Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Davey D on Benzino, Mays, and Sex In The Industry

Here’s Davey D’s latest:

Somethings to Ponder: Sleeping w/ Artists and Lap Dances
By Davey D

By now most of us have heard about the drama over at The Source Magazine, with co-founder Benzino resigning and then un-resigning. That in itself has caused folks from coast to coast to talk. Initially Benzino noted that his ongoing beefs with ‘the machine’ (Jimmy Iovine of Interscope records) and Eminem have taken away some focus from Hip Hop’s Bible.

We can discuss the pros and cons and issues surrounding that in another column. However, the thing that caught my attention was the serious allegations of sexual harassment being levied at the Source by two female employees. One of them is former editor and Chief Kim Osorio.

A couple of years back she made history as being the first female to head up a major Hip Hop publication. Her arrival on the scene inspired a lot of folks especially women who felt and hope that she would move the magazine in a direction that would bring critical perspectives and unheard female voices to the forefront.

For many this did not happen to the degree that they had hoped. Kim spoke about this during last weekends Feminism and Hip Hop conference in Chicago. She sat on the industry panel and expressed regret that she didn’t try harder and to a degree got caught up. She was also brutally honest about her limitations at the magazine and that she often found herself having to put desired articles on the back burner or completely scrap them. Her biggest challenge was balancing what she ideally wanted and what she felt some of her readers wanted with the ‘Business” (i.e. what was brought and paid for or favors and relationships that had accrued).

Well, to make a long story short, Osorio upon filing her lawsuit and charges with the EEOC, suddenly found her own character called into question when publisher Dave Mays fired back and accused Osorio of sleeping with several high profile artists while in her position.

That charge immediately got folks talking with many stating that if this was true then homegirl was totally unethical and foul. ‘That’s why I don’t read the Source no more” said one prominent writer (who will go unnamed) during an internet Instant Message IM conversation. He seemed to think that Kim was sleeping with folks and then going around and giving them high album ratings.

I thought about that for a minute and told my boy he was 1- not being realistic and 2-was applying a double standard. On the unrealistic part, I pointed out that we are in a business and profession called the music industry and folks are going to hook up from time to time. That’s only natural and when dating and hollering at folks you are more than likely gonna pull from the circles you travel.

Actors date other actors, politicians hook up with others who are in the political world and music people date music people. We don’t trip that Angela Jolie hooks up with her fellow actors or Julia Roberts hooked up with her camera man or Wesley Snipes got down with Hallie… Why are we tripping when music biz people hook up with music biz people?

Don’t give me a song and dance about who can do what and for whom… In the entertainment field all relationships can be used for one’s benefit if flipped right. Where we draw the line about ethics has always been murky-from day one. Me buying someone a drink that later shows me some sort of love can be construed as unethical.

Me going out to a meet and greet where they ply us with good food and good liquor can be seen as unethical. And yes me dating someone in the industry who later down the road is in a position of power or influence can be seen as unethical. It all depends on how you wanna look at it, cause the music biz is like any other business, its not what you know it’s who you know, and all relationships at some point in time get exploited for personal and professional gain.

With that being said let’s go back to dating and hooking up within the industry. We’re in a business where it causes havoc on most relationships where your other half doesn’t fully understand because she’s not in the biz. Long nights, constant club hopping, concerts, off the wall hours, and constant travel, can really only be understood by someone who lives in the same world.

Over the years I dated females who worked at labels, fellow journalists, some who worked at other radio stations and on two occasions other deejays. I can cite numerous examples where others have had similar scenarios. What I described is not usual. And too be honest for the most part, the fit has often been good, cause my partners at the time ‘got it’. They understood the business and we didn’t have any of the drama that Guru rapped about in his classic song ‘Lovesick’.

The other thing I pointed out was that in the case involving Osorio it’s been made painfully clear to the public at large that nothing is going down in the magazine unless the publishers (Mays and Benzino) approve. Hence let’s say that Osorio or any other female slept with a rapper does that mean her ‘biased’ or tainted opinion could be showcased within the magazine’s pages without Benzino or Mays giving it the green light. I think not.

