11.01.2010

Jasmine Mans' message wasn't just for Nicki Minaj


True story.

Until this past week I knew Nicki Minaj before I even heard of Jasmine Mans. My inbox was being flooded with subject lines, "Poet Slams Nicki", "Poet Puts Nicki in Her Place", and "This Girl Is Hating on Minaj or Schooling Her? What You Think?"

I started to ignore it as some more built up "beef game" between the two people. Plus I've never listened to a Nicki Minaj song--only heard one verse from one song. Can't even think of the song let alone tell you what she said. I just mostly know her from the images I've seen of her circulated on the Internet. I heard comparisons to Lil Kim, Drake's so-called obsessions with her and I even have a few of my former students who love her to death--even rock their hair like her.

My point? I wouldn't know if Jasmine Mans was dissing her or not, because I don't know much about Nicki Minaj. However, I'm sure my assumptions about her presentation is on point. She's selling sex and giving the consumers what they want. It's not anything new but a change is needed.

Soooooo, I decided to go to AllHipHop.com to see what all of the Jasmine Mans hype is all about. She performed an original poem titled “The Mis-Education of a Barbie” during the 2010 Stomp Da Madness competition at the University of Wisconsin. I admit the first time I watched it, I was caught up in her delivery style more than the words.

I pressed rewind and read the lyrics along with her delivery the second time. I was impressed with the content, and I didn't see it as a diss. I saw it as encouragement from another sistah. Watch it for yourself, and please read the words before you judge.

My thoughts? Below the video.




Jasmine Mans was on point.

I think Nicki Minaj isn't the only one in the rap game selling sex, degrading self, spitting un-cultivating content (I could be wrong) and riding the wave of their moment. That includes the men.

The problem I think is that the power and presence of the female MC is so extinct right now that Nicki Minaj is an easy target. She's the only thing hot right now--from the people's perspective. Who is her contender? What about the ones who spit conscious lyrics and represent high civilization? Do you even know who they are? Do they have a PR machine, major sponsors and labels behind them like Nicki Minaj? Uhm, nope!

Matter of fact I hate that it took all of this hype for me to hear of Jasmine Mans. She's brilliant!

Hip-Hop artist Queen Yonasda wrote in a editorial "Hip Hop Needs The Balance of the Feminine Power", "Something I have been telling people in the past 7 years I have been rapping professionally is that Hip Hop isn't dead it just needs a balance it needs a queen.. but not just one "queen" it needs the balance of the feminine power." (Note: I support her. Please read the entire editorial)

The lyrics by Jasmine go beyond Nicki Minaj. I don't know how long she will be around, but I know somewhere in every inner city in America another "Nicki Minaj" is being groomed in the club, the projects, the video shoot, and even in the schools. Somewhere there is a mother yelling to her baby girl "shake it baby" as she's mimicking the latest dance moves. It's a systemic problem rooted in a mindset that has to be destroyed. That's what I saw Jasmine addressing--a culture of degradation.

But of course including Nicki Minaj in your piece adds to the hype—even if the hype wasn’t Jasmine’s aim. You know what, maybe people should have asked Jasmine what did she set out to accomplish with this piece? In a recent post on her blog she said, "My piece is not a “diss,” it is a dare....I dare Nicki Minaj to be a PHENOMENAL WOMAN and not a phenomenal "Barbie."

I chose to look past the hype and extract the message. And since this video has exceeded 100,000 views, maybe Nicki Minaj had a chance to view it. Her crew may have chalked it up as "hatin" like most did. I didn't. I saw it as sincere advice.

Two hip hop artists I've had on my blog, Jasiri X and Dee-1, were accused of hating on certain popular rappers when they only spoke truth about them in their videos “Just A Minstrel” and “Jay, 50 and Weezy”, respectively.

Personally, I rarely buy hip hop music anymore and I’m not into 99% of the magazines on the shelf right now because it’s more sex ads than intellectually stimulating content. I prefer reading print and online publications like The Final Call Newspaper and Hurt 2 Healing Magazine.

Critique is not hatin’. Grow up, already!

Jasmine Mans came with truth. She said in the poem, "You are being traded paper in exchange for you to be plastic/All Dolls will evidentially mal-function."

The message I got from this is: How about YOU be the next real you and stop living a fake life. That's not just for Nicki Minaj....because alot of us living like malfunctioning dolls in our daily lives impersonating someone else. So we hide behind masks the other 364 days outside of Halloween.

The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad says, "Accept Your Own and Be Yourself."

P.S.--Once you have calmed down from the hype (smile), check out Jasmine's piece "Michelle Obama"...now let's see if this one gets 100,000 views....uhm. Probably won't.



