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An Open Forum Interview From '94
Photo Credit: Rolling Stone Magazine
ICE-T TOWN HALL INTERVIEW
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL BOOKSTORE
(Q: A man offers an opinion that when a black person gets criticsed it's because they deserve it, not because of race).
Ice-T: True. She's not saying "be satisfied." She's just saying, "Ok, be happy and let's move on that." But, but let me tell you something my brother, let me tell you something brother. What she's saying is, we gotta give props when we win because there's enough people out there trying to knock down everything we do. So we have to jump on the more positive side.
Right now, it's the gangster rap thing. So what they'll do, they'll turn around and get black people to fight about it and stand back and watch us fight.
One thing -- I'm going to tell you. Rap, as a whole, has given more money and, and hope, to kids in the ghetto than basketball. Nothing has ever given these kids hope And you seen all these kids. So fuck this shit they're trying to say about it. It's a chance for kids to get up out of there.
Man, it saved my life! You know what I'm sayin? It's saving people's lives. And "oh well, I think that fuck is bad" ... No! We're actually doing something, and we've got to be down with it.
Criticism is so easy to do, man. Let me tell you. We can all sit on the sidelines of the NBA and watch these backetball players play, but none of us could fill the bench spot of the worst team the last guy on the bench. So we can't play, but we got so much shit to say about anybody.
We shold start trying to do things, be something. I always ask a critic,' have you ever done anything? Have you ever done anything?' No, critics done nothing! Criticism is sitting in a nice soft chair: 'Naw, I don't like that, I don't like this. That aint shit.' Like these Clarence Thomas commenters! [ed: controversy over comments made by Supreme Court then-nominee]. Whatever he's done, he's a fucking lawyer and he's made it someplace. And let's try not to shit on him! Man, let me tell you, homie. There's enough people that want to take us down. We gotta get some solidarity.
(Q: Man responds: that's why we've got to present a good image to others type thing).
Oh! So try me for being a brother that came from nothing to something? Man, that's the image. That's the role model.
(Man: all people should be role models all the time and do it right).
Well, we don't. Ok, ok, I hear you. Let's move on. I hear exactly what you're saying brother, but that's I think what I said about it. We have to show our negatives too, we can't just show our positives. And check each other. Gotta work it out. (Takes Next question). What's up?
(Q; Woman says that if you depict yourself a certain way don't be surprised if people use it to fuel their racism).
I hear you. Well, I'm going to tell you how I feel about it. As far as racism goes, it's like in the book. when I'm saying it's 'racism', I got me a real quick racism check. Where I say, if you have a problem with somebody being sexually connected to somebody in your family. If you're Latino and you have a problem with a white man or you have a problem with an Asian person marrying your sister, or your mother or your brother or anybody in here. If you got a problem with that then you're racist.
Because racism is a problem that spurs from, you don't even know these people, you just don't like the color. And sexism, and the war of the sexes, it's just something that's gonna... I don't even know how it's ever end.
Because, I really believe that God put us on this earth to kinda like do this thing where women do this and men do that. And it's kinda like called... love. You know? It's you say this and you say that. If men and women were the same shit would be real boring. You know? And I just think it's like a thing that's gonna happen.
I mean, because even if all of us were the same color we'd still be two different sexes in this room, see. And there's always goinna be a little of this that, this that. And I don't know how you're gonna totally eliminate it. I understand the theory of equality and all that but... the dance that me and a woman do, we do.
I think maybe racism might be able to decline but we're gonna dance together and we're gonna trip. I'm going to say, "I'm going out" and you're going to say "how come you can go out if I can't go out?" And it's just I'm a man and you're a woman and we're going to do this dance, and it's just...
But I'm going to tell you right now. In '94, women, women are causing some shit! And uh, I mean you know, I'm like, the '94 woman is real straight up! Because there is, they are... just being themselves, and I'm down with it. I love it. I love all women, I mean I totally believe women are gonna run the world because men are cowards.
(Q: Undistinguishable. Woman speaks out, asking why he uses disrespectful words towards women, treating them like slaves. Your attitude is the same thing as slavery, or something to that effect. But you wouldn't let a woman enslave you. Crowd 'ohhs' that attack).
Ice-T: I hear what she's saying. I don't know. I mean, I don't know if it can be considered slavery. Slavery is something a little bit different. You know. You say slavery, that really insults a lot of black people. You know. Slavery is something different (to) a lot of people. But, but, on the real though, I hear what she's saying. I understand it, you know. I just…I'm just me and I basically just… wanna have sex.
Allright? I'm an asshole, allright? (To next person): Allright, what's up? (Guy needs microphone). Hey, help this shit.
(Guy asks about the public image of black people in the media).
Ice-T: Another, another real problem that's going on too is that rap is under such a highly focused microscope, without everything it is, so. I mean, if you guys were doing Motley Crue here you wouldn't be talking about sexism to them guys, you'd be asking about 'where you touring?' Uh, you know, 'what kinda instruments you use?' You don't ask us questions. You put a rapper on TV and it's like all this political shit. It's like, you know, we rap. You know what I'm sayin? We're just people. I'm just a dude off the street. So I think there's a point where it gets to the point where you guys… it's over-intellectualized, you know? I think you're taking it a little farther than what it is.
You know, sometimes there are, sometimes we make records that are…are message oriented and sometimes they're just bullshit. They're just bullshit like any other 'I wanna rock and roll all night'…It's rock and roll. The sooner y'all figure that out, the better off you'll be. This is rock and roll. Rap is rock and roll. It's the same shit, just not guitars. But when we started rock and roll, black people started it. We did it with pianos. And white people said, 'Oh! You got something!' Why? Not because of their views and all this bullshit.
I'm gonna tell you the truth. It has nothing to do with these words that are being exchanged. There is a serious fear of white people liking black people. There is a serious fear of you understanding me. There's a extremely serious fear of your daughter taking down that New Kids On The Block poster and putting an Ice Cube poster over her princess bedroom set. (Laughs, claps.)
There is an extremely deep root fear about us getting along. So, let's find all the other problems and make it look like we got something to fight about. It's rock and roll, you know. Don’t take it so serious. (To next person): What's up?