Now I am the first to admit… because Plies is from my hometown, I disagreed wholeheartedly with the way he represented himself to the media and the entertainment industry. We knew Nod (I still have a hard time addressing him as Plies) as a highly intelligent cat, well-versed, always best dressed with a decent upbringing, quick on the football field and damn good grades; good enough to be Homecoming King! But once Nod left for college and returned as the infamous “Plies” many of us began to question his credibility. But lately, I have come to realize maybe his intentions weren’t as peculiar as we thought. Allow me to explain.
Entertainers who are new to the industry must capitalize off this thug mentality in order to receive any notoriety in the game. Classic artists (ie: Outkast, Nas, etc) who didn’t blow up from this facade were around and made their marks in the early days of rap and hip-hop, long before the “alter ego of hip hop” that glorifies violence, drugs and sex. Now don’t get it twisted; Nod, Big Gates and the whole crew have had their feet in the local game for many years dropping hits that the club scene of Fort Myers LOVED including “Fix it Cuz”. That was THA JOINT that blazed loudly from every Chevy trunk in my city!! However when Plies was presented with the rare opportunity to blaze in the limelight, maybe he realized it would be impossible to gain respect if he came on stage in the fitted cap, button down Polo and creased slacks get-up we so lovingly remember him wearing. So he did what most of the rappers now have done… he became a chameleon and kicked down the back door. GENIUS! Since then, he has reached goals that some of our hometown goons can only dream of! He’s released three albums in 16 months and his sophomore release, “DEFINITION OF REAL,” debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, selling 215,000 copies in its first week. The album’s first week sales gave Plies the highest selling week one numbers in the history of Slip-N-Slide Records. Still don’t get it? Okay, try this: You’re a regular cat from a lil’ hick town like Fort Myers (which you probably hadn’t heard of before the likes of Jevon Kearse, Plies or Deion Sanders) and suddenly you’re presented with the opportunity to make MILLIONS to feed & help your family, friends, loved ones and even a few people you’ve never met. The good life… just… like… that. But all you gotta do is be this “character” (kinda like an actor playing a role, it ain’t much difference). Yeah, I put myself in his shoes for ten seconds, “Queen all you gotta do is act like this and say this and we’ll set you for life”. My response: GIVE ME THE FUCKIN MIC! Simple.
Now I’m saying all this to shed light some of the incredible charity work that he’s done in just the few years he’s been in the game. This includes (but not limited to) his own non-profit organization, Big Gates and Plies Power of Visions Foundation, Inc, as well as a scholarship program, “Somebody Loves You” and the “Under My Wing Program” lending support to misguided youths. The Big Gates and Plies Power of Visions Foundation will provide funding for legal representation to those that can’t afford it; specifically those incarcerated. The organization will also offer educational forums, classes, workshops, and other activities to individuals in the Ft. Myers and Tampa, Florida areas focusing on preventative measures that will combat the affects of incarceration. The “Somebody Loves You” scholarship fund for 2008 will award two students (one male and one female) attending an accredited college or university currently or in the coming fall that have at least one parent incarcerated and is financially disadvantaged $5000 each. Plies comments:
“We want to provide those who have been and continue to be affected by the negative impacts of the prison system with a sense of hope, and to let them know that they are not forgotten. No matter what adversities one may face in life, one thing remains true – and that is that somebody loves you.”
Now who can hate on that? Being the single mother of a very respectful shining star who strives for straight A’s but whose father was sentenced to life in prison, I can’t help but commend him on his tremendous efforts to reverse a grim reality that has consumed our community like a tidal wave. According to a published Senate report in September of 2000, as many as 70 percent of children with incarcerated parents will become involved with the criminal justice system unless effective intervention strategies are set in place. Now by what scale do you measure one’s character? May he who is without sin cast the first stone! For more info please visit www.pliesworld.com/somebodylovesyou
So albeit I am NOT a fan of Plies, I am most definitely a fan of Nod. Maybe someday we will be able to list the negatives and the positives of an individual and judge them according to the side with the heaviest mass because we should know by now no one is perfect. Now the Bust It Baby casting call is unacceptable and I wanted to pour bleach in my eyes after I watched it but it is what it is. But how is it any different than any of these other sick reality shows we’ve become addicted to? Nothin’ can be as bad as watching multiple chicks tongue Flava Flav I mean DAMN at least Plies don’t look like that dude! And ladies, keep it real, should we REALLY believe these R&B crooners are as perfect as their lyrics and stylists crack them up to be?! My point exactly. All in all, money is the root of all evil and we can’t expect that everyone has been equipped with the armor of humility when blessed with the opportunity to blow-up.
Try this… skip past tracks like “Bust it Baby” and pay attention to the lyrics of “Somebody Loves You” or “Family Straight” to get a up close and personal view of his family values. I do not approve of the “Bust It Baby” ideology nor promoting it in our already oversexed and at-risk communities but I believe it is still the parent’s job to allow or not to allow their children to listen to this music. Lawd knows mine don’t! If you choose allow your children to listen to his music, I suggest you level the playing field and see to it that they look outside the box to realize that an artist’s CD is not the be-all that ends-all. Be sure they understand the good these artists do and that the record industry is where all the big money is so if that’s the case, we can safely say Plies is the Robin Hood of the game. Well, minus the tights LOL!
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