Two of my all-time favorite songs are “Check Yo Self” from Ice Cube’s Predator album in 1992 and “Gin and Juice” from your debut album DoggyStyle in 1994.
Man, I will never forget the good times, mornings after, hangovers — the memories made with and by “Gin and Juice/Laid back...” I cannot thank you enough — much LOVE.
Owed to my admiration and respect for you, writing this letter to you, a rap legend/icon, is uncomfortable. But alas, necessary. Whenever actual change occurs, it is both normal and necessary to be uncomfortable.
But soldier on I will.
Cube’s lyrics “You better check yo self before you wreck yo self” could have saved you from your vitriolic, demeaning, disturbing expletive laced rant at Gayle King, one of America’s finest journalists.
But the lyrics did not save you. You fell into the troublesome trap of assuming the spokesperson role for “the people.” Are you referring to the black people who “keep it real” and therefore are “real black” as opposed to “not black enough”?
For decades these assertions and representations of Blackness and Black Identity, suffocating and ignorant, have flooded our communities and have been weaponized against each other, like in your Instagram post.
As a result, for generations notions of Blackness and Black Identity have remained impoverished, stunted, not re-imagined, and have been unsuccessful in “closing the value gap” in an America where, in his book “Democracy in Black,” Princeton professor Eddie S. Glaude Jr. says “whites are valued more than others.”
Blackness and Black Identity, like the individuals who comprise it, are filled with oxygen and fluid and must always breathe, move, evolve, and soar. There is no one box or monolithic pot of gumbo filled with black folks.
Imagine if rap music had been successfully kept in a box.
Therefore, black people can, and should, criticize each other, when and wherever appropriate, privately or publicly, without fear of retribution from “the people.”
The only rule of engagement: Respect.
You are a smart man, so it seems to me you must have known there was more to the ill-released CBS clip of Ms. King’s interview with Lisa Leslie about the legacy of Kobe Bryant.
Yet, you, like so many irresponsible and undisciplined social media users, rushed to react, without research and without the courtesy of a phone call to Ms. King. You, as a black man, reacted in a hasty, nasty, brutal, hateful fashion to a black woman. Presumably, you would never want any man to speak that way to any woman you loved — be it your grandmother, mother, aunt, cousin, friend, sister, or daughter.
Your offensive language to Ms. King: “Why y’all attacking us? I get sick of y’all. Funky dog head b****. Punk mother******. Back off b**** before we come get you.”
So yes, you most certainly did threaten her.
You have 39.3 million Instagram followers and your disgust was viewed, as of this writing, 2,638,409 times.
You blew the call to action whistle which sanctioned and instigated others. Your call was answered and Gayle King was threatened with bodily harm, up to and including her life.
To distill your disrespectful profanity hype to its pith: Black woman don’t tear down (“Why y’all attacking us?”) the black man. Yet, you proceeded with reckless speed and diatribe to tear down a black woman. Moral imperatives are never a one-way street.
You claim you were seeking “justice” for Kobe’s widow and family, which of course is noble. However, you cannot purport to fight for justice, if you do not have that same justice in your own heart.
Your corrosive attack on Gayle King belies your claim of “justice.” Justice is an action verb and must always be reflected in one’s character, actions, deeds.
Finally, my prayer is that you go on CBS This Morning, apologize to Ms. King, give her a big hug, and tell the world, many of which are likely your Instagram followers, not to dare threaten her. Otherwise, they will have to answer to Snoop D-O- “double G.”
Nothing but LOVE,