hip hop music

December 16, 2003

Brent Batten Finally Gets It.. Sort Of..

That columnist down in Florida, who caused an uproar last week with his muddled attempt to poke fun at hip-hop slang, now realizes he made a bonehead move. He still doesn't quite grasp the situation, I'll give him props anyway for a sincere apology:

Brent Batten: An apology for attempt at humor that failed

I never thought I'd miss the days when most of my e-mail was spam.

Over the past week, I've received well over 100 electronic critiques of my Dec. 2 column on the unsuccessful hip hop concert in Collier County. Most of them have been negative, some scathingly so.

The concept of the article was to relate the story of the concert and its aftermath in the colorful slang of the hip hop culture. It is obvious that in some circles, my attempt at humor failed worse than the concert.

The harshest of the critics accuse me of being a racist, of reaching back to the days of blackface minstrel shows and Amos and Andy routines to find language belittling the black community.

This was not the case.

The language used in the column was demonstrably drawn from the lyrics of Ludacris, the scheduled main act of Hip Hop Winterfest and from glossaries of hip hop slang readily available online.

So while I reject the notion that racism formed the basis of the column, I can't deny that the piece brought offense to a large number of people.

That was not the intent.

It is my job to have my finger on the pulse of the community.

In this case, my finger was asleep.

Issues of race remain a sore subject in this country. I should have looked beyond the obvious and seen that while hip hop artists and their diverse fan base have a singular means of communicating, it too closely parallels the racist vernacular of previous times to lend itself to harmless parody.

My insensitivity to this fact has brought distress to good people and for that I am sorry.

It has also brought negative notoriety to the Naples Daily News and Scripps newspapers, two organizations of which I am proud to be a member. Bringing them into disrepute is the last thing I would want to do.

I will endeavor to do better.

Posted by jsmooth995 at December 16, 2003 2:27 PM

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