Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Boos at the Bass
It’s time to stop the hip-hop degradations.
By EDDIE GRIFFIN
Dear Mayor Mike Moncrief and City of Fort Worth:
I want to apologize if our protest at Bass Performance Hall last Saturday night caused some embarrassment for Fort Worth. But it was a collision waiting to happen, and one that in good conscience I could not avoid — a collision between social activism and the public’s right to seek pleasure and entertainment. Indeed, I realize that boycotting D. L. Hughley, whose recent appearance on The Tonight Show provoked a national outcry, may have displeased many, including my own children.
But I could not stand by when the Bass Hall folks booked one of the comedians who, along with rap artists and radio personalities, have decided it is OK to verbally abuse black women. It was particularly unfortunate that Hughley was booked to appear in the middle of our Juneteenth celebration, and also on a weekend when 500 to 600 Church of Christ youths and their parents were in town for a Texas State Youth gathering, for which I served as a chaperone. (Not to mention 1,200 to 1,400 people attending an Alcoholics Anonymous convention.)
Please note that I have never challenged nor encouraged others to challenge Hughley’s right or anyone else’s right to freedom of speech. But I, along with the protesting pastors, also have a free-speech right to challenge bad language and bad behavior. We have the right, as men, to defend our women from insults like those aired by Hughley.
We were called “clowns” by Mr. Hughley and loudly booed and jeered by his supporters for our protest. We divided the community and drew far too much adverse television coverage surrounding this matter. Afterward, Mr. Hughley sounded somewhat contrite, but at the time of the protest we could see no option but a direct confrontation against the local entertainment establishment.
Sometimes religious leaders must rise up and defy public opinion. Vulgarity, nudity, and expressions of violence have become too common, all in the name of free speech. We have small children calling their mothers, teachers, and female classmates “bitches and whores.” If regular readers think it’s funny for me to make this criticism in the pages of a newspaper that regularly runs tawdry pictures of women in ads, realize also that the Weekly’s pages are open to someone protesting those same kinds of depictions.
In my mind, it starts with people like Hughley and hip-hop rap artists. Therefore, it must end with them. They should never be allowed to spew their foul-mouth language through the airways. And even if their insults are aired, they should never be allowed to set our society’s standard of behavior. The elders and religious leaders of Fort Worth decided to draw this line in the sand.
I made my fight against Mr. Hughley personally. For the price of a ticket, as far as I am concerned, I purchased the right to exercise my freedom of speech and boo him off the stage. I had made a vow to keep silent inside Bass Hall until Mr. Hughley crossed the line in using one of the derogatory terms we have condemned, but it did not take him long to reach that point. And so I booed him and continued to boo him until he asked if I was finished. As I did so, I was accosted by one of his adoring young fans of the hip-hop generation. Had the police not intervened to escort me out, I think I might have been mobbed. I thank the Fort Worth Police Department for coming to my aid and for defending other protesters while we exercised our freedom of speech. And I call upon the conscience of our citizens to support us.
However, I realize now that I was out of place in Bass Hall. This was not my crowd of people. These were drinkers and revelers who openly defy my religion and the values I cherish, people ready to get naked and crawl upon the stage. It was enough to make me vomit. But to each his own; I only regret that we have reached a new low in our society.
I was charged with criminal trespassing, and I realize I was out of bounds. But the officers told me that I am forever barred from attending another Bass Hall performance, and that seems unfair, since I am one of the original donors to the fund-raising effort for that edifice. Rest assured, however, that so long as there are folks like D.L. Hughley coming to Fort Worth to publicly demean blacks, demean women, and drag our society in the dirt, there’s a chance I might be at Bass Hall — even if it’s only outside — to tell them what I think.
In my opinion --- Bass Hall was built to be a cultural and entertainment center. We can all appreciate the Bass family for their contributions to the city of Fort Worth. However, as I said to one of my Christian sisters, Bass Hall was not built for the Christian community, it was built to enhance the city of Fort Worth and bottom line to make money. We all know there is a difference between what thus says the Lord and what thus says the world. The standards are not the same.
I have not been to Bass Hall and don't fight people who go. I would say the best way to boycott any event is to screen the action/performance before you go and don't buy the ticket. Money talks. Nothing wrong in getting the word out (informing others) concerning intimidating, degrading and immoral performances. I don't really think D.L. Hugley believes all that he says. His purpose is to make money and get laughs (show business). If he does believe all, he is a disgrace to God and man.
Think on these rambling thoughts.
I have a lot of respect for the work you do, but regarding D.L. Hughley I disagree with your stance and approach. Mr. Hughley is a comedian and has a right to make fun of subjects or individuals. You have the right to disagree with him. From the information you sent me, he made a joke about their hair being "nappy." My point of view is that there are more important issues to tackle...but again, thats my opinion.
Here's another point of view. Whereas you, and some others, disagreed with Mr. Hughley, there were others who wanted to see him and paid good money to do so. Your booing interfered with their enjoyment, which is why you were ejected. I consider you to be a gentleman, Eddie. As one, consider the rights of others.
See you soon!
It would have been nice if you had spoken to the TEAM before you issued your apology.
The TEAM was shock to read your comments and it appeared as if you spoke for all of us.
The TEAM held the press conference TOGETHER, we marched TOGETHER but you spoke on your own. Where is the love and respect for the TEAM?
We do not have to explain anything to the Mayor or Bass Hall officials. They are the problem. Don't get it twisted!
They brought this crazy man to Fort Worth for money knowing that he was "Socially Unacceptable."
You have the right to do what you want, so please respect our right to do what we think is best for our community. You have the power of the pen. WE have the power of the Pulpit.
You move without consulting the TEAM, now many of us question why you felt the need to step out without us. You bought shame to us all. The TEAM should be the one to decided WHATS NEXT, not one man. Where I come from you would have been kicked off the TEAM.
Something else would have happened if we were at the Glass Key.
You decided to purchase the ticket.You decided to BOO, and no one on the TEAM questioned your motives.We knew they were pure.
The bigger issue is why no one is saying anything about DL Hughley calling the leading presidential candidate for the Democratic party a "BITCH?" Is is FEAR?
That is the bigger story. Why Bass Hall and the City of Fort Worth brought this a man here who has no respect for women, not even a former first Lady and junior Senator From New York.? Bass Hall should do the apologizing, not the TEAM!
They tried to charge you with a felony when all you did was disrupt the show. Disorderly conduct at best.
This happens all the time to our kids. Minor offense, larger charges.
This is just an example of "The Fort Worth Way."
The Director of Communications was dirty for going out to the KXAS News van and inviting them in to film your removal just to make the news, again, 'The Fort Worth Way."
We are tired of it and we will not sit back and allow them to dishonor our community again and again.
No more keeping our dirty laundry a secret. As Dr. Cole said on Oprah, "It is time to put it on the line and have an honest conversation about the double standards (Jim Crow) here in Fort Worth.