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Should rappers donate money to the police?

The other day, here in St. Louis, an old white guy who was famous for appearing in commercials for a local car dealership died of ass cancer, or one of these other diseases you see a lot of old white men dying from. I saw a story about it in the Post-Dispatch yesterday, when I was at my parents’ house, and I thought to myself, How sad. This guy used to be in TV commercials, and now he’s dead.

I took a look at the article, while I was pinching a loaf. It was the usual shit you read in the paper when an old white guy dies out here in the flyover states: he was the salt of the earth, he used to be a cop, he had 40 some-odd grandkids, etc. Then I got to the end, where it said that donations in his memory can be made to Backstoppers, Birthright Counselling, and Catholic Charities, i.e. probably my three least favorite charities (if I had to make a list), and I was like, “Aww, fuck this guy!”

It’s a good thing I never bought a car from him. Not that I’ve ever bought a car a day in my life.

Backstoppers is our local variation on what some comedian once hilariously referred to as the Pigs in a Blanket Foundation. They raise money for the families of cops who died in the line of duty, i.e. fucking with people to raise money for the local government, not solving crime, and discriminating against black people. I remember, back when I was in the barbecue industry, this white guy, who got roughed up by police, was explaining to me that this ticket he had to pay was like $200 or whatever, plus he donated some money to Backstoppers. And I was like, why would you donate money to the police, when they just kicked the shit out of you? He said he loved the police, except when they kicked the shit out of him. A lot of rednecks, who get fucked with by the police on the reg (if not as often as black people), are like that. I don’t get it.

I don’t know if they have Birthright everywhere, or if it’s just a St. Louis thing. But if you don’t have anything better to do on a Monday afternoon than read this crap, you might remember it from a post I did a couple of years ago on how Young Jeezy shouldn’t be obligated to pay any more in child support than the $78 a month or whatever he’d been paying. Or whatever’s the minimum amount that will keep her off the dole and hence out of my pocket. Basically, the way it works is, they target women who are thinking about having an abortion and they give them vouchers to buy baby shit from K-Mart. Then, 10 or 15 years later, when that $300 has long since run out, the little fucker steals something from your car. Birthright used to have a commercial that used the song “Brick” by Ben Folds Five, and part of the reason I got into blogging was to spread the word.

And I’m not sure where exactly your money goes, if you donate to Catholic Charities. It might go to one of these militant pro-life groups, like the people who killed George Tiller. If it was something benign in nature, it would just be called Charities.

Anyway, I’m in the can, at my parents’ crib, reading about this old white guy, and it occurred to me: You know who else donates money to the police? Jay-Z. The other day, I finally got around to watching that 9/11 tribute concert on Fuse, which I DVRd when they reran it. I also caught the interview he did with Toure (who’s looking more and more like a sex offender with each passing day), that came on immediately after the concert. One of the questions Toure asked Jay-Z was if he had any problems donating part of the proceeds from the concert to the police. It was similar to the question I had to ask one of my colleagues from the barbecue industry, except under far different circumstances.

I’m surprised Jay-Z’s handlers even allowed that exchange to be included in the broadcast. I know Toure, who likes to brag on Twitter about the time Suge Knight almost fed him to piranhas, prides himself on asking the tough questions, but I’m assuming this was a matter of the TIs worrying that Fiddy Cent or somebody might find out Jay-Z donated money to the police. So this was just a bit of preemptive PR trickery. I ask the tough questions all day long, but only on the Internets, where rappers can pretend as if it didn’t happen. And then half the time the shit ends up disappearing from the Internets.

I actually thought about raising the question of whether donating money to the police is in keeping with the code of the streets the other day, when I saw the Jay-Z special. But a few days before, I went to a Borders and saw this month’s issue of XXL, which is essentially a glorified Rocawear catalog, and I figured I’d just be wasting my time. I’d managed to slip through that post on Charles Hamilton, who was once verboten in these parts, and I figured maybe I could do another post on Peter Rosenberg. It’s not like he’s taken out an ad for husky men’s jeans or some such. Goes to show what I know.

Jay-Z told Toure that, while he struggled with the idea of donating money to the police, which he probably had to in order to be able to take advantage of the anniversary of 9/11 to promote a rap album, he realized that, on 9/11, when the terrorists flew those planes into those buildings, and those dumbass cops and firefighters ran into them only to be crushed by a controlled explosion, we were all one in the same. In that moment, there was black and white, or cop and innocent black man trying to do his motherfucking thing in the world. It was pretty much the exact opposite of KRS-One’s remarks, when he explained that 9/11 was cosmic justice for him not being allowed to sleep on the subway.

I’m surprised there hasn’t been more outrage. People gave Rick Ross so much shit about the fact that he used to be a cop, but at least he needed the money. You end up spending a lot of money on food when you’re that big. I should know. I’m halfway tempted to get a job as a prison guard myself, except I know for a fact that I’d have to look at naked guys on the reg, and I might have poo flung at me. But I’ll definitely shoot a nigga in his back, if necessary.

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