Ever since the emergence of hip hop as a billion dollar industry, a large amount of advertisers have capitalized on this booming market.
They exploit blacks as one-dimensional party animals, mindless athletes, or the status quo of everything that is “cool”.
Companies are using blacks in their ads not because they want to be diversified, but simply because they are trying to make the most of the vastly growing urban and suburban markets.
We’ve all seen the commercials of blacks dancing, singing, playing ball, or sitting on the corner “chillin”.
Most of us can relate to these activities considering they are definitely a part of our culture.
However, the demeaning fact of the matter is that major corporations are literally “bottling up”, and selling the black image in order to increase their revenues.
This “pimping” of blacks probably wouldn’t be as prevalent if the advertisers occasionally portrayed us as intellectuals and scholars instead of slam dunking beboppers.
This one-dimensional image has definitely affected the way whites interact with us.
I personally have heard whites say things like, “I’m sure you know the words to this song” (referring to a Master P single).
Or better yet, “You look like you can run pretty fast”.
When three speakers responsible for purchasing and advertising of young men’s clothing for a popular Florida department store came to my class, black pimping became even more apparent.
They talked about how much they supported clothing lines like Sean John, Enyce, and Phat Farm and how lines like Tommy Hilfiger and Polo were not being stocked that much.
The three speakers-two white one black that didn’t say that much-had obviously been influenced by the commercialization of hip-hop and black culture.
It almost made me sad to realize exactly how corporate executives, who are mostly white, perceive their newest cash cow.
These advertisers will continue to milk the unfairly perpetuated black image until the next money-maker comes along.
Then it will be back to seeing blacks only on syrup bottles and rice boxes.
Terrell Scott, 20 is a junior business student from Nashville. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.