Arrested Development’s Speech Takes On Critics of Meme That Spurred Controversy

"It strips us of our conscious, of our dignity."

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Rapper Speech has heard about the backlash surrounding his comments on the stereotypes rappers push about the Black community. And now he’s explaining just what he meant.

While Speech’s initial remarks didn’t attract much attention, the heat came when actress Raven-Symoné reposted a meme featuring rappers like T.I., Diddy and Jay-Z. She and got dragged by T.I. and Trey Songz for posting the meme reading in part, “so-called ‘successful’ Black men… who became rich and famous by perpetuating the worst Black stereotypes.”

Raven-Symoné

But on Tuesday, Feb. 6, Speech compared the issue to a script that everyone seems to have agreed not to argue against.

“It’s as if we’ve all been given a script… to read,” he begins his Facebook video. “And the script goes, ‘Hip-hop artists sometimes degrade Black women, glorify death and drugs but they are only speaking the world that they know. And they ultimately move past that and give money to charity and give back and employ hundreds who no longer have to sell drugs, pimp and rob.'”

After that, he says, everyone moves on with their lives without addressing issues that plague the Black community. Speech says no one denies many hip-hop artists do these things and even excuses them.

“It strips us of our conscious, of our dignity,” he says. “Our dreams and ultimately our very lives. And we know where this script comes from. Years of brainwashing, years of conditioning, years of oppression from a white supremacist system. Why we embrace this like it’s got to be part of our future, I don’t understand. … We as an entire community deserve more.”

Speech continued that the constant reinforcement of the “script” in music and media has made “glorified destructive behaviors” synonymous with being Black. He lamented the fact that people like Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama have had to embrace the “script” or else they won’t be able to level with the community.

He also addressed Charlamange Tha God’s comments on the matter, which saw him take aim at Raven. During his “Donkey of the Day” rant, Charlamagne explained that people would have never let Malcolm X make the transformation from drug dealing, gambling and prostitution rackets into the civil rights leader he became since they slammed rappers like Diddy, Jay-Z and T.I., who have moved away from drug culture to become humanitarians.

“But when you evolve, you disconnect and you tell people the right way to go,” Speech responds. “You don’t praise the old way that you used to be. People keep approving the same script and this glorification of selling drugs leads our youth to a carte blanche acceptance of illegal activity. It’s a gateway to being around the wrong crowd, to illegal possession of firearms to violence and ultimately to prison — or death! Y’all, come on!

“So many of us, unfortunately, stick simply to the script, but we gotta flip it,” he adds before dispelling rumors that he beats women and that his wife is white (she’s Black). “It’s not only false, it’s not only shallow, but it’s dangerous.”

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