You might expect that the inauguration of a new president would be a solemn and dignified event. You would be wrong.
It may not be the first time that inappropriate behavior intruded on a stately and serious event, but it will certainly be remembered as the inauguration with most overtly inappropriate behavior, perhaps ever.
I don’t mean this to be a slam at the new president, for while he is responsible for some of the shameful behavior, he is not responsible for all of it.
The first of the inappropriateness came at the end of the formal ceremony when a minister named Joseph Lowery spoke. Mr. Lowery appeared to be a dignified, elderly gentleman of the cloth, and the expectation was that he would be a dramatic improvement over Barack and Michelle Obama’s minister of 20 years, the odious Jeremiah Wright. He was an improvement – how could he not be? – but a deeply flawed one.
While most of Mr. Lowery’s prayer was acceptable, if somewhat political, which on this particular day was not unusual, Mr. Lowery did not know when he should have stopped. As he ended the prayer he said this:
“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.”
Racist? You bet. Appropriate? No way.
But the cake was taken by two rappers, one well known, Jay-Z, and one unknown, Young Jeezy. After their performance, it is evident that they rely not on talent, but on sensationalism for their notoriety.
These two clowns sullied the name of Barack Obama, a man you would expect they would want to celebrate in a positive way, and confirmed what we have known for a long time: Rap is a morally and intellectually bankrupt indulgence that is most often profane and dirty, and unfit for consumption by decent people.
It is “music” only in the most basic and un-artistic way, based primarily on primative rhythms, and lacking melody and harmonic elements.
It comes closer to being “poetry,” which I say with apologies to real poets everywhere.
Saying that rappers have “talent” indicates only that some of them are better than others at creating monotonous, gutter rhymes. Even mud-slinging, murder, rape and child molestation have their “pros,” after all.
The disgusting performance is being by hailed the MTV crowd as if their racist and profanity-laced message is something to be celebrated. It isn’t.
Here is one description of the “performance”: “Rappers Young Jeezy and Jay-Z crazily cursing their heads off and screaming ‘Nigga’ this and ‘Nigga’ that as a crowd goes wild to Jeezy’s national anthem: ‘My President Is Black.’”
With apologies in advance, here is a sample – I was about to say a “taste,” except that the word “taste” is totally out of place here – of the original lyrics of “My President”:
Yeah Be The Realest Shit I Never Wrote
I Aint Write This Shit By The Way Nigga
Some Real Shit Right Here Nigga
This Will Be The Realest Shit You Ever Quote
That’s real poetry, isn’t it? That takes real talent, doesn’t it?
If the attitude represented by this display is going to be a feature of having elected the first black President of the United States, many of us will wish for an impeachment.
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Cross-posted at Faultline USA