By Michele Clark
The piece below was written by guest blogger Michele Clarke, reflecting on the 2005 Oscars Best Song Winner “It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp”, in anticipation of the Oscars this Sunday. The companion post to this which ties human trafficking into the Oscar’s past present and future is available here.
Sympathy for a pimp? Whatever for?
Maybe the sympathy is because on Oscar night three years ago, the performers in the rap group Three 6 Mafia were asked to change the word b*****s to ‘witches’ (it’s nice to know that the Academy draws the line somewhere). For a moment, I imagined pimps surrounded by a host of raging furies from hell plucking out their facial hair with long skinny fingers -for them, a mild fate.
When Three 6 Mafia’s “It’s Hard out here for a Pimp” won Best Song of the 2005 Oscar season, I was dumbstruck. So, I buttonholed a few people on the streets and asked them if they knew what a pimp did. One young man answered, “They wear these fancy hats and drive big cars,” and began to giggle. “They manage stables of prostitutes,” crisply answered a second, obviously a B-school graduate. Others simply rolled their eyes. Pimps are a part of our urban landscape. We might not love them, but they are out there. And hey, they can’t be all that bad, can they? Not with colleges sponsoring “Pimp and Ho parties,” and Oscar-winning songs written about their lives.
Perception, in this case, is far from reality. Pimps are criminals. They make their living selling girls for money. They beat women, brand them, tattoo their names on arms and legs, spit on them, starve them, whip them and throw them off tall buildings. The only blood, sweat and tears they encounter belong to the girls in their stables. If they treated horses with such cruelty, PETA would be all over them in a heartbeat.
Let’s put it another way: Pimps are traffickers. According to U.S. anti-trafficking legislation, pimping of minors in the U.S. is trafficking in human beings. As middle men in the modern slave trade, pimps keep the supply chain going between the buyers and the suppliers.
Want to stop trafficking? Stop glorifying pimping. It SHOULD be hard out there for a pimp, even a pimp with an Oscar.