Pimpin' Ain't Easy?
March 7, 2006

Did Three 6 Mafia really run around the stage of the Academy Awards ceremony yelling about how hard it is to be a pimp? Artistic enterprise my pinky toe (which is broken, by the way). On behalf of Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier, I am embarrassed--for the award, for the display, and ultimately the representation. I don't know what to say. Although it certainly does my heart well to know that despite the glorification of pimping, at the very least, Jesus was thanked. And I'm sure somewhere in celebritydom, Kanye Mess heard that acceptance speech and was under the impression that Three 6 Mafia was actually thanking him. For the Mafia's sake, I certainly hope that was the case. Because nothing in my mind can comprehend what hand Jesus Christ had in that mess.

For the record, I'm over the Oscars. (Can't you tell?) Is it possible for an awards ceremony to jump the shark? Honestly, I would rather have the hairs individually plucked from my legs than spend four hours listening to Jon Stewart host anything, let alone an already notoriously monotonous awards show. At least plucking my legs would supply me with some sort of productive end-result. And yes I realize that illustration is a bit disgusting, but that's just my point. I would rather be disgusted than be super duperly disgusted. Yet despite my disgust, I consider it a small victory that the "Academy" had enough sense not to give the makers of Brokeback Mountain another chip of evidence in their mounting convictions that they actually produced a worthwhile film.

Is there coming a day when we finally unburden ourselves with the delusion that being intentionally random, abstract, irrelevant and morally "cutting-edge" are the key ingredients for greatness?

The inadequacies of the modern film aside, the Oscars never fail to leave me disturbed on some gigantic level. Perhaps I need to lower my expectations. However, given the emphasis on the Oscars and the fact that the future of film is directly influenced by this event, I tend to take it more seriously.

I love Terrence Howard, but the fact that his first Oscar nomination is for a role as a pimp really bothers me. Not to knock Howard's performance; he's a fine actor in his own right. Yet unlike Halle Berry, he didn't win the Oscar. For that I am abundantly thankful. I am thankful that we didn't have to listen to Howard sob through an acceptance speech, dedicating it to honorable historical black figures and rambling on about how his Oscar is for every nameless and faceless man of color that now has an opportunity because he epitomized a pimp.

Now before I am accused of partaking of the cup of hateration, understand that I believe Howard will eventually win an Oscar and I'd rather his accolade not immortalize him for characterizing the most egregious of behaviors. Quite frankly, the black community can't afford that.

Why much of the black community continues to remain passive towards the glorification of pimpdom is an entirely different and more complicated topic. But what I found to be terribly ironic Sunday night was what one cultural definition of the verb "to pimp" reveals:

Pimp (verb)
1. To make something appear better than it really is by adorning it with various emblems and pricey status symbols of the culture (see "ghettofabulous")
2. To advertise (generally, in an enthusiastic sense) or to call attention in order to bring acclaim to something; to promote.
So it seems that in a shocking turn of events, "Pimping" is actually being pimped.

It all seems easy enough to me.

Posted by Ambra at March 7, 2006 2:00 AM in Pop Culture
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Check out Romans 1:21 in the same book. It comes real close to saying what you said.

I am glad to see you back; I missed your writing.

Hearkening back to an old post, who is responsible for creating this image of the black male? White folks? Do white women walk up to black men in bars hoping to be "pimped?." Do white men walk up to black men in bars hoping to buy? To bask in the "glory?"

If both black and white folks are to blame, by what percentages? How does the media (and America) treat black men and women differently?

Glad you are back ! I have missed your writing, too ! How is the puppy? I liked what Dennis Prager said he'd like to hear during an acceptance speech: (JWR contributor)

Here's a speech we would like to hear from an Academy Award winner:


I thank you for this wonderful award. Receiving an Academy Award gives the recipient an almost unique opportunity to speak to hundreds of millions people around the world, so I would like take this once-in-a-lifetime moment to say this:


First, I want to thank my country, the United States of America. Every one of us here has this country to thank for enabling us to live lives of unprecedented freedom and unimaginable affluence. Too many of us forget that no other country in history has offered such opportunities to people in our profession or in any other profession, for that matter.


Second, I want to thank the men and women of the armed forces of the United States. While we bask in freedom and spend a good part of our lives going from party to party and award show to award show, tens of thousands of my fellow Americans are confronting a menace to our world as great as that fought by previous generations fighting Nazism and communism.


