Crankytown No. 2

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The Associated Press reports this morning that “Prisons and jails added more than 42,000 inmates last year, the largest increase since 2000.” Predictably, almost six out of every 10 prisoners was a minority. That might explain Jason Whitlock’s recent obsession with what he calls “prison culture” seeping out into the mainstream.

The Star’s Web site will charge you for official access to the screed he wrote after Don Imus’ “nappy-headed ho” comment. But it’s been reproduced on a few blogs, and this commentary at AOL Sports is another example of Whitlock’s “thinking” on this issue – that pop culture is the real threat. Money quote: “Prison culture is winning. It has corrupted a form of music that once gave us great joy and/or offered inspiration. Prison culture -- with its BET and MTV videos, popular movies, acceptance in the mainstream media and false gods -- Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg -- has perverted the American dream for black youth.”

Call me crazy, but I sorta think it’s the fact that so many of his brothers are in prison might be the real “prison culture” problem. Here’s the weird twist in this morning’s AP story: “Eight states had declines, led by Missouri (down 2.9 percent).” I wonder whether Whitlock is so jumpy about prison culture because he subconsciously senses that more Missourians are actually out of prison and could be walking down the very same streets as he does! I ain’t no psychiatrist; I’m just sayin’.

Anyway, for some of the most beautiful writing about what people are listening to on the radio these days, I’ve been reading Kansas City writer Danny Alexander’s blog. A sweet little sample: “Much is made of a certain stereotype of the roles women play in today’s rap videos, but it’s surprising how rare such even debatable examples show up. What’s most common -- when the women aren’t rapping or singing themselves -- prevalent everywhere from rappers like Crime Mob, Remy Ma, Eve, Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim and 702, to, of course, the hip hop flavored R&B of Mya, Rihanna, Fantasia, Kelly Roland, Ciara, and alternating videos of almost everything on Beyonce’s current video release -- are images of proud strong women of all ages and body types exhibiting the latest dance moves and looking like they are more than enjoying the still relatively young tradition of celebrating black feminine beauty.” Read more over at Take ‘Em As They Come. – C.J. Janovy

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