Cedric Sunray: Indian media out of reach for most of our youth

"If you are more familiar with Native Peoples and This Week From Indian Country Today magazines than XXL or The Source, you may want to take a closer look. After facilitating workshops for tribal teenagers this past month, as I have many days and weeks throughout my life, the issue of older family and community members being out of touch with youth realities was once again enforced. During workshops I typically lay down numerous contemporary magazines at the tables where the youth congregate in order to facilitate discussions on the power of media within their lives. Ninety percent of the time, the latest issue of XXL (which can be picked up at any Wal-Mart) or another similar “urban” magazine, is immediately reached for by those assembled. Native Peoples and This Week From Indian Country Today don’t stand a chance.

XXL’s July/August 2012 issue features on the cover the snarling face of rap’s current king, Rick Ross, decked out in his platinum links, diamonds, and trademark “angry at the world” facial expression. He hails from the Opa Locka communihood in South Florida where my family once lived prior to moving down to the Florida Keys final stop. When I picked up the issue I recalled his song “Everyday I’m Hustlin” where he spouts “most of my niggas still deal cocaine…still b***ches and business…mo cars, mo hoes, mo clothes, mo blows….” Now this guy is a class act, notwithstanding the reality that he was formerly a corrections officer who took the moniker “Rick Ross” from a notorious drug dealer in the community to falsely project a gangster image. I recall seeing my first threat of gun violence vividly while standing near my father in Opa Locka. I was four and beginning to learn that “these here streets” and their nouveau misogynistic, violent, and abusive media forms which are glorified and financed via corporate America, were here to stay."

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Cedric Sunray: Wannabe Gangstas: A Cautionary Tale (Indian Country Today 8/12)

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