An open letter to black radio from Tony MF Rock

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An open letter to black radio from Tony MF Rock

June 17th, 2009 by Rodney Carmichael in Music news

Tony MF Rock (Anthony Durham) and contemporary MC Shy D pioneered Atlanta hip-hop in the ’80s via releases on Luther Campbell’s Luke Skyyywalker Records. Durham went on to play bass for the Atlanta rap-rock group El Pus and collaborate with Anthony David.

In this “open letter,” Tony Rock discusses the response of black-owned radio stations to the pay to play Performance Rights Act.

Lately black radio has been on a jihad, so to speak against bill HR 848. They’re distorting it as a bill to “get rid of black radio”, and sadly, most of their audience will not take to time to research it and find out what it actually is. Black radio, knowing that they have done the black community a disservice for the most part, has decided to fall back on the “brotherhood” crutch. Unfortunately, and predictably, black radio has made HR 848 an “us (black) vs. them (white)” issue, even going as far as to tell their listeners to call Senators and Congressmen and threaten their seats. I promise you, those that make those calls, will make damned fools out of themselves, but I digress. In a nutshell, HR 848 is simply a bill that will allow artists that perform on the records that are being played, to receive a royalty payment.

So, since people like Warren Ballentine, Michael Baisden, and others in black radio have decided to go with this “bill to get rid of black radio” nonsense, let’s play along, shall we? Black radio is “reaching out” to the same community that they have done a disservice to over the past 2 decades for help. They want us to save them. Why should we? Black radio, in its essence, was a medium to truly serve the community. Nowadays, not so much. You want us to save something that constantly bombards our children with music that denigrates women and living lawfully? Black radio was a place where talented local artists could be heard. The only local artists that get played in Atlanta are the ones who are making crap. It’s like the artists are trying to outdumb each other. Atlanta was the VERY last market to play India.Arie, and she’s from here, but unfortunately for her, her music was positive. There’s no room for that on black radio here in Atlanta!! Black radio in Atlanta doesn’t support local artists, unless they’re making music that makes the community look bad, or if they’ve gone elsewhere to achieve notoriety first.

Black radio used to be a place where you can learn something about your culture. Black people complain that they gave us the shortest month to celebrate Black History Month, and sadly, that’s a whole lot more than we get from black radio! Black radio will make you jump through hoops if you wanted to promote an event that helps the community, but they’ll gladly run promos 6 times a day for the “Miss Biggest Booty” contest at the local club next weekend. A few years ago, Hot 107.9 in Atlanta was doing a call in show teaching teens the correct way to have anal sex. Is that what you call “giving back to the community”? Really?! That’s what you want us to save?! You want us to save something that constantly markets malt liquor, predatory payday loans, unhealthy food, rent to own scams, and Pars Cars to us? You really think that crap is worth saving? When I was an artist back in the 80’s, my label turned to black radio for airplay, and they gave us alot of support…………$2500.00, a hooker, and 2 bags of cocaine later, and this happened on more than one occasion! Black radio also wants black artists to speak on their behalf. The same black artists that they were shaking down for payola, which still goes on today, but only now they force them to perform for free at the stations’ “Birthday Bash” concerts.

Do you honestly think, deep down inside that you deserve saving? There are some people willing to help you, and there are others that are willing to just let you wither away. To the ones that want to help, you need to ask black radio: What are you willing to do for the community, instead of to the community? — Tony MF Rock

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Comments

  1. Robert Jr. James McClendon says:

    I agree with the writer. I’m just sorry that the writer keeps using the word “Black” – as if people with pride, dignity, and respect, and knew something about Rev. Dr. King had to do something with tha crap. Call it “Hip-hop” radio, but Black people like myself ain’t never have nothing to do with it. Let it burn and new fertile land will grow just like in the plains of Africa. Kill the consolodation of helping ignorant people – hurt our people under the guise of a African American woman owned radio conglomeration. Kill that noise!!!

  2. dj precious paul says:

    MC Shy D used to rock the house back in the late 80′s early 90′s. I still have those albums. Tony MF Rock is right on point with this article. So-called black radio has done a tremendous disservice to the people by dumbin us down. Just like his point on India. Irie & the Atl, we rarely here common or lupe here in Chicago on these garbage stations. As a matter of fact wgci is still got the ying yang twins asking our children to look at the penis on the air. When is this sh** gonna stop

  3. Mr. McClendon, I appreciate your comment. I kept using the term “black ” on purpose. I did it, because people on the radio kept emphasizing that point to better scare their listeners. Warren Ballentine use it 4 times one sentence.

