Who is Cathy Lee Jones? What is her role with Wu-Tang? (near the bottom)
The I-Man was a dirty word at the town hall meeting on hip-hop lyrics.
The controversial firing of radio shock jock Don Imus might have made the gathering necessary, but his name was scarcely mentioned Tuesday from the stage at the Schomburg Center in Harlem. The cowboy visage of this once most-powerful personality has faded over the last three months like a pair of his old Wrangler jeans.
Careful not to mention his name, C. Vivian Stringer, the coach of the Rutgers women's basketball team, said that the pressing issue now is: "Why did we as adults lose the respect of our children . . . and how do we get [it] back?" It was an issue she said all parents must face, but the overflow crowd had gathered to talk about black youth and respect and what role hip-hop lyrics play in that dynamic.
The visage hanging over the seven-member panel at the meeting sponsored by a half-dozen black women's groups was that of C. Delores Tucker, who died in 2005. The former Pennsylvania secretary of state was an early and formidable critic of rap lyrics. Daughter of a minister and a feminist mother, she picketed stores, harassed record-label executives and terrorized the opposition on panels and in court. Tucker so agitated rap artists over sexist and misogynistic lyrics that several, including Tupac Shakur and Emimen, incorporated her name in lewd phrases - and she sued.
"I used to listen to C. Delores Tucker all the time," said coach Stringer. "I was so inspired by her."
As early as 1984, Maurice Cox, a Pepsi-Cola executive on the panel, remembered, Tucker had dialed him up to complain about his company's sponsorship of Michael Jackson. She liked his singing, he recalled her telling him, but she didn't like his dancing. "She wanted to moderate Michael Jackson."
The "loss of respect" predated Michael Jackson by a few centuries, said John Plateau, a dean at Brooklyn's Medgar Evers College. "This is a 500- year-old problem," he said. "Where did disrespect start? It started with the slave trade." Some black youths are "out of control," he said, because of economic conditions, politics and troubling social and cultural conditions.
Several of the panelists took pains to remind the audience that their organizations - whether Essence Magazine, with its music awards, or the Wu Tang Clan, with its music - reached for the positive, with some success.
Pressed about the appearance of certain rap artists at her magazine's festival, Vanessa Bush, an editor at Essence, said: "We do talk to artists with questionable lyrics . . . and give them an opportunity for a teaching moment. We give artists an opportunity to explain themselves . . . to evolve and to grow."
The most spirited of the panelists was having none of the niceties about moderate image concerns. "The bottom line is the dollar," said Cathy Lee Jones, president and franchise owner of Wu Tang Clan. "Until we own something, we have no power. At Wu Tang Clan we have no women shaking their booty because of me." She described a "hidden hand" influencing what lyrics get published and recorded and how some rap artists behave on stage and off.
"Why are the artists not here?" she asked, scanning the room. "Because if they come here, their record deal is dropped."
There was a relative lack of participation by hip-hop-aged youngsters, with only one 20-something panelist, Tamika Mallory of the Decency Initiative. Others, including Grace Blake, president of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Long Island chapter, noted that there were very few men, 30 by one count, in the packed house.
"Hip-hop is requesting respect, and nobody is listening," said Kyra Gaunt, who teaches courses on the music at Baruch College. "We're so concerned about losing control of our children, but we need to talk to them."
Although she said she was glad the town hall meeting was conducted, Gaunt said panelists seemed far too concerned about "how other people see us."
There was a concern in the room that some industry forces might attempt to use the Imus affair as an opportunity to crush hip-hop. "It is unfair," said reporter Gary Ramsey of New York 1, "to lay the problems of respect at the feet of hip-hop."
- Rep Power
"The most spirited of the panelists was having none of the niceties about moderate image concerns. "The bottom line is the dollar," said Cathy Lee Jones, president and franchise owner of Wu Tang Clan. "Until we own something, we have no power. At Wu Tang Clan we have no women shaking their booty because of me." She described a "hidden hand" influencing what lyrics get published and recorded and how some rap artists behave on stage and off."
The fuck? I ain't believing none of that shit. Since when was there a president of the wu tang clan? Do they elect their president? Can she be Wu tang's ghostwriter? Can she be the mastermind of OB4CL2, 36 chambers, Tical, LS, Ironman, etc? Shit.
- Rep Power
I'll beleive it when RZA tells it on TV
"At Wu Tang Clan we have no women shaking their booty because of me."
Has she not seen cher chez le ghost, la rhumba, or u-god's video?