Some thoughts on curiosity and serenity.

An Article I just had to break down. My comments are in red the actual story is in black.

Rap and brand names an odd mix
By MARCUS FRANKLIN, Associated Press Writer Mon Jul 3, 11:57 AM ET

While some companies may shy away from being associated with a culture often marked by misogyny and violence, it is undeniable that hip-hop wields immeasurable power and influence in business.

I wanna know what companies shy away from misogyny and violence? Have you looked at TV recently, get the fuck outta here! How many cop shows, mafia shows, secret agents killing fools all day shows are there on TV that don’t even host black folks in any kind of role of importance. PLEASE spare me the hot BS!!! OH yeah lets not for get the misogyny piece too, why is it considered COMEDY when white folks joke around with “the roles of sexuality”? The double standard is beyond obvious, and once again another tool to keep “you know who” in check. Black videos are aired primarily in controlled environments (BET, MTV, VH1) so one could argue that the exposure to said misogyny and violence is far outnumber by the “programming” in the rest of the media universe. So why all of the attention on “our” version of M & V? Are we debating class, cultural capital, social affiliation, and RACE through the leaves? Of course we are, and depending on your motives:

Liberal – using proxies such as blacks, Mexicans, gays, you name it, to fight your battles to gain your political objectives. Which in the end only serve you, and leave said vehicle for change left out to dry.

Conservative - Require any constituent to lambaste any cultural ties that do not identify with an ultra Christian agenda, culturally vague/eurocentric focused identity, and denounce others within said individuals cultural sphere who do not identify with this ideology.

We can see how you apply the hammer to the “proliferation” of M & V in hip-hop. Since we did “we” become such a hot item? When the ability to produce silly ass amounts of cash by “spitting 16 bars” became apparent.

Before you even chime in about violence etc. just grab the TV guide and you do the math. How many shows center around violent themes and who are in these shows?

Aspirational in some respects and now synonymous with youth culture in many corners of the world, hip-hop has long been credited with — or criticized for — having an impact on everything from clothing to cars.

Hip – Hop criticism = Black Criticism. This is both a question and a statement. Many times I have been “qualified” by white people as to my stance. They say I don’t like rap music when the conversation isn’t even on music, or they will suggest that athletes are greedy or over paid when we are talking about geography? This qualification is used as a means to measure the kind of black person they are dealing with. Why does this need exist? Do you expect me to agree with your condescending take on THE EXPLOITATION of my culture, and take my cultural ass whupping like a good lil kneegrow…. (this is the LIBERAL version)

*Editorial Note* Qualified- This is the practice of identifying the cultural posture of an individual. This process can be exercised by utilizing particular cultural primers. Like music: HIP HOP = Black, or Rock/Country = White, of course this are basic primers, but they are analogies for the codes we use to identify the particular cultural orientation and the standing within that culture of the individual we are dealing with.

But periodically, hip-hop's chief arbiters — like Jay-Z — turn on brands because of slights, real or perceived, to the culture.

My take on this is pretty obvious. Once again we have an individual equating the ability financially mimic a certain sect as equality. So if you get rich you are now above “blackness” (you can throw in whatever culturally negative diatribe here). The whole turning on slights would have to mean that said product was intended for consumption by all, and not just a few. So the slight was intended from the on set, before Jay, Puffy, Pac, anyone even used said product. Basically you have a set of “products” which under any “normal” cultural standard represent excess wealth and are regulated by those who maintain this wealth. The rest of the populace may know of said products by name but are never privy to its access due to the lack of financial capital. Now enter HIP HOP where black men (primarily) in extreme fashion over emphasize this new found access. The cars, the women, the jewelry, the clothes, all represent excess (for the most part). It is this association of class and culture to a particular set of commodities attainable by a very few which is now finding its consumption increased by those once excluded. HOW YOU GONNA GET MAD AT SOMEONE WHO DIDN’T WANT YOU TO USE THEY SHIT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!! (This is the Conservative version)

Pepsi agreed in 2003 to give $3 million to charity after Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons threatened a boycott because the soda company dropped an endorsement deal with rapper Ludacris following complaints from conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly.

Once again this reeks of the old liberal tactic of using some cause to promote its own agenda. Remember these are probably the same cats who will be calling for the head of Ludacris due to some other “cause" which it is looking to champion on down the line. Liberals know black folks like soda, and they (liberals) hate Bill O’ Reilly so let’s tap Russell as the voice. If we really wanted to make a difference why don’t we boycott every sponsor of that fools damn show? STOP BEING PROXIES and start exercising our OWN AGENDAS.

Designer Tommy Hilfiger was dogged for years by rumors that he didn't want minorities buying his clothes. His company, which denied the entire episode ever happened, never quite regained the same popularity in hip-hop.

This one is easy: Commodity Fetishism- but once again we get mad at a slight when we fail to realize that said product was never really intended for our consumption.

Fuck Tommy his shit was ugly anyways.

Lucian James, an executive with a branding agency that tracks mentions of products in Billboard's Top 20, warned that in a fast-changing marketplace luxury brands in particular must capture relatively "new" customers while maintaining "traditional or old" customers.

New customers = Black Traditional customers = white
The major balancing act that we are witnessing is the acceptance of a new consumer base and what this means to the products identity. Do the makers consider this as a detraction to their standing as a measure of class within their society. A lot of this depends on the amount of money being made currently and how much do they think they can make in the future. For the most part the financial status of black people should continue increase so no matter what means of exposure to luxury items we get we should continue to buy “luxury items”. So why the hate?