We can take this a step further, how should we read this if an artist with a banging body like Trina walks in and she gets hollered at by Benzino or Mays? Is she is in a catch 22? After all if she gives in to the advances she said to be a ‘ho trying to sleep her way to the top’. He she don’t give in, can we honestly say her 3 mic rating could’ve been a 4, but cats don’t take rejection well. Do we charge Mays or Benzino or any other cat that approaches with being unethical for merely approaching?  Lastly can they ever approach and holler at an artist if you’re a journalist or radio person? I tell you this, if I see an artist like Trina on a beach with a bikini editor or no editor, if I think I have a chance I’m gonna holler. Why shouldn’t I?

Back in the days when I dated someone who was working at a label or promoting records, it didn’t mean I was on the air the next day playing their artists. Sure I might take a second look or a second listen etc, but at the end of the day you don’t jeopardize your job and there were always people above you who could chin check any impropriety.

At the end of the day all of us our adults and we get to see, date and sleep with whoever we want. If folks find others attractive, they are gonna talk, and they may eventually hook up. It happens in all professions. Let’s not let the folks who work in a business where we sell sex all damn day suddenly get high and mighty and bent out of shape when someone engages in the activity we promote 24/7. One should not be judging too harshly unless you don’t having your own hole card pulled.

With that being said, let’s look at the double standard. If an editor sleeps with an artist which in turn implies the inability to be objective and do their job, how is that any different then the dozens of music conferences I attended where the record labels straight up take us to strip clubs, pay for lap dances and on a few occasions when conventions were held in Vegas, cats were taken to brothels like the Mustang Ranch.

If you were higher up the food chain and held a key position like music or program director or mix show coordinator you might find yourself at the Playboy Mansion, the VIP Room of the Hustler’s club or you might find yourself on a special flyaway to one of Uncle Luke of the 2Live Crew’s famous sex parties.  If you’re really special you might find yourself in a fancy hotel suite where you get a late night visit from finest felines the city you are in has to offer.

Of course all this is done in the name of entertainment.  It’s explained off by many within the industry as us going out for a few drinks and dinner and then more. But the bottom line is this-what I described is standard in the music industry. If it’s unethical for an editor like Osorio to sleep with an artist then it’s just as unethical for any of us who play or write about music to be hanging out at industry functions having record labels pay for lap dances and other ‘sexual’ fun.

Ask anyone who is worth their salt. Ask any mix show deejay etc if he ain’t ever been to a conference and some major label promoter has not taken him and his crew out for some adult entertainment. At the end of the night when all is said and done and the ‘cum stains’ have dried (I don’t mean to be crude-but lets keep it real), what do you think is expected from that label cat?

Ding Ding Ding –You got it right- He wants his record played. He paid for your sorry overweight, no real game having ass to have a lap dance in the hottest strip club in Miami, Atlanta, Puerto Rico or Vegas in exchange for you to bang the new Foxy Brown, 50 Cent, Redman or Lil Kim record. And since were on the subject of keeping it real, let’s be honest and point out that not all lap dances and nights out at the brothel are being paid for by men in the industry.

I have quite few female friends who had to pull out a big wad of crisp 5s and 10s so that popular deejay can get his lap dance. What’s even crazier is that nowadays as more and more female deejays are coming onto the scene, they too wind up having to tag along with their male counterparts to these same strip joints just so they can network and be on the scene and in proximity of some of these key individuals both on the radio and record side of the business. For those who never smelled the coffee, in the music industry, adult entertainment at night is the equivalent to businessmen going to that expense country clubs to play golf on the weekend.

Now back in the days, journalist who wrote for magazines were rarely invited to these decadent industry gathering, but over the past few years that’s changed. Quite a few no-game having writers have gotten a few lap dances…

I mention all this to ask, do you not think their judgment is slightly impaired by such activities. If anything I think there’s more damage done than an editor like Kim Osorio who is dating a rapper. One is a relationship the other is an under the cover exchange for specific favors. In exchange for Record label X paying that J-Lo look alike to give you a 30 minute lap dance where you get to lick her body parts, we would like you to play that new J-Lo record during your next mix show or give her some love in your next magazine column.

I hardly doubt the Editor and Chief of a major magazine like The Source was calling up a popular artists like Method Man and saying , Dude come over and hit it and I will put you on the cover. When you consider that cover stories are big business in the publishing world, somebody at that place is gonna be asking for their loot before anyone is on the cover whether he hit it or not is irrelevant in the way business gets done on that level of the game.