(You're welcome to follow Brother Jesse Muhammad further on Twitter or become a friend on Facebook)

15 comments:

  1. brother jesse i read the entire piece and i clearly see your point, and agree with u. i just believe that the last thing one woman needs is another woman bringing her down. the problems with hip hop go far beyond women, and nicki minaj. who is to say the character she is playing isnt her idea, that she isnt in full control of her own destiny. jasmine make a lot of negative assumptions and even alludes to the fact that she earned her spot on her back. i can not and will not support that. next id argue a lot of artist jasmine rocks with (male artist) are too playing a character, and you hear nothing about that. i dare women to let each other be, and not to assume the worst of one another. i dare women to support each others choices, and respect their individual hustles. i dare women to not to assume that when a woman is in a male dominated industry that she isnt being used, dogged, played, and JUST might be in control of their own career and MAYBE, JUST MAYBE she didnt sleep with ALL the men around her to make it happen. im with having a variety of women of different styles, concepts, and subject matter being on the scene in hip hop, but the last 10 yrs for women in this industry hasnt been profitable, so no one wants to invest in women. like it or not, nicki's success is the reason a lot of women will receive the chance for a machine to back them, and i wish we (as women) could see a much bigger picture and support. like it or not her failure will result in the doors closing yet again.

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  2. This was a very inciteful blog.....as a music producer,a&r, and father of a young daughter, I've always felt a responsibility to actively pursue working with artist that have a positive message, without crossing the line of artistry and censorship..while I do not condone some of the images that certain artist portray, I also realize that the future young men and women should not be left in the hands of the "music industry" but left to parents, family, religious leaders, teachers and many other positive role models such as the mentioned Queen Yonasda......follow me on twitter at @khryshollywood

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  3. Jennifer Scott-WashingtonNovember 1, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    I LOVE THIS BLOG BROTHER JESSE and the comment above is on point as well. Nicki in my perspective is doing what she has to do to get her success. I can say she has slept her way to the stop either but what I do know is that the image of women in the industry is shot! What happened to our presence sisters? We're all on the sidelines and if we think the advance of women in the industry should be placed on the shoulders of Nicki Minaj, we're doomed. It's not for her to do. We need U-N-I-T-Y.

    Lastly, Jasmine wasn't hatin but if you want to go at Nicki, you should go at Foxy Brown, Lil Kim, Trina....the list goes on.

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  4. Nicki got lyrical skills....as for the rest. She can keep the barbie act. Let your skills do the talking.

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  5. Sorry, Jasmine is hating. Why? Because I've never heard of her. Who is she anyway? Well now she's an instant star. She used Nicki to get her shine on....my 2cents

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  6. Nicki is hot...and Jasmine's poem is also. It was a great message and was some good advice. Nicki won't listen tho....she too busy stacking money.

    But Brother Jesse you brought some good points in this. We have alot of "Barbies" running around here.

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  7. This is a great poem....listen up Nicki

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  8. This brother hits it on the head when it comes to people using the word "hater" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPO6WQ8BK10

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  9. ASA Brother Jesse,

    WOW!!! I agree with you 1000% especially after watching Jasmine's performances for myself. As a poet and a lover of HIP HOP, I understand that this is NOT hating, this is absolute TRUTH! Unfortunately many of us don't recognize Truth because we have been bombarded with immitations. There is nothing false coming from her lips. She is right and listening to her reminded me so much of those strong female Emcee's who made it possible for those like Nicki Minaj to even get the time of day behind a mic.
    Jasmine brought substance and that is what today's "hip hop" industry is missing especially coming from a woman! Mad props! Thank you for supporting our sister and for your analysis!

    Peace,
    Sister Ebony

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  10. I think people are missing the message in the poem. Jasmine is only challenging Nikki to use her fame and the fact that young women that are impressionable are watching and mimicking her. Use your fame for a benefit to better our communities instead of promoting things that her average fans cannot and will not attain.

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  11. Jasmine went in....too bad its fallen on deaf ears!

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  12. You should let your talent speak for itself and not sell your body. Your gift should be your hook not your body. I've almost discontinued listening to popular music and I certainly don't watch videos. There is a lack of respect for intimacy and the female body. To all the artist who believe it's alright to spit disrespectful lyrics and sell sex: don't place a price tag on your dignity.

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  13. peace. i was listening to her and it kept skipping so im of know opinion and im back on facebook and out of know where i hear the dopest spoken word. our sister killed it, no i dont see it as a dis the dis went down when the record executive come to our stars and ask them to degrade themselves for stardum. dont kill the messenger!
    purcell muhammad
    myasias essentials

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  14. Good post.

    We are discussing this same exact topic as well on our blog and the debate is splitting between those who feel Minaj has a duty to something greater than herself (the black community and women in general) and those who feel Minaj (or any black artist) can, in so many words, just "do her."

    I tend to align myself with the former because I feel Jasmine Mans brings a valid observation about the self-degradation and exploitation of black women in the entertainment industry. Did we create the problem? No, but that doesn't mean we have to exacerbate it either.

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  15. Thought the Sister Jasmine Mans was genious in her gift of love, correction and ourstory lesson to a public display of white supremacy.

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