Greeson: Easy to predict but hard to ignore confrontational raps

Greeson: Easy to predict but hard to ignore confrontational raps

October 12th, 2017 by Jay Greeson in Opinion Columns

FILE - In this July 20, 2015, file photo, Eminem attends the premiere of "Southpaw" in New York. Eminem has released a verbal tirade on President Donald Trump in a video that aired as part of the BET Hip Hop Awards on Oct. 10, 2017. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

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For those of you unaware, the BET rapper awards were Tuesday night.

It was a platform that went viral when the best white rapper ever spent almost five minutes taking shots at the most controversial president ever.

It was obscene — and offensive — regardless of which side of the debate you support.

How, you may ask?

Well, there were roughly a dozen cuss words through Eminem's alleged "free-style" rap that called out Donald Trump for everything from his elitist actions to his lack of attention to Puerto Rico to his orange-tinted skin. (Yes, we could ask whether any white rapper making fun of the previous president's skin color would trigger national outrage, but the all shots at Trump are either home runs or completely outrageous, depending on your perspective).

Jay Greeson

Jay Greeson

Photo by Dan Henry /Times Free Press.

And yes, considering that ol' Uncle Luke — the rapper who was the frontman for 2 Live Crew, which used the filthiest language you can imagine — was given the "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the event, no one should have expected a PG-13 version of Eminem's takedown of the president.

But what about this expectation: Where has respect gone?

The respect for the other side — and yes, that's a two-way street — in any discussion. The respect for viewers and listeners and differing viewpoints.

The respect for the office of the president of the United States?

Sure, there are a lot of you who are reading this and just muttered, "This president doesn't deserve respect."

Well, OK, but that continues the outrage that has become the only commonality shared by both sides.

And the verbal hand grenades and the social media bombshells only continue to galvanize the opposing sides.

Know this: The celebrities who attack Trump — and even the few who defend him — are well aware of the springboard it will offer their personal brands.

When was the last time Eminem was relevant? Was it a decade ago, maybe?

When was the last time MTV or BET or any of the other music video stations that served pre-YouTube generations was mentioned?

Controversy serves them and moves their names or their logos to a higher profile and a more lucrative place.

It's commerce through controversy and it serves the stars well. It's a disservice to the rest of us.

Yes, I read the comments under my column online and loyal reader Rick — who normally disagrees with me, but almost always offers opinions that make me think — will likely say now is the time to stand up and fight and make a stand.

Maybe so.

But there's a big difference between making a stand and making a spectacle.

And when it comes time to make that stand, shouldn't we at least be able to consider the other side's position?

We're pretty sure that position is lost in cuss words in insults, and that works both ways — whether it's coming from a rapper from Detroit or the Oval Office.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and 423-757-6343.

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