Although advanced in years and periodically in ill health Rosa Parks continues to be a tower of strength. I remember when I was a boy my late father talking about the lady from Cleveland Avenue in Montgomery, Alabama in glowing terms, and this was long before she became famous. At 92 years of age Rosa Parks once again stood firm and let it be known that the same way she would not be disrespected by a white man on a bus who demanded her seat is the same way she would not be disrespected in the lyrics of a hip-hop icon. Ms Parks won a lawsuit against the popular group Outkast, BMG Entertainment Group and LaFace records because she
was offended by the lyrics of one of the Outkast songs which more or less said "Don't nobody make a fuss, EVERYBODY get to the back of the bus" Unfortunately to get a "laugh" a segment of the black community feels that there is nothing that is sacred and they continue to push the limits and they are convinced that there would be no repercussions. Ms Parks has shown otherwise. The dollar amount of the settlement was not announced but part of the agreement calls for the defendants to produce a video and or DVD that details the struggles of the civil rights movement and specifically the contributions of Ms. Parks. Previously we have seen this
outlandish disrespect for civil rights heroes by African-American characters in movies such as "Barber Shop 1". A DJ on New York's Hot 97 had the nerve to actually make fun of the victims of the tsunami tragedy in Asia.
Hip-Hop empresario Russell Simmons was at the forefront of a movement to eliminate the
onorous Rockefeller drug laws. He intended to attract inner city youth to this demonstration to not only oppose the Rockefeller drug laws but to encourage the members of the hip-hop generation to register to vote. It was obvious that Mr. Simmons did this out of the genuine concern for inner city youth. When a WBAI interviewer asked one of the young men why he
attended the rally his response was "I'm here to see my girl L'il Kim. I don't care about this political stuff" Now this young man may not represent the opinion of the vast majority of the young people present but there were quite a few people who nodded in agreement. The Reagan era popularized the "I'm gonna get mine and the hell with everybody else" attitude which leads to the excess "bling-bling" materialism so prevalent today even in so-called minority communities where children are attacked and robbed of their sneakers and jewelry. Many of the youth of this generation know surprisingly little of Martin Luther King, Thurgood Marshall, Fannie Lou Hamer or Rosa Parks. The sacrifices these people have made to make life better for all of us should not be trivialized for the sake of a cheap laugh. Rosa Parks( a mugging victim in her later years) has proven once again that she will not be disrespected, but this time she had to prove it to members of her own race.