James said Cristal put itself at serious risk of losing the new clientele because of the comments made by Frederic Rouzaud, the president and chief executive of Champagne Louis Roederer — a 230-year-old French company that makes the bubbly.
In a recent issue of The Economist magazine, Rouzaud said the company viewed the affection for its champagne from rappers and their fans with "curiosity and serenity."

“Curiosity and serenity” this asshole was trying real hard not to say “I don’t like diamond clad monkeys using my products to bathe big butt scantly clad whores” Who say shit like this? Let’s use this in a scenario: As I walked through the zoo I gazed at the baboons with curiosity in regards to their mental capacity and serenity knowing that if the savage element in the animal arose I was safe due the physical conditions emplaced by the zoo…

Asked by the magazine if the association between Cristal and the "bling lifestyle" could be detrimental, Rouzaud replied:

Bling lifestyle = “Kneegrows with too much money behaving badly”

"That's a good question, but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business."

Dude put this right on the line. I DON’T WANT KNEEGROWS BUYING MY PRODUCT AND I NEVER HAVE. Plain and simple

Jay-Z, who has made numerous references to Cristal throughout his career, pulled the champagne from his sports lounges, where bottles sold for $450 and $600. And, at a concert this week at Radio City Music Hall, the Def Jam Recordings president omitted "Cristal" from some of his lyrics.
"What they don't seem to have been interested in is seeing the popularity of Cristal in hip-hop culture," James said of executives at Cristal, which ranked No. 8 in mentions in songs last year. James' company, Agenda Inc., compiles the list.
"I can't imagine Cristal recovering very quickly. It (hip-hop loyalists) was a huge part of their market," James said.

Once again this product was intended for a particular sect and they are intent on keeping that way…

Noel Hankin, vice president of multicultural initiatives at Moet Hennessy USA, said his company, which markets Hennessy, Dom Perignon and Belvedere, among other drinks, said his company welcomes the association.
"We appreciate that business. We want it. It's critical to our business success," Hankin said. "We've never had any hesitation or reservation about embracing the hip-hop community."
Moet Hennessy has sponsored the televised Vibe Awards, where bottles of Moet were conspicuously visible on tables. Hennessy ranked No. 6 on Agenda's report.
This company is placing its bets on “Diversity”
Louis Vuitton, which tied with Cristal at No. 8 on the list, declined to comment on the association. So did No. 2 Nike.

These companies can play the fence because they continue to “Plead the Fifth” even with the unabashed support of HIP HOP and its following they can rely on silence. These companies like money but don’t wanna commit to something that could destroy THEIR IMAGE the next time mister liberal or mister conservative wants to go on some kind of self serving campaign.

John Crawford, a spokesman for Bentley Motors (No. 4) released a short statement that said in part that the company "believes that increased interest in the marque, from any quarter, is good for the brand as a whole."

These cats are working the “Mo Money” spin any business is good business especially when you are sell cars for $500,000

An executive at Mercedes-Benz, part of DaimlerChrysler AG, viewed the attention from a business standpoint.
"Hip-hop is really a language of the younger generation and it's always great for a brand to be relevant with the younger or next generation of buyers," said Kass Dawson, who heads emerged markets at Mercedes-Benz.
"We consider it a compliment of the highest order," Dawson said, adding that Mercedes has sponsored events related to awards shows and hip-hop magazine parties. "It really speaks to what our brand stands for — the success, status, aspirations."

"It really speaks to what our brand stands for — the success, status, aspirations." Wow I never knew this…

Cadillac spokesman
Kevin Smith gave props to celebrities, including rappers, and their fondness for the Escalade for the company's resurgence. Cadillac has loaned vehicles for placement in videos and movies, he said. For the prototype of the 2007 Escalade, the company invited about 35 celebrities to an exclusive viewing.

Black folks been rolling Caddy’s forever so it would be pretty damn stupid for them to start “hating on folks” now. That would be like Kool Aid pulling a Tommy Hilfiger, SHITTY ASSHOLE “HYPHY” LITTLE SCHOOL BUS DUMB!!!

Even Rouzaud, the executive atop the Cristal brand, seemed to realize the potential impact a boycott by hip-hop devotees would have on his bottom line.
After Jay-Z announced the boycott of Cristal, Rouzaud issued a statement to "set the record straight and express our gratitude that people from a diversity of cultures and countries have been enjoying our wine."

Somebody musta put this fool in check (NOT JAY Z) and said hey lets not be too hasty fucking up millions and millions of dollars. Because you know how much “these people” like to spend money on trying to be what they're not? I wouldn’t call it a retraction, just a refocusing of the social intent. Some people need to be schooled on the new methods, some times, even those in positions which DEFINE CLASS.

Rouzaud characterized Jay-Z's accusations as "unjust." Moreover, Rouzaud said, the company has been "a little bit dismayed at seeing our wine sprayed around in celebration instead of being savored in a glass," in reference to scenes in rap videos.
Once again if you missed it:
“As I walked through the zoo I gazed at the baboons with curiosity in regards to their mental capacity and serenity knowing that if the savage element in the animal arose I was safe due the physical conditions emplaced by the zoo…”