Our Thoughts on Michele Obama & Fantasizing about Ballers and Rappers

MichelleObama-225Michelle Obama gave a speech over the weekend at Bowie State saying that too many Black kids fantasize about being ‘ballers and rappers’..Her exact quotes were as follows…

Today, more than 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, more than 50 years after the end of ‘separate but equal,’ when it comes to getting an education, too many of our young people just can’t be bothered,”

“Today, instead of walking miles every day to school, they’re sitting on couches for hours, playing video games, watching TV. Instead of dreaming of being a teacher or a lawyer or a business leader, they’re fantasizing about being a baller or a rapper,”

She concluded that many Black kids think getting an education is acting white… Her quote was “reject the slander that a black child with a book is trying to act white.”

Damn Michelle who the hell wrote your speech??

Lebron James and ObamaA few things to think about.. First lets just go on record and note, those ballers and rappers that many fantasize about, played a key role in getting Michelle and her husband into the White House, not once but twice..From Lebron James to Jay-Z to Will I am to Common to Beyonce who the First Lady famously asserted was role model for her daughters, were all up in the mix during their campaigns and subsequent inaugurations..These rappers and ballers went out and engaged their fans, by doing songs, concerts and special appearances  to go to the polls and vote in what we are now seeing to be record numbers..

If we really wanna keep it 100.. I saw Diddy and Jigga hanging out at the inaugurations in 08 and not prominent scholars like a Cornel West who actually went and campaigned in 60 + cities for the president. We’ve seen countless pictures of rappers all up in the white house..Why wouldn’t a kid fantasize about being a rapper or baller when its them hob nobbing with the Obamas not his teacher or preacher?

JayZ at White HouseSecond point.. For the love of God, lets dispel with this 25-year-old cliché first uttered by Spike Lee back in the late 80s at the height of the crack epidemic about Black kids not wanting to read because it would make them appear white.. People who are trying to do the tough love thing have been running with that quote for far too long and it has no bearing in reality.

In the age of Youtube, the Internet and other forms of technology we have all sorts of cross pollination taking place. You have some kids in the hood rocking skinny jeans and skateboard gear made popular by white kids and in the burbs you will see white kids rocking a hat to the side and sagging pants made popular by their Black counterparts. Slang and patterns of speech are damn near universal at this point in time. In short if we’re going by style of dress and surface mannerisms one can question about what does it mean to be Black or white?

If we wanna talk about Black kids reading books and stereotypical perceptions behind that, we have to couch that in the context of disparities in education and how that plays out on the ground.

President Obama and Common

President Obama and Common

The fact is many of the ballers and rappers who kids MAY fantasize about are actually moguls in their own right with lots of money and perceived power which many have come to understand is the result of them having hustle, a willingness to grind and intelligence to navigate the systems before them.. Whether its Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Common, Rick Ross, Kobe  or Beyonce, you name it all have made it abundantly clear their success was the result of them grinding ..

Its been made clear their mogulness has been the result of them soaking up game and learning the business aspect of the worlds they enter. As Jay-Z once famously rapped..I’m a businessman, I’m a Business, Man If that hasn’t been made clear, its up to people like Michelle Obama to highlight that aspect vs deriding one’s ‘fantasy’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyvMMBNuXMY

Comments

  1. I think you are missing the bigger picture. Mrs. Obama is merely stating that your chances on becoming a SUCCESSFUL ‘baller or rapper’ is pretty much zilch as oppose to obtaining a 4 year degree or a trade. I have personally heard young Black 8, 9 & 10 year olds say they want to aspire to Lebron’s status while in that same setting, the White kids are talking about becoming biochemists, business men & women or even teachers! What’s even more disturbing, I recently spoke with a 17 year old boy who was talking about moving to Atlanta to get his rap career started after high school…and oh by the way…he’s not even sure if he’ll graduate on time! Is it wrong for someone like a Michelle or Barack Obama to tell our kids to aspire to something that don’t involve the entertainment/sports business? I didn’t hear a diss towards the rappers and ballers (atlhough, with the example some of them are setting for our youth, a diss is in order) but just some real talk that if some of them listen will keep them competitive with other young people.

