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Letter to the Editor

Writer sees both sides of "50-cent" visit

web posted May 31, 2010
Dear Editor,
Let me begin by saying that I applaud Mr. Jackson (A.K.A. 50Cent) for his interest in the genealogy of his family.  Far too many times it seems that celebrates we see on television or hear on the radio are disconnected with those of us who lead common, simple lives. 

In addition, the fact that Mr. Curtis would take time away from his busy schedule to participate in the making of a television special shows his true desire to understand where he came from.  While I'm not a Hip/Hop or Rap music fan, I have kept up with Mr. Jackson over the years through music periodicals and the Internet.  His, is the story of what America still has to offer to those individuals who wish to work hard, even though I personally don't agree with the fruits of his labor. 

Yes, Mr. Curtis was an admitted drug dealer at one point from what I understand, one who almost paid for this transgression with his life.  However, it's obvious to this writer that Mr. Curtis, either through his own actions or through the help of a family member or friend, changed his life in a large way.  And as a citizen of Edgefield I certainly welcome Mr. Curtis and his film crew here in order to do their business. 
However, I feel that Mr. Jackson having the opportunity to address our local High School students may have been a mistake. 

First off, Mr. Jackson is a "musician", and I use that term very loosely.  I've never considered poets, lyricists or writers to be musicians.  On the contrary, musicians play an instrument, something that takes years and years of hard work to master.  And even though Mr. Jackson isn't a musician, why was he not allowed to speak to the music students at STHS?  Certainly he could have given them advice on the music business or simply told stories about how his records are made.  In addition, Mr. Jackson does work closely with some of the best musicians in the world when making his recordings.  I understand the desire of our school administrators to have Mr. Jackson address students about his success.  Furthermore, I can see how his story would be inspirational to a small majority of students in the general makeup at STHS.

In the end I know that if Mr. Jackson inspired only one student to not deal drugs, to stay in school, to strive to achieve his or her goals, then the visit was a success.  As an adult I know that often times Hip/Hop or Rap artist are simply playing "gangster" characters because it sells to young buyers.  In Mr. Jackson's case, he has the scars to prove he isn't just "playing" the role of a reformed gangster.  In the end however, I wonder if any of our school administrators ever took the time to listen to the lyrics from Mr. Jackson's recordings?  Like the vast majority of Hip/Hop artist, they rap about two subjects that I feel to be detrimental to the young of our society (the selling of drugs and the dehumanizing of women) all the while telling a totally different story when walking amongst us. 

I simply question how much thought went into the decision to allow Mr. Jackson into our school. 

John L. Brown Jr.

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