Sunday, July 20, 2008
Oprah Winfrey vs. Ice Cube: Dr Boyce Watkins
Is Ice Cube correct in his accusation that Oprah Winfrey discriminates by refusing to book black male rappers on her show? Fo-shizzle. When I heard Ice Cube, the gangsta of all gangstaz, go after the queen of the universe for her disposition against black men, my reaction was the same as the one I had when my cousin CC finally had the courage to fight the big female bully on the corner of my street. I admired CC’s courage, but I feared for his life, since nobody but nobody had the audacity to attack Big Becky Smith. Oprah is Big Becky all over again, and I am definitely shaking in my boots.
By the time this controversy is over, Ice Cube will be selling Ice Cream out of the back of his mama’s pick up truck. He has balls for going after Oprah, but her balls are bigger….bigger than all of ours. Besides, she can kill Ice Cube’s argument by reminding him that she has booked rapper/actor Will Smith in the past. But using Will Smith as a representative of all black male rappers is like representing The Grizzly Bear Coalition with Winnie the Pooh. Since the balls are already out on the table, why don’t we use this as an opportunity to discuss whether or not there is something to discuss? Is Ice Cube just hatin on Oprah, or is there a legitimate beef?
Let’s look at the evidence. Most of the time, when I turn on Oprah’s show and see a black man, it is usually for one of the following reasons: He has cheated on his wife, beat his girlfriend, has a boyfriend for a girlfriend, or tells jokes for a living. I often wonder if she knows that regular black men exist, ones who don’t do all the crap that she seems to think men do. We are not monsters, but in Oprah’s world, we might as well not exist.
Exhibit B: Oprah creates icons the way a sick 3-year old creates slimy bugars. She has given birth to Suzie Orman, Dr. Phil, and enough best-selling authors to fill a Chinese sweatshop. How many of these Dr. Phil types happen to be black men? Zippo. None. Or, as Ice Cube would say, “Not nare a mah-fauka.” You mean to tell me that she can’t find one black man on earth smart enough to impress the white women in her audience? Damn Oprah, I am really disappointed.
I love Oprah, really I do. She has attained more white power than the Ku Klux Klan, getting soccer moms all over the nation fiending for her like Crystal meth. Both Ice Cube and I would agree “that’s gangsta.” I don’t even care that she doesn’t have black men on her show. With so many negative media portrayals of us, I would rather the media ignore us. But when I do turn to the show on my way to ESPN, and the one representation I see of black men is some brother on the down-low, I get a little fired up.
I don’t even know this secretly gay dude I am watching, but he is already affecting my life. Next thing you know, I am having my female friends questioning why I am in my 30s and not married. A brother puts a potted plant in his living room and he’s suddenly accused of greasing up his homeboys in the middle of the night. All because Oprah has decided to make “black men on the down-low” into a national epidemic. Thanks Oprah, you have now officially informed the world that the black man is the cause of all social ills. We already have “the man” on our back. Now, “the man” is a black woman. All this “hatin” has just got to stop.
So, Ice Cube, you have my back. I have felt compelled to support you since you agreed to get rid of that greasy Jerry Curl back in 1996. But you can’t blame Oprah for being a little irritated with you. After all, you made a song 15 years ago called “A bitch is a bitch.” First, I should say that is a stupid title for a song, sort of like saying, “A monkey is a monkey”. Dawg, you are stating the obvious. Secondly, a title like that doesn’t exactly make you a champion for women’s rights. Even I got a call from Oprah’s producers before you did, and my album hasn’t even dropped yet.
My goal in all this controversy is to sit to the side and “peep game”, as Ice Cube and Oprah are definitely some of the biggest “Playa pimps” on the block. The same as I did when my cousin CC went off on Big Becky, I sincerely fear for Ice Cube’s life. But even through all the fear, you always want to stick around and watch the fight. I am not going to miss this one, because it’s going to be really good.