  2. Totally agree with your post Nuri.

  3. The kind of education that made us stereotypes. Got us thinking that we black. I’m liberated not educated. If you also think that we black, then you’re color blind. Phuck the system!

  4. Great post, Davey D!

  5. The point is, the Obamas made the same tired, stereotypical speech before an audience of BLACK COLLEGE GRADUATES. Is there no message for the ones who DO aspire to be a biochemists, engineers, teachers or whatever? You aint got ish to say to them when they graduate and are still likely to be unemployed with their college degrees and school debt because of the economy and racial discrimination? Our kids don’t always aspire to be these other things because of lack of exposure. But don’t tell me the Obamas had to give the same tired message about pulling up your pants and stop being lazy because of all of the “other” black people that will possibly hear these speeches. They were deliberately condescending and dismissive of the hundreds of students at those two universities who worked their asses off to buy into the system. No message for them? That’s bananas. And it should be unacceptable. Stop making excuses for the anti-black black president! Yall got more excuses for him than a little bit. Geez!

  6. Let’s be real, why wouldn’t black kids want to be ballers and rappers? They have done way more for the black and inner city youth than Obama. Under Obama poor and working class people have suffered greatly. He has not given back to anyone except wall street. At this point in the game I would want my kid emulating talib kweli or krs one over the president. I don’t know of a single baller or rapper with as much blood on his hands as this president.

  7. @mstee Yaaaassss! If she was really concerned about Black kids being “ballers and rappers” she wouldn’t have even contemplated saying that Beyonce is a great role model for her daughters. Who is she kidding?

  8. TIME TO GET REAL !!!!!

    What is a baller ?? Someone who thinks he has or may have a lot of cash in a very short time frame.
    Rappers with money… 95% of rappers have absolutely no money !!!!!!!!!!
    The ones that claim and grandstand probably knock about 75% off. People with the real bucks don’t need to talk about it.
    if YOU THINK YOUR GONNA MAKE IN THE DRUG GAME YOUR NOT !!!!!!!
    You are nothing more than a mule ; an expendable piece of SHIT for the one in one hundred thousand guy ; who has already insulated himself because he has the money to pay off the politicains and law enforcement and has provided himself private security. This same guy will eventually probably not make it either.
    60 % of NBA player go broke 5 years after the games up.

    90 % of the real mafia La Cosa Nostra ends up in one of three places : dead , incarcerated or broke. The other 10 % ends up in WITSEC. If you dont’ know WITSEC google the slang.

    Peace,

    Nick

  9. By God’s grace we are able to change.
    Lets preach or if you will rap love , respect, respect and respect for everyone regardless of race, gender or religion.

    I grew up in a very urban environment. The temptations are there. Youngsters if you have a $6 an hour McDonalds job or a quote “business hustle opportunity that in 2 days will pay a whole summer of your Mcdonalds job ” . Mcdonalds is the answer.
    Get your hustle on with a real pay. You will grow stronger from the INSIDE .

    Why ? EASY MONEY = YOU BEING CONTROLLED.
    Where have we heard “yeah , I am gonna get mine and then get out “

  10. I feel like he’s also saying that if being an entertainer isn’t something to aspire to, then why is it treated as such by the same politicians? They’ll invite entertainers to the center stage, but not black intellectuals, by them doing that they’re saying one thing and practicing another.

  11. Just to play devil’s advocate, she may have a point, but point taken out of context by this article. Personally, I think how she meant it was with regard to the glorification of drugs, drug selling and irresponsible spending (to name a few), as some of the “rappers” listed in the article often refer to in their songs. I get it, it’s entertainment. By the same token, the “ballers” which I believe she was referring to are not ball player, but the ballers hustling in the street corners with mostly no education, disregard for lives or those communities; this article seems to be a bit bias in my humble opinion.

