Public outrage has reached a fever pitch over T-Pain’s Cartoon Network premiere of “”Freaknik: The Musical”. I’ve made a conscious effort to resist from commenting on the coonery and buffoonery because I didn’t want to promote “negro news” to my audience. However after checking out an story on Essence.com, I reconsidered my position.
For me, the fact that the Adult Swim’s audience heard “nigga,” “nuts,” and “crackers” within the first few minutes of the special instantly turned me off. Typically I live by the “live-and-let-live” philosophy. And while, I don’t consider myself to be a prude by any means, the fact that artists like Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Kelis, T-Pain and more would attach themselves to such a vile and pointless program is beyond upsetting.
If you didn’t see the program fret not, Rodney Ho at the AJC has the perfect summary:
The plot revolves around the Sweet Tea Mob, four Florida rap dudes (T-Pain is from Florida but was too young to partake in the real Freaknik) who drive up to Atlanta to participate in a Freaknik “Battle of the Trillist” contest.
Early on, a drunken old dude in a wheelchair explains to the rappers what the party was about. “Everywhere you looked, you saw booty-shaking. Booty in the clubs. Booty in the street. Booty in the trees! People so inspired by positivity, they just got butt naked on their candy-colored cars. It was like a dream!”
What happened? “Crackers come and shut it down. Police got in the street to scare us, started arresting people… then they killed Freaknik… They couldn’t kill the soul of Freaknik. They say it lives on waiting to return.”
They then summon the spirit and he arrives. “Freaknik’s back, baby!” Freaknik yelps. “Spreading the love as I always do!” He sets up the rap contest with the winner getting a lifetime supply of “money, clothes and ho’s.”
But there’s a group called the Boule who aren’t happy with Freaknik. They are the “top 10 percent” who keep the other 90 percent of blacks down. They also look suspiciously like Oprah Winfrey, Jesse Jackson, Bill Cosby and Al Sharpton, to name a few. “If Freaknik becomes too popular,” said the faux Cosby, “then we could lose all influence on black culture!” They try to stop the event.
The Sweet Tea Mob (featuring voices of Cee-Lo, Young Cash, DJ Pooh and Rick Ross) drives in a van to Atlanta but get diverted by some hot women at a gas station. They end up meeting with rival rappers, get in a fight, then run. They end up taking a bad turn on their way to Atlanta and end up in New Orleans. Lil Wayne plays a Jesus-like figure there, who inspires them to make it to Atlanta with the proper attitude. He even give them a Lamborghini after their van is stripped. But they run their car over a cliff. Eventually, some black skydivers give them a ride to their destination (think”Honeymoon in Vegas”).
Though Rodney’s take on the cartoon was accurate for the most part, nobody can ignore the underlying “coonery” tone of the program. And if you think I’m overreacting, checkout what Shirea L. Carroll from Essence had to say:
So, what’s the problem? Well, it wasn’t the storyline that caused my displeasure, it was the details. For example, featuring Trap Jesus, voiced by Lil’ Wayne, a pot smoking drug deity that wants all to live by the Ghetto Commandments, one of which is to “man up or bitch out.” Another example, showing the Freaknik ghost televising his charity organization, ‘Save a Stripper’–what he not so amusingly pronounced as an act of “positivityism,” after telling a woman she looked like a biscuit. The show even went as far as to depict President Obama stepping down from office, handing over his presidency to Freaknik so he could “get this mother f-cker crunked,” adding to the many offensive references andsatires that had our Civil Rights leaders popping up out of their graves in search of T-Pain.
I realize that some of you may argue why we’re not upset at the network and not the program. And to that I encourage us as a people to STOP pointing the finger at others and start point them at ourselves. All the laughs were at the expense of who we are as a people.
Unfortunately, the suits at networks aren’t abreast to such sensitive topics such as race and race relations as it relates to their programing. And that misunderstanding only increases when you have black people selling them programing that paints us as nothing more then a bunch of hooligans.
Shirea L. Carroll made a excellent point in her peice on this topic that perfectly narrates my anger on such nonsense:
The show aired the Black community’s dirty laundry on issues like Black on Black violence, lack of ambition amongst our youth, unwanted pregnancies, religious corruption, and constant refusal to accept gays in our community. While these issues do need to be addressed, it was the execution that was ignorant, to say the least, and painfully horrific to watch.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. #EPICFAIL to all parties involved with this bullshit. I hope you all flop off the face of the planet.
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