Remember we are in an industry that celebrates sex, drugs all in the name of rock-n-roll and today rap… People hook up from time to time cats need to get over it. But the ultimate bottom line to all this is who Kim or anyone else sleeps with has nothing to do with sexual harassment and the serious issues around it…

posted by @ 10:09 am | 12 Comments



12 Responses to “Davey D on Benzino, Mays, and Sex In The Industry”

  1. MJ says:

    Jeff, thanks for posting this. Davey D, thanks for being on point. I’ve posted a variety of thoughts & facts about this situation on my blog at How’d We Get From the Pyramids to the Projects?. But I’ve noticed that some people online are REALLY trippin’ when it comes to reacting to the lawsuits filed by Ms. Kim Osorio and Ms. Michelle Joyce. For example, peep this out Mr. Irreverent on “Michelle Joyce, We Don’t Belive You, You Need More People. Basically, to paraphrase, he’s saying that Ms. Joyce is too unattractive to be the victim of sexual harassment or gender bias.

    Here were my comments to him:

    I guess you’re called Mr. Irreverent because, you’re, well, irreverent. I didn’t know Ms. Joyce from Eve when I worked at the source, BUT sexual harassment doesn’t constitute rape, sexual intercourse, or unwarranted advances necessarily. Unfortunately the source fostered an ENVIRONMENT OF ABUSE AND DISCRIMINATION based on sex/gender. I’m not “bitching” just letting U know from an inside source.

    Check this from my blog, as well as what’s below, from the still-archived Urban Expose website circa 1999, for some additional background.

    “They built it by walking across our collective backs. When I was at the source, Women ran shit literally and figuratively. We led the editorial meetings, we held down the fort, we provided the research, development, fact-checking, writing, planning and scheduling it took to print the most popular rap magazine on the planet. But we also provided the ass. I’ve said it many times before – in order to be considered for employment at the source, as a woman, in addition to having (in most cases) the skills to pay the bills and the resume to back your shit up – you had to have a big ass, a passably-pretty face, and at least a few pairs of painted-on jeans in your wardrobe. Regardless of race, color, creed, skin tone, or nationality – Black, Latina, mixed, white, Russian, or Jamaican; it was required for your booty to be at the forefront as if it were the sixth element of Hip Hop. And it was definitely a case of shake yo ass…watch yo’self. So now the truth is seeing the light of day as far as how we as Women at the source were treated. As Jay would say, it’s…about…to go…down.” – Miranda Jane The Source of Our Pain

    “The Source has hit a low point. Truly. “Indecent Proposal” – What Happens When A Usually Reserved Woman Spends One Night As An Exotic Dancer? is one of the most appalling pieces of Hip Hop “journalism” to date. The Source sent one of their female writers undercover to The Gentleman’s Club in Atlanta.

    It’s the story of her stripping for the first time, and she explains that her own boyfriend has never seen her completely nude, but hey – why not strip for one night so you can write about it for the Source?

    Well, whoever this chick is, she wasn’t ashamed to strip and write an article about it, taking in over $200 at the club and however much The Source pays for a one-pager. BUT apparently she wasn’t bold enough to put her name on it. ” – Miranda Jane from Urban Expose

  2. Hashim says:

    The way Benzino and Mays brought Kim’s sex life into the picture is slimy. Period.

    But How can Davey D say a music journalist dating an artist they cover is okay?

    Journalsim Ethics 101: don’t involved with your subjects. You HAVE to care more about your credibility than being in a relationship.

    And that’s the two headed problem:

    1. groupie journalists who really just want to hang with artists and don’t care about delivering truth

    2. an audience that in hip-hop that excuses this type of stuff (as I wrote about on my Media Chin-Check blog).

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s just an extreme double standard! Mays has been linked to actress N’Bushe Wright, as well as a number of ex-staffers, sexually. Who was Kelis allegedly dating prior to Nas? Mays. Zino was linked to Lisa Raye (as well as a # of ex-staffers). But no one cares about that. Men who fuck artists/models/actresses get notches on their belts. Women who fuck in the industry get labelled hoes, bitches, groupies, and worse. The sad part is that men like Mays pay for pussy all the time, whether it’s strippers, prostitutes, or buying mad bottles for chicks in the club. But no one villifies them for being TRICKS and JOHNS.

