inTouch: 50 Cent, the Anti-Bully Bully?
June 30, 2011 by
So what would the author of that piece say about the recent news that 50 Cent (née Curtis James Jackson III) will be writing a YA novel entitled Playground scheduled to hit shelves (and e-readers) in 2012?
Flavorwire notes that “The semi-autobiographical story will follow a 13-year-old bully who learns to take responsibility for his actions.” And in a sound bite that has been quoted in various places, Fiddy, says “I have a teenage son; it is my goal that this will have a positive influence on all teenagers.”
As you can imagine, the idea that “Fiddy love the kids” has not been universally embraced. Good.is asserts that since millions of kids look up to him, 50 might want to refrain from controversial Twitter statements and picking fights with other rappers. Entertainers, even the ones who influence kids, are not groomed by studio or record company charm schools as they once were. We get them as they are: uncut, uncensored and full of contradictions, but also poignant at times.
It is true that 50 Cent does not have a strong anti-violence track record. However, by writing (or helping a ghostwriter to write) a book, he will likely get some kids who do not read regularly to consider picking up at least one book. It isn’t exactly the same, but when Diddy appeared on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun with accomplished thespians like Phylicia Rashad and Sanaa Lathan, he brought in an audience that did not necessarily frequent Broadway. Did they return later for more? Will reluctant young readers pick up more books are the finish 50′s? I can’t say.
50 Cent joins a slew of other celebrities who have their names on children’s books (Jerry Seinfeld, Hillary Duff, Whoopi Goldberg, Katie Couric, Jamie Lee Curtis). He also is part of a pack of hip hop artists who have branched out into other business ventures, trading on their celebrity to help them hawk products, act (Ice Cube, Ice T, Snoop Dogg, Queen Latifah, Eminem, Ludacris, Tupac, Mos Def, Common, Will Smith), and reveal some of their life stories in books that aren’t quite autobiographies (Tupac, Jay-Z). Rappers are not just performers, they are also storytellers, so it is a not illogical that they would write books and scripts as well as produce movies.
And that really is the lesson for all of us. Beyond the anti-bullying message that will hopefully reach some young people, 50 Cent illustrates the ethos of the American Dream: Get Rich or Die Tryin’.
Will you be buying 50′s book for a young person in your life?
About The Author:
Jada Bradley (jadabradley.com) is a Washington DC-based writer and educator who enjoys telling stories in formal and informal ways. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post and online. She holds Masters in Spanish Translation and is a great supporter of creative expression in the various forms it takes. She also writes about local cultural events as D.C. Cultural Events Examiner for Examiner.com. Her blog, In Other Words, can be found at inotherwordz.blogspot.com.