At the same time, I also want to apologize to these troops for my profession not having made even one motion picture about any of the heroic American fighters in Afghanistan and Iraq. This country is fighting a war, Hollywood. You may think this war is unwise, waged under mistaken, or even false, pretenses. And as an actor in Hollywood, you are overwhelmingly likely to hate this commander in chief. But even the men and women of Hollywood must recognize that America is fighting the worst people of our time, people who hurt every group Hollywood claims to care about — minorities, women, gays — people who engage in the sins Hollywood most professes to oppose — intolerance and violence — far more than anyone else on the planet.


In another era, when what many have labeled "the greatest generation" fought the German Nazis and the Japanese fascists, Hollywood made movie after movie depicting that great war and our great warriors. And Hollywood showed freedom's enemies as the cruel and vicious people they were. We have not produced one film yet depicting this war in positive terms or one depicting this generation's enemies of freedom as the cruel and vicious people they are.


In fact, the only nominated film about people who slaughter children at discos, blow up weddings, and bomb pizzerias and buses filled with men, women and children is one that attempts to show these murderers in God's name as complex human beings. Just imagine how the Academy would have reacted 60 years ago to a film depicting Nazi murderers as complex human beings. We have descended far.


We in Hollywood walk around thinking we are very important. That is why this year's nominated films for best picture are largely pictures with messages, pictures that relatively few people actually see. But although Hollywood was always concerned with politics, we have let ourselves be taken over by those for whom their message is more significant than the primary purposes of film — to illuminate life and to entertain. Yes, entertain.


You know, entertainment is actually a noble pursuit. Life is difficult for almost every human being on earth. And if we can offer people an elevated way to divert their attention for a couple of hours from their troubled child, their marital tensions, their ill parent, their financial woes, we have rendered the world a greater service than by making another message-film against racism in America, the least racist country in the world.


My fellow actors, we walk around feeling that we are very important. But we do so only because we confuse fame with significance. We do have more fame than any other human beings in history. Far more people have heard of any actor here tonight than of any of the discoverers of any medication saving billions of lives, of any teacher of the disabled, of any nurse tending the aged, of almost any national leader.


But the truth is that, as noble a calling as acting can be, all we do is make-believe: We portray other people, and we speak words written by other people. Everyone knows our names, but almost no one knows us. All they know are the characters we play.


Thank you again. I hope I haven't ruined your evening.


AMEN

Hi Ambra, I just read your posting today. It was nice having you back blogging again.

Sincerly,

Corey J. Smith

BTW I thought I was the only one still up at 2:oo AM.

THANK YOU! You voiced everything and more about what I was feeling after I watched the Oscars. Awesome.

Yet despite my disgust, I consider it a small victory that the "Academy" had enough sense not to give the makers of Brokeback Mountain another chip of evidence in their mounting convictions that they actually produced a worthwhile film.

John Wayne lives!

While I agree with the ultimate theme of the post, I do have to disagree with the "spirit" (using that term loosely) of Hustle and Flow. Terrance Howard portrayed a struglling sad excuse for a pimp just trying to make it. He drove a broken down car and had one broken down "girl"... it actually did not glorify the "profession" at all.

However, I am glad I missed the 36 performance... I was boycotting - sick of the BBM hype.

Just in case you missed it
their Oscar coverage was great

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Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Ambra!

Also...Glad to know you're still online. ;)

I don't believe I've seen an Oscar presentation since Hollywood launched their endless anti-Bush vendetta. What is to watch anyway? I'll pretty much know what happened as the week after unfolds. Oscar's not about movies anyway, it's about payback and thumbs in the eye. I think that the bankruptcy of Hollywood is perfectly exhibited in making "pimping" a national treasure. All I can do is shake my head and weep. What-is-happening?

The three 6's in Three Six Mafia removes any Jesus at all for me. The encouraging thing to note is that Three 6 Mafia has spawned Mr. Del, a former "mafia" member, who is now saved and has started the Holy South revolution! (Holy Hip Hop is some great stuff!) I think that is pretty cool...so there is hope for these guys! http://www.holysouth.com/main.htm

Exactly Susan and why do they feel like they are fooling someone with the "Three Six" moniker. I remember when they were "Triple Six". It does make you wonder.

Ambra-great thoughts. I, too, love Terence Howard, and my feelings about H & F go beyond disgust and disappointment. I saw the movie after reading page after page of critical acclaim. As I was leaving the theater I couldn't get this statement out of my head: the emperor has no clothes. C'mon Terence - we can do better.

Brilliant point as usual. I have seen a few people in the black community come out against this but not enough. There was also something on the Modesty Zone blog on this but now I can't find it.

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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