Friday, September 15, 2006
The MTV degeneration needs saviors
By Stanley Crouch
It is important to recognize that while those such as Bill Cosby and Juan Williams continue to point out the importance of changing self-destructive attitudes and habits in the black lower class, there are others like Lisa Fager and Callie Herd.
Fager is a black woman and one of the founders of Industry Ears (industryears.com), a think tank that focuses on media. Fager might seem an enemy of hip hop, but she is actually a fan. Her complaint has to do with the idiom’s demonization of young black men and women who are depicted as “real” only when they appear as thugs and hedonists.
The women are spared the burden of memorizing the rhymes that insult and demean them; their only job is to dress as scantily as possible, roll their rear ends and act like proverbial female dogs in heat.
Fager is presently incensed. Last night, the Walter Kaitz Foundation honored MTV with the Diversity Champion Award during its annual dinner in Manhattan. A press release from the foundation describes MTV Networks as providing “culturally relevant programs that are the most outward demonstration of their dedication to diversity.”
It would seem that the Kaitz Foundation either knows nothing about MTV Networks or is another example of how confused some of our diversity campaigns are.
After all, MTV Networks probably considers “Where My Dogs At?” a show so diverse it makes canines feel included, with black women depicted with leashes around their necks and walking into a pet shop on all fours. Then there’s “Yo Momma,” with teenagers spewing racist epithets, and “Flavor of Love,” a largely vulgar minstrel show.
Industry Ears is protesting this diversity charade with a petition that can be signed at www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/526905262.
While Lisa Fager battles with the goliaths of irresponsible media firms, Callie Herd is another black woman working at providing college scholarship information for black and Latin kids.
“What I’m doing is trying to educate them. It’s not that blacks and Latinos don’t want to go to college or need scholarship money; they just don’t know what is going on. At the advice of my son, I started a blog to get past writing individual letters. That just about wore me out. But the blog reaches so many.
“It is located at www.ctherd.blogspot.com. There are millions of dollars available, just waiting for those who know how to ask for them.” Herd has become aware of much assistance that goes untapped because kids move too late. “It’s all about knowing, and that’s all I’m trying to provide. Well-used knowledge is part of the solution.”
In women like Fager and Herd, we see the tradition of social responsibility taking two forms of the sort this nation can use in every possible direction.