What happens when you invite a rap star to speak to a classroom of middle school students? Short answer is you piss off a lot of parents for not giving them a heads up and get the scorn of the Internet. Radric Davis, best known as Gucci Mane (pictured) – BRR! – spoke before students at Crawford Long Middle School in Atlanta for Career Day. Considering his very, very long rap sheet, which most recently includes a charge of him shoving a woman out of a Hummer, numerous parents weren’t thrilled to find out via Facebook that Gucci was talking to their babies about their futures.
Atlanta’s WSBTV quoted resident Leslie Moody saying,“How do you justify bringing someone who is not even at the top of his game in the rap industry, who has a rap sheet because he’s been in so much legal trouble?”
Ouch. Fine, Gucci isn’t Kanye West, though, note that some of Gucci’s mixtapes go hard. In fact, one of my favorite tracks is “How Bout U,” which has a hook that reminds me that in life, one has to continuously get to the money. I mean, that’s not exactly a lesson that far away from the ideals of a capitalistic society, now is it?
Still, point well taken, Ms. Moody. Even so, I just want to be certain that the issue isn’t so much about a rapper or a person with a criminal past talking to students about their professional options so much as it is this particular individual. An Atlanta Public School representative spoke on the matter, saying a follow-up with the school will take place about the visit. The rep went on to stress, “We want to make sure people who serve as role models to our students are in line with our ethical and integrity standards.”
Look, I wouldn’t invite Gucci Mane to speak to a bunch of middle school students either, especially one who would allegedly shove a woman out of a moving vehicle, but I would invite him to speak to a therapist, a parole officer, or cellmate. (Please don’t hurt me, Gucci.)
Watch Gucci Mane’s Top 5 Career Day Subjects here:
If anything, Gucci’s message about the hustle life would’ve been better received by high school students anyway. I keed, I keed. Well, kinda.
Seriously, I just want to make certain that there is a distinction between Gucci Mane the rapper, with the hyperactive rap sheet, and T.I., the repeat offender with the heart of gold who resides in the tax bracket of champions. Same for my play Uncle 2 Chainz who might be an ex-felon, but is also someone that went to college and now uses his celebrity to bring awareness to other ex-felons about discovering their voting rights in select states. As sad as our incarceration rates are, students — at least those of an appropriate age — need to know that if they make a mistake, it might not be the end.
Or maybe I’m a jilted college graduate annoyed with my monthly student loan rates and limited options courtesy of an evil private lender who sometimes wishes he had majored in “learning how to pretend to be a drug czar turned emcee” a la Rick Ross or reality television star — the latter of which is the best option to becoming a published author these days.
Feel free to chime in.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick