A story has been brewing the past few days in the Blog-o-Blag-o-Sphere, and this very moment seemed like the most appropriate time to bring it to you. So how are you anyway? Did you get a chance to listen to that new Tipper album yet? It's pretty fly. I enjoy its serenity while I spend countless hours writing code. Thanks Filmore. Shit... the story. Sorry about that.
So this is one of those ditties where first-hand experience would be a huge asset, but as a white kid who grew up in a predominately white community, I'm not really comfortable making any comments on the content of the video released by up-and-comer NYOIL. I will, however, agree that the black community seems to be in a rough place, and it's probably true that commercial rap is not helping the situation. Lynching people is obviously not the answer, and calling for the mass hanging of many visible members of the black community is probably not the best way to draw attention to your cause. NYOIL's supposed mission is to embody an ideal and remain faceless in the community. He claims that by not trying to become an icon himself it will allow him to speak for others who share the same viewpoints but can't afford the negative publicity. His main goal is to become the catalyst for a renewed sense of awareness in the community and to draw as much attention as possible in the process.
And YouTube took notice. Following nearly 5,000 page views in a single day, the powers-that-be canned NYOIL's video. The artist followed up the alleged censorship with a few e-mails looking for an explanation, but as of writing this he has yet to receive a response. In an interview with Unkut.com, NYOIL has this to say about the ban: "Why would a song like 'Y'all should all get lynched' be more troublesome to YouTube than the thousands of videos of underage black girls and white girls alike doing jigglit videos? Doesn't that sort of imply child pornography? That doesn't strike you as odd that of all the filth on that site one of the things that they are diligent about is a song that is in essence reminding the people of the sacrifices that were made and to live up to them?"
This entire brouhaha is reminiscent of the KMD fiasco of 1994, where Elektra refused to release Black Bastards due to the Sambo character hanging on the front cover. Years later, the album would be released to little-or-no controversy, but this situation may not mirror KMD's due to some key differences. First, with YouTube you see the video before it's censored; and secondly, NYOIL is dead serious. The remainder of his interview with Unkut reveals that he's speaking in the literal sense about lynching those who reinforce negative stereotypes and become caricatures themselves in the process, which lends a shred of credibility to YouTube for taking down the video.
Unfortunately, it doesn't entirely excuse them for censoring the video in the first place (if that's what they did). You can agree or disagree with NYOIL's politics, but removing the content he created without an explanation smells of the new financial backers leaning on YouTube to remove content that has the potential to snowball into their bottom lines. This is only speculation, of course, by some geek who spends entirely too much time on the Inter-Tubes. Take that as you will.