Recently there has been a lot of discussion with reference to a six-year-old child rapper from Florida named Albert Roundtree Jr. who is featured in a sexually explicit video called “Booty Pop.” The video recording portrays the youngster as a pimp surrounded by scantily clad females shaking their buttocks in Albert’s face.
It is depressing and heartbreaking that many problems in our community do not go away and often the crisis does not get any better. Who would think that after as much dialogue and debate the public has held relating to indecent and lewd videos someone would have the audacity to exploit a six-year-old child and turn him into a porn star?
Is this artistry, or could it be considered child abuse?
Rap musichas been at the center of the controversy, and while some argue First Amendment rights, artistic license and music reflecting the reality of life, others argue crass commercialism by "artists" and the music industry and a total disregard for social responsibility. At a Senate hearing on "The Social Impact of Music Violence," the late Dr. C. Delores Tucker, founder and chair of the National Political Congress of Black Women, stated, "No corporation should be allowed to exist if engaged in activities that contaminate, poison and infect the minds of children."
The website Helpguide.org indicates child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse and neglect, also leave deep, lasting scars. The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and break the cycle rather than perpetuate it. By learning about common signs of abuse and what you can do to intervene, you can make a huge difference in a child’s life.
I have brought his matter to our attention many times before. A few years ago in this column I asked if mass media such as rap music videos and so-called gangsta movies have eroded our ideas of privacy and dignity in a way that makes self-respect more difficult to attain. Are students today more at risk because of self-destructive behavior, such as promiscuous sexual expression, drug use and violence?
A review of child welfare research by the American Psychological Association suggests that children of color and their families experience poorer outcomes and receive fewer services than their Caucasian counterparts.
Pediatricians with a specialty in adolescent medicine are keenly aware of how crucial music is to a teen’s identity and how it helps them define important social and sub-cultural boundaries. One study found that teens listened to music an average of 40 hours per week. I would assume six year olds would listen to nearly as much.
During the past four decades rap lyrics have elicited the greatest concern, as they compound the environment in which some young people increasingly are confronted with pregnancy, drug use, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, injuries, homicide and suicide, although proponents of free expression through the arts maintain it is not clear that this type of presentation of violence and sex leads to risky or copycat behavior.
But there is hope. What do we know of little Albert’s parents or guardians? Are they aware of the consequences of their actions? Do they the history and struggle our people? Do they care? Is this exploitation or an expression of their child’s talent?
African-American fourth graders with higher levels of racial and ethnic pride were found also to have higher academic achievement measured by reading and math grades in school and standardized tests, says thePennStateresearcher who led the study.
Dr. Emilie Phillips Smith, associate professor of human development and family studies, says, "Parental racial and ethnic pride was also related to children's achievement in the study. In addition, children, whose teachers exhibited higher levels of racial-ethnic trust and perceived fewer barriers due to race and ethnicity, showed more trust and optimism. Children living in communities with higher proportions of college-educated residents also exhibited more positive racial-ethnic attitudes."
Do you have an opinion? Will little Albert grow up to emulate the denigrating behavior of Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne and T-Streets? Might he appear in their videos such as “Money-Cars –Clothes and Hoes” or in a film with Serious Pimp andKushKingdom? Or maybe he wants to be in Kokanes’ video “UHearMe.”
Or will his role model be President Barack Obama, or maybe attorney general Eric Holder, or Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or the man who was known as Malcolm X? Doe he or other young black innocent youths have a chance? Please express your opinion.
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