    My men Ameer-Hasaan Walton and B Easy, for example, college cats wanting to ball in the game are different then most mentioned in the article. With the exception of Diddy and maybe Common, I don’t know who else in that list went to college, aside from the “ball player” who play ball in college. So the rappers and baller she must’ve been rendering to are the “STREET” rappers and ballers, and I agree with her message.

    You’ll hardly ever get a “rapper” or “baller” talk much about careers, 401K, health and life benefits! That doesn’t sell record or arenas, but “fantasies” do! I don’t think the majority of today’s youth fantasize about hard work or dedication in school, but rather fast cars and fancy sh!t.
    Borrowed from tommy@empirewestmedia.com

  12. hiphopnewsmedia says:

    has she not walked through a university lately? we’re all up through there lol

  13. sheldon L. rosenzweig says:

    I think Michelle is real. I work with kids who can play ball and they can rap but they think that participating in mainstream activities is some kind of sell out plus they have no notion of the hard work it takes to get to be professional anything, much less a baller or a rapper. When I tell them that Michael Jordan got cut in the 9th grade they give me a blank look. Entitlement and delusion is not just the province of Black kids, it’s everywhere and it doesn’t bode well. If you are constantly telling folks that the bridge out of sameness, poverty and disregard is the same for everyone you are lying to them and setting them up for failure.

    • I find the notion of kids believing they do not have to work hard to make it sports or rap a bit far fetched..U would be hard pressed to find a rapper that they like who has not stressed the importance of grinding and be proud of their ability lock that ethic down..Now there are many who simply wont apply themselves.. same way as many of us will not work out or eat properly to lose weight or stay in shape..Doing mainstream stuff varies.. working in bank or at Mcdonalds I can see folks turning that down, bc they know its dead end…

      In any case Michele was talking to grinders.. folks who graduated.. not kids in middle school..It was cliched recycled speech and i stand by my point.. she needs to expand her analysis

  14. Her words are a bit vague and they do appear to have a one size fit’s all connotation to it but I think ultimately, she is attempting to inspire while using a bit of harsh reality. When I was in junior high school, the teachers used dittos… I still did my homework. When I got home from school BEFORE I went outside to play…. I did my homework first, period. We need to stop making excuses for those who find a reason to not challenge themselves and dig deeper.

    Let’s be honest, what she is saying is not so much a bad thing as it is the truth, which hurts. I don’t support the Obama’s much these days but like Kanye’s song “New Slaves”, there is some truth to her words.

    As I always ask….. What are we going to do about it?

  15. Great blog Brother!

  16. SoWhatISaidIt says:

    M. Obama’s baller and rapper comment was defamatory and extremely hypocritical. How do you come to speak at a HBCU graduation commencement (among the very people (your people) who helped put you and your hubby in the position you currently occupy), and on one hand big them up for their accomplishments and on the other put them down by undermining their ambitions and self-determination with such derisive and stereotypical statements…baller, rapper, black folks reading books=acting white??! Who says or believes that melarchy in this day in age. That’s old and tired. Not only was her statements hypocritical, but they were contradictory as well. Wasn’t President Obama on the basketball team in high school? Hasn’t he publicly expressed his love for the game i.e. photo ops with ballers, himself shown “balling” on the court, singing along with the likes of B.B. King, Al Green, Justin Timberlake, etc. Wasn’t he shown on t.v. “brushing off his shoulder” to Jay Z’s joint? Aren’t Jay-Z, Beyonce, Will-I-Am, and countless other “Rappers” down with the president? So, who is she putting on this political air or quasi show of solidarity for? White folks? Because if she was a white woman who had said those exact words at Bowie State U, we would’ve called her on it immediately. She made a conscious decision to say what she said at that venue. She wrote or approved the content of the speech at the very least. We’ve to wake up and accept (voted for him twice) the fact that “we” were bamboozled by the prospect of placing black faces in high places with the hope that they would actually extend their reach to pull and lift us up as a people. They haven’t in the last four years; they won’t in the next four years to come. Consciousness, people.

