Let Lil Pimp Pimp Us
By Richard Muhammad (July 11, 2001)
Rapper Jay Z had a mega-hit with his popular song "Big Pimpin’," but Mark Brooks and Pete Gilstrap are proof the biggest pimps are those who can find ever increasing ways to insult Black people.
Since March, the duo and animators in Santa Monica, Calif. studios have been working on "Lil Pimp," an animated feature film scheduled for release in 2002.
The film, based on their Internet series, features Lil Pimp, a freckle-faced, white nine-year-old. He is accompanied by Black pimp daddy buddies Fruitjuice and Nagchampa, and his pet gerbil Weathers, which suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome. It was purchased by Revolution Studios.
If you’re thinking this is a sick joke, it isn’t. According to a July 6 Reuters/Variety report comedian Bernie Mac, William Shatner, and Carmen Electra have signed their voices onto the project. Reuters/Variety also says raptress Lil’ Kim is in final talks to join the cast as well. Comedian Eddie Griffin, to his credit, reportedly abandoned the project.
Caricatures and negative images are one thing, but when pimps and hoes--playing second fiddle to a suburban wannabe are slated to hit the big screen in the 21st century--outrage should hit record levels and this movie should never make it off of the cutting room floor.
It’s way past time for Black folks to be stereotyped, miscast and painted as soulless sexual predators and sexual objects. The sexual animal stereotype has been used to justify the lynching of Black men, the rape of Black women, and the dehumanization of Black people. It’s not funny at all.
If producers market this thing and get away with it, the next steps should be shackles, burlap sacks and one-way tickets back to Southern cotton fields. If Black folks don’t show some pride and abort Lil Pimp’s birth, we need to be totin’ dat barge and liftin’ dat bale, because we will have betrayed our ancestors, our children and ourselves.
The movie’s creators may be counting on negative publicity to generate enough interest to laugh all the way to the bank. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Television networks were taught a great lesson in 1999 when "The Diary of Desmond Phiffer," a series about a slave-era "butler," was killed by Black opposition. As Lil Pimp is taught "The Game" by two Black mentors, Black America must teach his creators a lesson. Any theater that tries to show this trash should be subjected to enough demonstrations and boycotts to put them out of business.
Theater owners and theater chains should be approached now and asked whether they plan to peddle this poison. Let’s start a list of places where Lil’ Pimp will not be welcome and another list of where picketers can show up before the movie is released.
Let’s put theater owners and theater chains on front street and see where they stand.
Blacks who join this project will undoubtedly argue free speech and the right to make money. Strangely, that’s the same argument made by real-life prostitutes and pimps, and shows a devotion to money that’s sickening and takes selling out to new levels.
The other side of the truth is that when you show no self-respect, you open the door to be disrespected. So with lyrics like "if you know you a pimp and don’t love them hoes" uttered by Black men, you can expect that white men have worse insults they think we’ll pay for.
None of the Black progress made--the opportunity to make money and even offer artistic expression included--came without the pain, suffering and exploitation of others. We didn’t flee slavery, free ourselves, get lynched, scrub floors, march, sweat and bleed to be where we are today. Others trod a bloody road and we owe them better than what we often offer.
And it’s not just time for artists to step up, the lyrics that come from their lips are expressions well-learned in Black neighborhoods and homes and purchased by significant numbers of Black people. It’s time for all of us to clean up our acts and put Lil Pimp to death at the same time.
(Richard Muhammad is a Chicago-based columnist, lecturer and managing editor of The Final Call newspaper published by the Nation of Islam and Min. Louis Farrakhan. All opinions are his alone and he can be reached at )
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