    FUCK THAT.

  4. Oliver says:

    I’m going to have to roll with Hashim on this one. I don’t care if you’re male or female – if you’re a journalist or at least pretend to be – you don’t fuck your subjects. That’s really basic.

    Is there a double standard? ABSOLUTELY.

    Is Mays a fucking asshole for attacking Kim on this shit? ABSOLUTELY.

    But regardless of who we’re talking about here, the existence of a double standard doesn’t legitimize what is really a blatant violation of basic ethical principles in journalism.

    I’m not even talking about Kim here – I have no idea if she did or didn’t and frankly, I trust nothing that comes out of Mays’ mouth. He’s proven himself to be a chronic liar if nothing else over the years.

  5. MJ says:

    You’re quite right O-Dub. It’s true. Davey D let me run my mouth on Hard Knock Radio during the conference, and one thing I talked about how unfortunately, there’s a disparity between journalism and “Hip Hop journalism” – which is terrible. On the same note, there’s a huge chasm between what passes for standard business practice, vs. “Hip Hop business”. And Mays is at the forefront of that. I had to retain counsel when I left to get a measly two weeks of pay the source owed to me. Direct quote from the man “Go ahead and sue me, bitch, I got judgments piled up on my desk, I don’t pay them shits.” That’s where we need to go with this thing, to a place where we can resurrect journalistic integrity, bring back proper research & fact-checking, and to a place where people do it for the love – not for the sex.

  6. Anonymous says:

    “Where are you from?”

    “Who were your influences?”

    “Who would you like to collaborate with?”

    “What are your plans for the future?”

    These are not exactly the sort of questions that get influenced by sexual relations. Hip Hop “journalism” is 99% free marketing.

    Those journalist ethics are reserved for subjects and issues that actually have an influence on the welfare of society. Hip Hop magazines might as well call themselves brochures (or instruction manuals).

    You wouldn’t hold a graphic designer or a technical writer to those same standards? Wait, companies actually hire designers and technical writers. Oh wait… I forgot… the Source is a corporation. Duh.

    Either they get the stories right… or they don’t. It doesn’t matter who is sleeping with whom. 99% of publications don’t get shit right except sports figures and stock prices.

    _eric

  7. Anonymous says:

    Davey seems to consider journalists members of the music industry. I don’t, though I wonder if part of this is a semantics question: are Angie Martinez, Wendy Williams, Davey and Jeff all journalists? When so many radio DJs/ “personalities” are on the payroll, they’re part of the industry, right, even if they do interviews? At the same time, even when you haven’t filled out a W-9, payola is a subtle thing, like the fancy meals and massages editors get treated to (the Bliss spa is women’s equivalent of the titty bar- better than sex?).

    Personally, I don’t consider myself part of the industry– I report on it. But it’s true that many journalists prefer acting as poorly-paid publicists instead of doing the whole reporting and critiquing thing (Several prominent publicists were journalists before they crossed over– hecks, I do PR for a non-profit to pay the bills).

    I do agree that the industry is saturated with sex, but that doesn’t mean that journalists should be crossing boundaries. For me, that means keeping the personal and the professional very separate. My perspective is that if you want to be friends with artists, you should not be a journalist, and if you want to be more than friends with artists, you definitely shouldn’t be a journalist.

    Of course, I have developed a few friendships with artists over the years (can’t hate ‘em all all the time), but that means I’m not going to write critically about them anymore. I know that some people disagree with me.

    And I know that some so-called journalists have made my job difficult over the years by being willing to cross those lines. Of course, at the end of the day, it’s the artist’s fault for the lecherous lunge and/or indecent proposal, but that doesn’t excuse whoever said yes earlier on in the press junket.

    EMB

  8. Anonymous says:

    Davey D’s argument may be good for pointing out hypocracy in the industry but isn’t really a compelling defence of Osario’s alleged actions. Saying the alleged affairs are no worse than some other corrupt activity doesn’t really defend the affair.

    I expect Eric is right when he says 99% of hip-hop journalism is just simple PR. Still, the big magazines aren’t perceived that way by much of their audience and don’t perceive themselves that way, and that’s a good thing. If the magazines and the audience were to accept that, then thats all they’d ever be. Then they’d be dead.

