Father Michael Pfleger on Sunday, January 1, declared war on the music industry saying, “It’s time out” for white people paying Black rappers to denigrate women, and sending violent messages to our children expressing sentiments some Blacks feel are to blame for the rise in crime.
Pfleger made his remarks while announcing that on Saturday, February 11, at the United Center, former and active Jesse White Tumblers and communities across Illinois will celebrate the sixth “iteration of Spending Time With Our Father,” according to organizers.
The event is an initiative created under The Jesse White Tumbling Team, Inc., that is organized by statewide communities and former and active tumblers.
Pfleger told his congregation initially that controversial rapper and music producer Chief Keef was supposed to be one of the speakers at the event, but organizers had a change of heart “because they decided they didn’t like what Chief Keef brings,” he said.
Instead, they have invited Saint Sabina’s youth leader, Joseph Saunders.
Saying he isn’t “hating on” Chief Keef, Pfleger said it’s “time out” for “rich, white people” paying “Black brothers and sisters” to denigrate women, calling them “bitches” and “ho’s” and instructing youth to shoot and/or assassinate people, through their dark lyrics.
“It’s time out for that,” he told his cheering members. “The companies are getting ready to go to war; so we have to get ready to go to war, too,” said Pfleger.
A war against gangsta rap, or drill music, has been attempted many times, including when C. Delores Tucker former Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, took a lot of heat from the media and music industry executives in the early 90s for publicly opposing gangsta rap. Music industry executives hired detectives to dirty up her name. She vowed to fight against gangsta rap until the day she died. She passed on October 12, 2005, at the age of 78.
In February 1994, then-freshman Illinois Democratic Senator Carol Moseley Braun held a hearing on gangsta rap, when she said that rap artists called women “bitches” and “ho’s.” She felt the lyrics incited people to violence. As is the case now, back then people were also blaming gangsta rap for the rise in crime.
One of those who testified in favor of gangsta rap was scholar and author Michael Eric Dyson, saying not to use rappers as scapegoats. He told Moseley Braun’s committee, “Gangsta rappers are an easy target, and we ought to dismiss the easy target.”
Dyson told reporters before the hearing began, “We should be having a hearing on crime and on economic misery…and why America is seduced by and addicted to violence.”
Gangsta rap has had a long history of negative, violent messages in the music industry, including with rapper Ice-T’s song, “Cop Killer,” where he rapped about a young man seeking revenge on a police officer who allegedly had been harassing him. And then there were the lyrics of Sister Souljah, who urged Blacks to stop killing each other and instead kill white people.
During Moseley Braun’s hearing in 1994, Errol James, 22, a self-described poet and rapper from Harlem, told the committee members, “You can’t legislate hip hop. Hip hop started in the streets, and hip hop will stay in the streets.”
Also in the 1990s, the Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan held a meeting in his home with Black rappers. This reporter was present when rappers told the Minister they had to sing the lyrics given to them by white producers or they wouldn’t get paid.
Pfleger said music during the Civil Rights Era served to “energize” the fight for justice and equality, but gangsta rap encourages youth to shoot and kill.
“It’s time out for that,” he said, declaring war on today’s music industry and saying he is ready to take this issue to the streets.