Friday, October 31, 2008

Everybody listen to Usher

Given that 12% of Americans still believe Barack Obama is a Muslim, I applaud anyone who challenges the citizens of the USA to pay more attention to the world around them.

So, in theory, I should be fully supportive of Usher's new song. It's called Hush and it sees the R&B star chastising his fans for ignoring "the issues" - which Usher has, of course, been studying during his part-time masters degree in social studies [can someone check this, please - ed]

Let's take a quick look at verse one:

Every day he wakes up
In his million dollar home
His life is like a video...
The only reality he knows

He jumps inside
His $100,000 car
Cruisin' up the boulevard...
Drivin' past people living hard

Complains about the gas prices
But still supports the war
He complains about his six-figure salary
That's taxed to feed the poor

He doesn't understand the homeless
Doesn't think its genocide
That millions die completely from letters
So he does shit to make it better

If you don't quite understand that last bit, Usher is saying HIV is genocide. In other words, he subscribes to the not-at-all-discredited theory that Aids was created by the CIA to kill off African Americans.

He's not the first urban star to publicly endorse this idea - Kanye West apparently believes it, even though (or perhaps because) his grandmother died of the disease.

But that doesn't stop it being completely preposterous.

And, while it's deliciously ironic that Usher exposes his staggeringly moronic ignorance in a song which challenges that very thing, there's something hugely distasteful about the fact that his statements have gone unchallenged by the radio stations and TV channels that are playing the song. Not to mention his record company, LaFace, which is owned by Sony - one of the world's most powerful media conglomerates with a global annual turnover in excess of $80bn.

I had been going to put the video for Hush at the bottom of this post but, on reflection, I don't really see why I should play even the smallest of small parts in perpetuating this idiocy.

Instead, here's Phil Collins' Another Day In Paradise which, by comparison, deserves some sort of Nobel prize for erudite musical commentary on the problems faced by contemporary society.

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