  9. snoopy says:

    Why is motherfuckers hatin on Zino and mays/ shit, hit that pussy if you in the position. Oliver wang and co are gettin high and mighty but I bet bitches dont offer him pussy that often so he can be ethical on this shit. damn, i want to own my own magazine so i can hit that shit . holla. why them source gals hollarin at lawyers for, mays and zino moved their career forward to a better position for them to go from trick daddy type level to jay z and nas level of boyfriends. shit, kim osorio is fine i would a hit that, but the second bitch is not all that so imma leave that one alone.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So what about Dream Hampton? Isn’t it a known fact that she’s slept with plenty of the artist that she covered?

  11. nubianem says:

    The questions SHOULD BE!

    1. How long will hiphop/rap be used as a tool of GENOCIDE AGAINS BLACK PEOPLE.

    2. How long will Black-invented music and culture be stolen by others (WHO CAME IN AFTERWARDS) and called ‘theirs,’ or ‘their co-contribution?’

    3. How long will BLACK MEN allow the parasites to use PIMPING AND S’HO’RING as what represents Black culture.

    4. How long will BLACK CONSCIOUSNESS be locked out of hip-hop?

    5. How long will Black people watch BET, BETJAZZ, BLACK FAMILY CHANNEL, TV ONE and other channels that cater to Black people and see ‘very lightskinned’ people represented as BLACK, EVEN WHEN WATCHING ‘CARIBBEAN VIDEOS’? Where are the Blacks on Spanish, AZN or White television networks representing WHITE FOLKS OR OTHER GROUPS?

    6. How long will Blacks of the Americas continue to tolerate GENOCIDE, RACISM AND DESTRUCTION OF BLACKS IN LATIN AMERICA whose culture, art, religion and music is being ripped off by SPANIARDS-DESCENT PEOPLE?

    7. How long will the RAP/HIPHOP community continue to become a group of cowardly sell-outs doing Massa’s propaganda work and sullying the reputation of Blacks around the world? HOW LONG?

    Want the answers, see “Susu and Susunomics,” http://www.AuthorHouse.com also see “Rap, Rhyme and Rhythm: Rapsody in Hip-Hop, Rhythm and Rhyme,” at http://www.AuthorHouse.com and also “Americans and their Idols,” at http://www.infinitypublishing.com

    BLACK STUDIES
    TEXT

    RACE AND HISTORY
    TEXT

    BLACK HAIRSTYLES
    TEXT

  12. Anonymous says:

    6. How long will Blacks of the Americas continue to tolerate GENOCIDE, RACISM AND DESTRUCTION OF BLACKS IN LATIN AMERICA whose culture, art, religion and music is being ripped off by SPANIARDS-DESCENT PEOPLE?

    I am a Cuban Latino of African descent. But, I believe the question is:

    6. How long will CERTAIN BLACKS IN THE U.S. STOP ACTING LIKE VICTIMS and actually turn to help those communities who need help, not necesarily those considered “African-American”, but a more SELF-LESS SERVICE to humanity as a whole?

    Want racism to end? Stop being racist yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. As hard as that may seem for some, all it takes is for one person to lead by example. Thank God that people like MLK existed to show others how to stand against injustice in a human and moralistic manner.

    Certain (U.S.) Black and White and Mexican Americans seemed to only be concerned about extreme points of view when it comes to everything. Having said that, I do not agree with groups like NBPP or even the Aryan Brothahood and I most certainly stand against any Latino group (such as La eMe) doing that same crap. I have a better way to approach this…… by loving your neighbor regardless of their race, color or creed rather than hating them for doing something positive for themselves and the world as a whole. It is one planet and all it takes is one person to push a button and fugg it up for EVERYONE. I would rather be a Pan-Universalist than a Pan-African. I refuse to act ignorant as a way to combat ignorance.

    Extremism is NOT cool.

    Learn to be more balanced in your opinions about things before go shooting off into the universe. Once you say something, you can’t take it back. Sorry that you feel so insecure about your Blackness enough to say all these things, but to seek revenge in any way, shape or form is WRONG. I don’t go around hating white people for the crimes done IN THE PAST. I work towards building a better tomorrow and by becoming a better person, and bringing my cultural ways to the mainstream with more dignity and class than what you purport we should do.

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