostitutes to work, Hip Hop’s followers see the life a little more obtainable. Part of Hip Hop’s persona is to look hard. To have a hard life. To be from Omaha, Nebraska, from a nice school and suburb, and to smile all the time… ummm, that’s not the “profile” of Hip Hop. Simons doesn’t profile black men? Gimme a break… record companies ARE NOT GOING TO OMAHA, NEBRASKA TO FIND THE FACE, VOICES, AND BEARERS OF HIP HOP. There’s too much finance at stake. They promote the “thug” image. An image based on someone with a grudge against the establishment. If he or she has a rap sheet… better. Gay? Forget that. Street. Thug. Criminal. Then kids want to reproduce this look. They want to be their idols. They want to be that guy down the street who is infamous for his jaunt in prison. None of it is ideal in reality… Simons thinks rappers reflect the REAL LIFE in prison? Do they rap about prison sex? Male rape? Getting AIDS? Or even finding the comfort in another guy’s arms in prison when it’s not gang rape? No. What’s easier? Rap about drugs, dirty cops… b*tches and hoes… It’s all smoke an mirrors. Rap about POT! There we go… rap about petty drug crimes that launch young men into the prison system. Sure, there’s the industrial prison complex which incarcerates millions of African-American youths and destroys them for life… it’s a corporate machine which gets millions in government money. But if the industrial prison complex is the machine, Hip Hop are the greeters at the door that line the kids up to make them feel like they hit the big time.
If Hip Hop cared, there wouldn’t be such disgust when Lemon asked kids to just pull their pants up.
Simon’s likes them down… to remind you you’re still his b*tch.
More thoughts here… http://wp.me/piFbJ-b3