Like many others, I have both deceased, & incarcerated loved ones. As sad as that sounds (which it really isn’t), what may be sadder is that some of those behind bars do not need to be free, just as some that are dead do not deserve to rest in peace.
While I pray for all my zaggins, I’m realistic with who’s worthy of my sympathy & who’s not. It’s like the diet version of not giving a fuck. I’m all about the love – but – love doesn’t pay bills or protect you from the bullshit. That’s why you have relatives whose calls you ignore & people you don’t speak to, unless it’s irrefutably unavoidable. Those people are more liability than asset, be it legally, physically, spiritually, etc., & those are qualities best admired from afar. Don’t get me wrong; I employ forgiveness, but I never forget. Not even when I try, unfortunately. That said, support isn’t something I give away all willy nilly.
In Hip Hop, though, I notice we support just about anyone, if they’re “entertaining” enough. In what I can only call “unconditional love,” cats will scream/type/say/wear t-shirts that read “Free _______” no matter what a dude’s done, or currently doing. It’s important to remember, also, that said cats aren’t political prisoners or even Robin Hood-types with an agenda for reparations. In a lot of instances, record deals & “music-making” is merely coincidental to the fact that they claim to really do what they rap about.
Sans the cornball hyperbole, is it that we, collectively, accept criminal behavior as a part of everyday (musical/cultural) life? Is the desensitization of urban
legend politics so deeply infused in “us” that the concept of prison (& some times death) as a form of punishment has been all but forgotten? Even in the things that we allow to influence us, “we” cheer for self-proclaimed murderers, body snatchers, rapists, poison-pushers like they were community leaders, & then have the audacity to wonder why the proverbial world is in the shape that it’s in. In personal relationships, blind & undying support is understandable, perhaps even commendable. However, I’m not wishing or petitioning to get random people that I don’t know out of prison just because they say cool stuff. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Hip Hop (specifically rap music) is full of mind-numbingly ignorant sayings like “I respect the shooter,” “keep it gangsta,” & “fuck bitches, get money,” so I don’t expect much to change on the surface, even as President Obama calls for more engineers in America’s future. (With no mention of color.) In 2009, said that there are enough Wayne’s & LeBron’s & that kids should aim for higher goals, which may go ignored, but at least the brother tried.
Ja Rule just checked in for his 2 year sentence, & I don’t see anyone supporting him but his wife & kids. (& if they were to wear “Free Jeff” t-shirts, it’ll be because they really mean it.)