Don’t Let 50, Oprah Or Lil Wayne
Near Your Kids This Week

When you get a free moment today say a quick prayer for Marquise Jackson. He’s the 11-year-old kid caught in the disgracefully public war between his estranged parents, rap star 50 Cent and Shaniqua Tompkins. Mom and Dad each claim they want to protect their son, but they’re both exploiting and wounding him by bad-mouthing each other in the media.

Obviously there’s some deep, deep rage between 50 and Shaniqua. The hostilities plummeted to disgusting new depths in the wake of the arson fire that destroyed the house where Shaniqua and Marquise were living. I hope Tompkins is wrong about that blaze. If 50 is responsible, as she says, then we could be dealing with something like evil here.

All of us who have been through a painful divorce, separation or break-up know how powerful the emotions are. But it’s wrong to let our anger boil over in front of our kids. So, 50 and Shaniqua, please stop talking to reporters (especially when Marquise is around). Stop posting video statements on the web. Work this mess out in the courtroom. Put your son’s need for peace of mind ahead of your desire for retaliation.

Grow up.

If you keep putting your business in the street, you’ll not only make matters worse between the two of you but you’ll create a bitter, emotionally-scarred child who could wind up hating both of y’all.

Oh, and while we’re on this subject, thumbs down to Oprah for sensationalizing those crying kids (11-year-old Daisy and her 7-year-old brother, Kris) on last week’s “Children of Divorce” episode. Filming their session with therapist M. Gary Neuman was one thing, but making the kids sit through that taped piece in front of the studio audience then coming back with close-ups on their bawling faces was pure exploitation. It irked me to hear Oprah praise the kids for having the “courage” to let their feelings out “on national television.” As if the kids really had a choice. And as if national television is the appropriate place for childhood catharsis. Which, of course, it is not.

As the self-congratulating Oprah hugged the visibly uneasy little boy, I could hear Maximus, blood-stained sword in hand, shouting contemptuously at the roaring crowd: “Are you not entertained?”

One last comment on kids before I let you go…

I’ve finally figured out why Lil Wayne’s album cover bothers me so much. The first time I saw the altered baby picture on the front of “Tha Carter III,” I felt creeped-out by the sight of an infant with thuggish tattoos and bling. It always hurts me to see black men depict themselves as street thugs, but presenting a baby this way saddens me much more. It’s as if this precious black child is being robbed of all his innocence and potential and being placed on a doomed path.

But that isn’t the only thing that bothers me about the image on Lil Wayne’s album cover. I just realized that the fake picture of a tatted, blinged-out baby reminded me of a disgusting t-shirt that sparked controversy a few years ago. It featured a caricature of a diapered black infant with its wrists in tiny handcuffs and the slogan, “Arrest black babies before they become criminals.” Weezy’s thug infant image could reinforce a similar message. It could be easily interpreted to mean that Lil Wayne – as an archetypal inner-city black man – was destined from birth to be a thug.

A lot of angry, frightened white people believe that black males must be tightly controlled and harshly disciplined from a very young age because they are fundamentally dangerous. This evil attitude toward black children may also be the reason that former education secretary and “family values” advocate William Bennett had a clear conscience after telling his conservative radio audience that aborting unborn black babies would decrease crime.

Now, I know somebody’s going to accuse me of hating on Lil Wayne (which I am not) and making too big of a deal out of his album cover. But I wrote this editorial to remind us of the racist attitudes that flow through our society and which must be continuously fought.

Sgt. Waters was right when he said, “They still hate you.”

They hate our kids, too.

Stay vigilant. Thanks for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.


Cameron Turner is graduate of Stanford University whose editorials, entertainment news features and audio documentaries have appeared on national radio networks, online and in print for over 20 years.

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