Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Chris Rock: Never Scared


This was an HBO special. What surprised me is how hard he was on black folks. I mean, you expect a black comedian to take white folks to task, and we sure enough deserve it. But he really lays into some things that many people would see as black stereotypes. The trouble is, most stereotypes came from somewhere, didn’t they? Where I grew up, the black people really did like watermelon and fried chicken. I suspect it’s the same everywhere. And what’s wrong with that? White people like those things, too. But watermelon came to be seen as code for some racist assumptions. If you photo-shop a picture showing watermelons growing on the White House lawn, as someone once sent to Lee, you understand that it’s a racial insult to the Obamas.

Take rims, for instance. Those fancy wheels you put on your car. One of the reasons black folks never get wealthy, according to Chris, is that they spend it all on rims. A black man will put fancy rims on a toaster, if you don’t watch him closely.

He talks about the difference between being rich and being wealthy. There are plenty of rich black people, he says (including himself, I’m sure). And people say that Shaq, for instance, is wealthy. But he’s just rich, he’s not wealthy. The guy who writes the checks to Shaq, he’s wealthy!

He hits pretty hard on OJ, Michael Jackson and the whole Jackson Family, and Kobe Bryant, who at the time was fighting an accusation of rape. (He got off, except for a civil case.) It’s a good show.