  17. SoWhatISaidIt says:

    Not to mention that it takes hella skill to do both well-big up. Has she ever made or even consider making that kind of speech to an audience of predominantly, young white folks? They “ball, “rap”, “play video games”, read/don’t read as well- don’t they? So, if the stereotype of black folks “reading” books means they are acting white, does white folks who aren’t “reading” books mean that they are acting black?

  18. Maurice T. Kelly says:

    I total agree with you Nuri. For whatever reason,this generation is afraid to step outside the box and see where we are heading. To think that we started the first in universities and banking systems is to perplexing when all we see is ballers and rappers all tattooed up expressing nothing hat sounds f literal importance. Reading most of the comments I see why this generation for the most part is on a destructing decline. Example the author of this article and those who think along the same lines believe that hip hop and ballers have done more for the black community than the ones that fought in the trenches, fighting for equality. What a show of disrespect. One brothers comment was that rappers work hard to enhance their craft. I don’t doubt that some do…..old school rappers that talent was the word of of the day. Now it about how many cuss words can be said or the degradation of the people how listen to this nonsense past on as music. Or school systems in a lot of the urban communities don’t push the importance of dreaming beyond fame and stardom. And don’t push careers in law, medical fields, sciences, computers (IT) field, then what’s left sports and rapping. I do like and enjoy sports and love good music, preferably ol’ school, but ever wonder why so many of us excel in sports, because in a lot of cases, this was pushed over education. This was the way out of the inner city trap. Mrs. Obama is telling our youth to expand there minds beyond the LeBron’s and Lil’ Wayne’s and exercise the mind. And side note, Beoynce is not a role model for your daughter’s.

  19. spydeeze says:

    We are told who and what we are. Babysitting is a suburban teen biz not seen as an underground or black market kids use to get fast money, yet braiding someone’s hair is illegal. or a black market used by single moms trying to get some legit quick cash. I remember growing up going to with my mother to her neighbors house to get braided up. The idea of conducting a business like doing someone’s hair for profit inside of your home has always been this way, recent senate proposals have come up trying to solve the issue. Right now you need a license to practice braiding or the use of extension’s, which costs AND only circulates through the black community with of course big corps having their hands in, watch Chris Rock Good Hair. Your acting as if you haven’t heard what she was saying before? We put it on Muslims to call out the terrorist for who they are, Marco Rubio to solve illegal immigration, why not a successful black woman telling you being stupid is not part of our community or stereotype. List as many race based stereotypes and be honest, separate them as good and bad, then count,

  20. Dahomey Toma says:

    Well what is her husband doing to help out education in those communities? Student Loans interest going up. His former Chief of Staff closed down a lot of Chicago schools in those same communities. Philadelphia is about to do the same thing due to budget cuts yet they have enough money for a stadium. What have they said about Stop and Frisk in NYC? If you get charged for drug possession your financial aid goes bye-bye. This could’ve been Barack back in his weed smoking days, non?

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  1. […] that Michelle Obama appears to be following even now if her recent disparaging remarks about ballers and rappers are any indication. But what’s more disappointing is the number of ways that Obama has […]

  2. […] that Michelle Obama appears to be following even now if her recent disparaging remarks about ballers and rappers are any indication. But what’s more disappointing is the number of ways that Obama has […]

  3. […] that Michelle Obama appears to be following even now if her recent disparaging remarks about ballers and rappers are any indication. But what’s more disappointing is the number of ways that Obama has […]

  4. […] that Michelle Obama appears to be following even now if her recent disparaging remarks about ballers and rappers are any indication. But what’s more disappointing is the number of ways that Obama has […]

  5. […] that Michelle Obama appears to be following even now if her recent disparaging remarks about ballers and rappers are any indication. But what’s more disappointing is the number of ways that Obama has […]

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