I think it’s time for me to formally introduce myself to the world. My name is John Crews. I’m an American of African descent, a Capricorn who loves to take long walks… oops, wrong blog. My purpose is to inform the S&R audience on subjects that are near and dear to me. Some things I write may offend you, like the thought of Flavor Flav having sex. Some subjects may prompt serious questions, like why would any woman be caught on TV saying they “love Flavor Flav?” And at the end of the John Crews Experience, I hope to have you pondering, “Gold or silver fronts in my mouth for me?”
So I’m talking a lot about America’s celebrated new shuffle-and-jiving, give-that-nigga-a-piece-of- chicken, gold-teeth-smiling coon. Yes, Flavor Flav, born William Drayton, Jr.; a classicly trained pianist who was in love with D-list celeb Brigitte Nielson (20 years past her prime, too). Oh, and in case you didn’t know him beyond his reality shows, Flavor Flav is a key member of the most influential hip hop group ever, Public Enemy. The same group that a nation of millions couldn’t hold back, the same group that trumpeted Louis Farrakhan and cursed Hollywood, the same group that told us to fear a black planet. These legends of rap are now overshadowed by the “Flavor of Love.”
Time may have pushed aside PE, but Flavor Flav’s newfound image and fame make Public Enemy’s messages downright hypocritical. If you are age 30+ and you were a big hip hop fan in the late 80’s, you know what I’m talking about. PE helped young people take on the establishment, giving us an insight on government corruption and media complacency and preaching about race relations, all the while snapping our necks back and forth. They reached out and joined forces with the heavy metal side of music, touring with Anthrax and sampling Slayer in a memorable music crossover. PE’s disillusionment and anger was liberating, too. Who can forget Mike Tyson in his prime, the epitome of unbridled young rage, coming out to the ring with no robe, no socks, just black trunks and shoes and glistening with sweat, ready to kick ass as PE thundered in the background?
But now, Flavor Flav’s image goes against eveything Public Enemy stood for. Don’t get me wrong, Flavor Flav went against the grain in the late 80’s, but when you had the booming, authoritative voice of Chuck D, it kind was kind of cool getting small doses of the puckish Flavor. I will go as far as saying if there was no Flavor Flav in PE , they would have been a 2-albums-and-out group because people would have been too put off by these militant black Americans wearing black hats, black clothes and having black, black faces.
I think that the powers that be now enjoy seeing Flav on TV, because he’s become a caricature they’re comfortable with. They like to see the pro-black stance that Public Enemy and other groups of that era successfully promoted being destroyed now by Flavor hosting an exploitative show that portrays him as some kind of freakish sex symbol, with girls of questionable motives fighting and spitting over him. When Chuck D wrote “Night of the Living Baseheads,” was he foreseeing the fate of Flav? On top of all that, it really bothers me that people mention Flavor Flav and do not mention Public Enemy. It’s like giving directions on how to make a root beer float without mentioning the ice cream.
What is Flav’s motivation in all this? Is it just quick money and the rush of fame, no matter how ill-gotten or prurient? Is this all a big joke that we’re not in on yet, or is the joke on us? When asked about it recently, all he had to say was, “I’m a real big celebrity. I’m this megastar.”
Chuck D wasâ€”and despite PE’s recent obscurity, still isâ€”an example of power and pride; what Flavor is doing now is reinvigorating symbology that has held down my people in all parts of life. Sambo images are nothing new to this society. But it concerns me when the images come from a person that is part of a group that once encouraged black youth to empower themselves and rise above.
All I can say now is, “Do Believe the Hype.”