Beyoncé Gun Control PSA: Remember “Thug Love?”
In a new star-studded anti-gun PSA, singer Beyoncé Knowles demands a “plan” to deal with youth gun violence. Okay, Beyoncé, here’s a plan – don’t be a beautiful and popular singer who tells her young fans that they have to be “thugs” in order to earn her affection.
Boom! Now THAT’S a plan!
Oops…too late, though.
Anyone remember the Destiny’s Child/50 Cent collaboration called “Thug Love,” in which Beyoncé extolled the virtues of violent “gangsta” thugs?
*A thug’s what I want A thug’s what I need
Even though my friends don’t seem to see
That he lace me with money
He knows when I want it
And I’m never gonna leave my baby
My thugged out no-good baby (full lyrics here)
Now that’s a GREAT way to reduce youth violence, Beyoncé. That’s some damn fine reducin’ there.
For the record, I don’t believe that the media “causes” mass shootings like the Newtown tragedy. And if the Newtown shooter was indeed mentally ill, there can be no telling what obsessions he may have had. Daniel Lee Young, the lunatic who went on a rampage in Westwood Village during the 1984 Olympics, injuring 48 and killing a 15-year-old girl, claimed he was influenced by the music of Stevie Wonder. With schizos, any number of things, including totally innocuous things, can set them off.
But gang-related youth crimes are far more easily influenced by the media. Gang members don’t kill each other over sneakers that are deemed “uncool.” From clothing to cars to slang to mannerisms, the gang culture is nothing if not imitative. It’s practically defined by that aspect.
So when one of the hottest divas in music sings about her love of “thugs,” there’s a better-than-average chance that more than a few kids will take notice.
Quick fact: “Thug Love” debuted in fall 1999. It was a huge hit throughout 2000. According to U.S. Department of Justice statistics, among cities with one or more gang homicides in 1999, 47% reported an increase in gang-related homicides from 1999 to 2000. Let’s examine one such city, my own gang-plagued city of L.A. In 1999, there were 349 gang-related homicides. In 2000, there were 448. The percentage of L.A. homicides attributed to gangster “thugs” jumped from 39.2 to 44.8 after “Thug Love” hit big.
Liberals love “correlation equals causation,” right?
Now, take those stats any way you want. But has Beyoncé ever wondered if even one of those homicides was committed by someone influenced by the fact that she sang the praises of violent thugs? Then again, what’s a few dead black and Hispanic kids when you can have a #1 single.
And lest you think that “Thug Love” was a one-time, misguided anomaly, Beyoncé revisited the “I need a thug” theme in 2004’s “Soldier,” which she co-wrote (the “soldier” in the title doesn’t refer to a member of the armed forces, but a street hood):
*If your status ain’t hood I ain’t checkin’ for him
Betta be street if he lookin’ at me
I need a soldier
The ultimate irony is that if confronted on this issue, Beyoncé would almost certainly invoke the 1st Amendment, even as she attacks the 2nd. Hypocrisy, thy name is Hollywood.