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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Hip-Hop vs. Oprah
Friday, June 02, 2006

This week Ice Cube has joined the short list of rappers who have publicly blasted Oprah Winfrey for not having Hip-Hop artists on her show, or, in the case of Ludacris, having them on and then reportedly treating them poorly. Let me just say I’m not a huge fan of Oprah’s interviewing style, I think she takes the spotlight away from her guests a lot of the time and puts it on herself. That being said I do respect the way she’s built her empire. It’s clear why someone would want to be on her show, all she has to do is recommend a book and it becomes an instant best seller, but do rappers really think Oprah can work the same magic for them?

Oprah is a 52 year old woman who has a show that caters to middle aged women. None of that, not her age and not her audience, has anything to do with the Hip-Hop world. Ice Cube asking why he’s not on Oprah would be like Dr. Phil wondering why he can’t get on Rap City, the audiences just aren’t right. 50 Cent realizes this and was quoted as saying “I think she caters to older white women. Oprah's audience is my audience's parents, so I could care less about Oprah or her show." This isn’t so much a barb thrown Oprah’s way, but a simple fact. What’s gone horribly wrong for Oprah is that because of comments like 50’s she’s now trying to show she’s down with Hip-Hop.

Recently Oprah made an appearance on NYC's Power105, the top rated Hip-Hop radio station in the city, to speak with Ed Lover on the topic. She said she liked some Hip-Hop and then proceeded to reel of names of artists that retired years ago (Jay-Z), songs that haven’t been popular for years (In Da Club) and even gave Mary J Blige a mention, who’s a friend of Oprah’s but has nothing to do with Hip-Hop. Oprah is a mother figure to a lot of people out there and her appearance on Power105 was akin to your parents showing up at your prom and doing dances that are five years old in an effort to try to seem hip. Oprah doesn’t need to do that.

The fact of the matter is if Oprah doesn’t like Hip-Hop and doesn’t want rap artists as guests so what? It doesn’t matter. Hip-Hop has survived for over 30 years without sitting on Oprah’s couch, why is there a sudden need to be on it now (other than Cube releasing an album next week)? Oprah has had Eve on her show, a female rapper, so I can see why some male rappers might be upset, but seriously, are you looking to sell to her audience?

I think the main problem here is Hip-Hop has always been a culture that has survived and thrived despite the masses. Hip-Hop was born without radio stations, without TV shows, without major magazine coverage and now that Hip-Hop has all of those things and is of the masses some members of the Hip-Hop community feel the need to assimilate with everything popular. Well this is one place where the door is still closed. Oprah has built her show the way she wants it and she being who she is she’s earned the right to do whatever she wants with it. If she doesn’t want rappers on she doesn’t have to have them on, but at the same time she shouldn’t be going on Power105 talking about how she likes Hip-Hop. The radio appearance will only add more pressure from rappers who have now heard she likes Hip-Hop so there will be more of an expectation of her to have rappers on her show.

Oprah, you do you. Ice Cube, you do you do. Stay in your lanes and enjoy your successes. The fact of the matter is Oprah doesn’t need Hip-Hop and Hip-Hop doesn’t need Oprah.

P.S. – Maaaan I hope this doesn’t destroy my chances of being on her show.

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posted by Adam Bernard @ 9:47 AM  
  • At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    C'mon AB, don't you know she's doing all this in anticipation of launching her hip-hop record label? Haha, seriously though, that wouldn't surprise me one bit.
    The Mystery Man.

  • At 10:22 PM, Anonymous ariel said…

    excellent point!

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