“I’ve been shot seven times!”
“I did hard time!”
And these are… good things? Maybe not, but they always seem to capture the attention of today’s generation. Maybe that’s why recent Hip Hop star Akon lied about his background, adding a little bit more “thug” to his resume than was actually there.
Atlanta Journal – Constitution’s Cynthia Tucker shares an enlightening perspective about this thug culture:
You’ve heard of resume inflation? You’ve heard of people who lie about having Ph.D.s or Ivy League pedigrees in order to get ahead?
The world of thug culture has its own perverse equivalent, in which middle-class men with minor legal transgressions exaggerate their bad behavior, claiming to be hard-core degenerates to impress youngsters looking for outlaw role models. In this destructive environment, the more violent and predatory you are, the more heroic you seem.
That helps to explain why a metro Atlanta hip-hop star known as Akon wove a tall tale of malevolence and criminality, claiming to have spent three years in prison for running a “notorious car theft operation,” a story he’s been telling for years. In fact, he has apparently never served hard prison time. The Smoking Gun Web site recently exposed Akon as a thug wannabe, a “James Frey with … an American Music Award.”
American popular culture has always had a tendency to romanticize hoodlums, whether Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde or Tony Soprano. But the hip-hop world’s celebration of savage violence, educational failure and misogyny has been one of the worst influences on American youth, especially black youth, in decades. If you want to ruin a nation, a society or an ethnic group, persuade its members that the highest form of achievement is committing crimes.
This is a huge mistake for Akon. To today’s generation, no insult could be worse than “phony.” Authenticity is huge today. Kids don’t care if you’re a thug or in rehab. Those things are fine… as long as you “keep it real.”