Jail vs. No Ceilings
I’ve always been a fan of Dwayne Carter Jr. Before Young Money Entertainment existed, before all the Carter albums, and even before the “bling bling” phenomena I liked Weezy. The pint-sized rapper from Hollygrove, New Orleans had a guttural delivery that was edgy and catchy at the same time. I can recall watching Hot Boys music videos after school and quickly turning the channel when my Mom walked in the room. In all honesty, I wouldn’t want my ten year old watching the “Block is Hot” either. Nevertheless, I grew up in the age of “Rap City the Basement” and “106 and Park”, it was hard to keep most of my friends from this music too.
I digress. Back to Mr. Weezy F. Baby, please say the baby. So today Mr. “No Ceilings” was sentenced to a year of nothing but ceilings and cinderblock walls in New York’s Riker Island. Although he plead guilty to criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree in October of 2009 he has been more evasive than O.J. Simpson in a White Bronco. Well that’s not too evasive. He’s been more evasive than Amy Winehouse at a detox center. That’s more like it. The first time he was scheduled for sentencing the judge postponed it so that he could get dental work. I guess the sparkly grill needed to get fixed up for state funded toothbrushes. The second time a fire in the courthouse postponed the sentencing. I guess the former “Hot Boy” was too hot for justice. Some of my friends have been monitoring his sentencing date. With all the wars, famine, and injustice in the world the last thing I cared about was Lil’ Wayne going to jail. Nevertheless I couldn’t escape it. One of my friends kept telling me “5 days until Weezy goes to jail”. In the back of my mind I was wondering why he was so happy to see his favorite rapper go to jail, as if it were some rite of passage (but that is for another blog).
I’m sure I’m probably the “umteenth” person to blog about this situation, but I think the fact that this is on my mind speaks to a greater problem. Why is it cool for rappers to go to jail? Why do people celebrate it? I’ve already seen the “Hold it Down Weezy” t-shirts. What does that even mean? I’m so tired of hearing about what his cell will look like, or if he’ll get special treatment. Dwayne Carter Jr. broke the law and now he is paying his debt to society. Get over it. Hundreds of thousands of people go to jail everyday. Of course most of those people aren’t award-winning artists, but they are still people and their lives are worth just as much. It bothers me when we condemn one man for going to jail but celebrate or hype up another man. I read a status on facebook today that said “T.I. out and Lil’ Wayne in, I can dig it”. In Vibe’s magazine online edition they went into detail about his first meal and what he plans on eating tomorrow for breakfast. I hate to sound like Bill Cosby but “Come on People!”
This reminds me of about five years ago when 50 cent blew up. Although his music was catchy and Dr. Dre provided him with some great beats, it seems as if he was just as popular for being shot 9 times and surviving. Don’t get me wrong. That is a blessing. I don’t want to get shot once. Nevertheless, why does taking 9 bullets make you a better rapper or a more interesting person? It’s sad to say, but I think Lil’ Wayne and T.I. have and will continue to profit off of their vacations behind bars.
I wish Weezy the best of luck behind bars. Prison is no place that anyone should ever want to go. Yet, I’m afraid that as long as we continue to praise celebrity incarceration, many young people will trivialize going to jail. Remember, “no ceilings” only exists mentally in penitentiaries.