Rap and the “Suicidal Selfie”
Putting the (metaphorical) chrome to your dome.
The other day while doing the typical weekend run-of-the-mill social media perusing I came across a photo of a rapper that raised a red flag. What caused the alarm was the fact that the rapper took the opportunity to pose for a photo with a gun to their jaw, albeit made of nothing more than their own two fingers.
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t something new. Evidence of this is our societal proclivity for the utterances of such commonalities as “Fuck my life!” “Kill me now!” “Take me now!”. . . you get the point. What I found so alarming about this rapper, and countless others, adopting this pose – or any variation thereof – is the fact that on some real shit, y’all are rappers fam. You want me to believe that when you put yourself out there – to the fans, public, your followers – that you want folks to look at you and think you want to off yourselves? That doesn’t make much sense and I’ve yet to see a rapper Bud Dwyer himself for likes or follows. So what is really going on?
One of the most famous images of someone adopting a pose is that of Malcom X leader, activist, and luminary of the Civil Rights movement of the ’60s. Of course pre-dating a contemporary hip hop/cultural aesthetic Malcom’s pose was one of a pensive man on a mission to find a solution to injustice, violence, and inadequacy when it came to simple human rights. A pose that has been utilized by some in hip hop to echo a militaristic ideal, a “by any means necessary” way of taking on the world ahead of them. This is not the case with what social media, blogs, fansites and the like are riddled with.
It appears that what we have going on today is a parade of “crazy” or what is to be perceived as such. “Hey look, I’m out here living this life you the spectator thinks is amazingly awesome, but in reality I just wish I wasn’t here. Better yet, I wish I had a pistol so that I could blow my brains out.” A picture is worth a thousand words but a figurative gun to the head says about two, five max. Of course it is something that is mimicked, because its cool to say, “life is cool but I’m too cool for that so I should be dead.” Maybe it has to do with the notion of being insane or in hip hop terms “730” – random fact of the day, the term 730 is a reference to the Rikers Island 730A form used to deduce whether or not an inmate is mentally stable.
Another possible explanation is rap’s new-found interest in New Thought and man as God (no I will not mention the dead horse’s name) and putting out into the world the idea that, “Yeah you might see me, and might think you can catch me slippin’ but I’m on my Invictus shit homie. I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul and if anybody is stoppin me it will be me! Word to Willy Henley.”
Who’s to say what’s on a rappers mind, I feel like they think in double time just like they rap. I do ask that they be more aware of their fanbases that may range in age, color or creed. After all, suicide is real.