Why Flavor Flav Is The Next Tupac

Posted 3/01/2009 by smartblackboy in Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

D.W. Griffiths "Birth of a Nation" is one of the most influential films in American cinema history. In this movie, black people are played by white men in black face in an effort to create and reinforce racial stereotypes and uphold the false theory of the inferiority of the African race.

Over the last few years many critics have compared Flavor Flav to a minstrel show. In fact last night I was at a table of people where some claimed that Flav was a detriment not only to all black people, but to humanity as a whole.

However, far from being a mistrel show, Flavor Flav is closer to a person that many of his fierciest critics consider a hero- Tupac Shakur.

Some people see Tupac as a person who had the same potential as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcom X - and they say he was killed for exactly that reason. Tupac was able to transcend his genre and reach people in usually unheard of ways. They believe that these three men all had the potential to enrich and uplift an entire race of people.

So if Martin Luther King , Jr was a preacher, and Tupac a rapper, what makes us think that the next person to inherent this mantle of "Messenger" won't be a reality TV star?

The problem in the search for the next Tupac is the same problem that has plagued the search for the next MLK - it is futile to look for a person to fulfill an archetype made for a world that no longer exists. The sacrifice of millions of people of all races and stature has advanced the civil rights movement all over the world to the point that black people in America take for granted most basic civil liberties.

In an increasingly post-racial society, Flavor Flav teaches young people the importance of economic empowerment. He represents the importance of individualism in a captilistic society. Flavor Flav is not afraid to profit off of racial stereotypes - nor should he be. He does not feel a need to represent black people because he does not, and he does not need to be the black leader because we don't need one. (I differ between having a black leader as a person who represents an entire race of people, and having leadership which galvanizes a group of people around a particular issue or set of issues, there is always a need for leadership and in fact I would argue we are in a leadership crisis but that is a different post).

And this is the revolution we need - the idea of post-racial politics inherently means that one doesn't think in terms of race but in terms of class. In order for a new generation to achieve power, which is always the goal of politics, then young people need to see the world not in terms of black versus white but in terms of rich versus poor. And if young people of color take part in the great American tradition of wealth by dubious means - if they participate in the truth that we are a country of bootleggers, of corrupt companies, of monopolies, of warmongers, and of vices - well so be it.

Because, historically the people who have made fortunes from corruption and vices have all been white. In fact, there is almost an unwritten rule that to be black and make money you must make money doing something positive. And I am not against positivity but I think it is an absurd double standard that people of color are judged by. (In fact, at it's core I would argue that our domestic drug policy is more of an economic attack against poor brown people and a war to keep the economic status quo then a war to help the American people, but once again that is a whole different post.)

And if Flavor Flav is the one that helps obliterate that double standard - then for better of worse he takes the place of our Tupac, our Malcolm X, our MLK, our Ghandi, as a person who could lead us out of the wilderness of reactionarism, idealism, and rascism into a land of post-racial thought marked by economic empowerment by any means necessary.

0 comment(s) to... “Why Flavor Flav Is The Next Tupac”


Free Blog Counter