  4. Speak on it. Nice story I find nothing but the truth in it. It’s sad to say but true!

  5. ATLPr!nce says:

    Beautifully stated sir !!! As a local artist here in Atlanta, i’ve beared witness to payola first hand. You can not get quality music played on the radio here unless you have financial backers or are a ” dope boy ” that can pay program directors and dj’s to put your songs on. Hence all the dumbed down, dope boy, sambo material they play here today. it’s just disgusting !!!! Let ‘em burn. Good Riddance !! You will not be missed

  6. I LOVE THIS ARTICLE!!! I couldn’t agree w/ you more Tony MF Rock. My co-host Ms Dia of WRFG 89.3 FM in Atlanta and I are talking about this issue next week on our show from 3a-6a Tues 404-523-8989 http://www.wrfg.org

  7. TONY YOU AINT NEVER LIED THE ONLY THING I’M HURT ABOUT IN ALL THIS IS WHY ARE WE SELLING OUR SOULS 1ST IT WAS THE RADIO, THEN BET AND WE DON’T NEVER CARE ABOUT NOTHING UNTIL ITS GONE! WHEN WILL WE WAKE UP AS A PEOPLE AS SUPPORT REAL TALENT AND DO SO WITH CLASS AND DIGNITY. NOW I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM OF SPEECH ALSO SHOWING ALL SIDES OF THE PENDULUM THAT’S WHAT HIP HOP DOES SHOWS THE GOOD THE BAD & THE UGLY AND MAKES SOCIETY TAKE A GOOD LOOK IN THE MIRROR BUT LATELY THE MIRROR HAS CRACKED!

    WE ARE LOOSING OUR MINDS I FEEL LIKE THE EPISODE OF THE BOONDOCKS WHEN DR MARTIN LUTHER KING CAME BACK. TOO MUCH IDIOT BUSINESS GOING ON THESE DAYS AND EVERYBODY’S IN IT!

    JUST LAST YEAR DON IMUS WENT ON NATIONAL TV CALLED OUR WOMEN NAPPY HEADED HOES AND SAID HIP HOP DID IT AND WE ALL WAS SHOCKED & APPUALED THAT THIS FOOL COULD BE ALLOWED TO STAY ON AIR AFTER SAYING SOMETHING THIS UNPROFESSIONAL AND DISRESPECTFUL MEANWHILE THE FCC HAD JUST BANNED FLOETRY & STYLES P’S SONG ” I’M BLACK” AND NO ONE CARED! NOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE? NO AL SHARPTON, JESSE JACKSON NO ACTION AT ALL!

    WE ARE TRULY LIVING IN SAD TIMES I AM SO HAPPY THAT “DAVY D” PROVIDES THIS OUTLET PLEASE KEEP SUPPORTING REAL HIP HOP OUTLETS LIKE THIS IF YOU GOTS TWITTER FOLLOW COOLVSRATEDNEXT!

    MUCH LOVE FAM AND THIS WAS TRULY A BEAUTIFUL ARTICLE!

  8. I contend that black radio changed the nano-second that the “new” phenomenom of having a program director take control of the playlist away from the DJ found its way to black owned stations. To me that simple shift was the beginning of the corporate take-over of black/all radio stations. In corporate take-overs, it’s common for many business practices to either change, get regulated, or get eliminated. In radio’s case, the direct link between the customer and the product (the DJ) was severely regulated and eventually changed. They’re not DJs any longer. They’re “radio personalities”. That’s an entirely different thing. Instead of delivering a fan/customer requested, ever changing type of product, they now deliver a ready made, strictly formatted, non changing type of product. To me the currant format is listener dependent, but not listener driven. Program directors will defend/deny this to death. However, the truth of the matter is that the only time a listener is listened to is when their requests follow the program direction. But that’s all hidden because the product is presented in a way that makes the listener feel like they have choices. So to me black radio sold the black community out years ago and has been ‘playin’ us ever since. Now they want our support. Well, what do we get in return for our support? More of the same? Personally, I can’t support that. And at this point, even if they’re talking about change, like PE, I “Can’t Truss It”!!!! “NO, NO, NO, NOOOO” !!!!

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