We’ve been debating whether we should get at you for hating on hip-hop and your treatment of Ludacris when he was plugging Crash on your show or just let it go. It’s not like your dislike for rap is breaking news. Yet, as the weeks have rolled by, some of our favorite MCs like Luda, 50 Cent, Ice Cube and Killer Mike have spoken out against your disdain for the culture. That’s odd, since for the most part hip-hop has loved you. Rappers have rhymed about you, wished to conquer you (Chappelle’s Show style) and begged behind the scenes to be on your show. Hell, it’s practically Jay-Z’s life goal. But you just keep having his boo, Beyoncé, on.
The only MC who gets any love is Kanye West, the most nonthreatening rapper alive. Still, you had to justify Kanye’s appearance by making the show about surviving a car crash then becoming a superstar. Now you started as a journalist, tell us, who has a better rags-to-riches, I-almost-died story of survival: the college dropout or 50 Cent? Must be Fif, even though you don’t want to admit it. Because as soon as he said you catered to old White women, you ran to New York radio station Power 105 to assure everyone you had hip-hop on your iPod. “Hip-hop is like jazz and gospel music, evolved from the people, a form of protest, a form of expression. So you can’t deny that, nor would I try…,” you explained. Forget trying, it’s what you’re doing.
Maybe you don’t realize that some Americans still live in hoods where they have to fight to survive. The things you don’t like to hear in rap music are real. There are areas of the U.S. where drugs and guns are a part of life and men get shot every day. Probably not far from Harpo Studios, ’cause we all know Chi-Town is gangsta. Maybe you can explore the criminalization of a generation of young men who identify with these rappers.
Like Cube said, you’ve had rapists, child molesters and fake writers on your show. You’ve had some of the lowest people as guests. Rappers are worse? You do a show with Superhead, talking about the issues with girls trying to be video hoes, yet you won’t talk to the rappers themselves. Not even a video director or a casting agent. Real investigative work, ma.
The truth is, Oprah, hip-hop is not going anywhere. It’s the music your audience’s kids are listening to. Maybe you should help educate and enlighten them. Go ahead and challenge it, but don’t ignore it. We’re too big for that. Some of us are making close to Oprah dollars. And one day we might be giving you a run for your money.