Cristal Bites The Hand That Foolishly Feeds It
Remember when we used to have meaningful protests?
Apparently, the makers of Cristal champagne don’t necessarily appreciate all that the hip hop community has done for the brand.
In the latest slap to the face of those who seek to exalt the consumption of expensive products over common sense and good taste, Frederic Rouzaud, managing director of Louis Roederer (the producers of Cristal champagne) has implied that he doesn’t court the patronage of the hip hop community. In an interview with The Economist magazine, he responds to a question about his products popularity with rappers by stating, "That's a good question but what can we do? We can't forbid people from buying it. I'm sure Dom Perignon or Krug would be delighted to have their business." I'm wagering that my man Lou thought he was pretty safe making these comments considering that they would appear in The Economist. I mean, The Economist ain't The Source.
Now, Jay-Z himself has descended from on high to launch a personal and professional protest against the brand. "It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frederic Rouzaud views the 'hip-hop' culture as 'unwelcome attention,"' Jay-Z said in a statement released Wednesday. "I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including The 40/40 Club nor in my personal life."
Really? Word? Is this the same Jay-Z who wrote such classics as “Ain’t No Nigga,” “Rap Game/Crack Game,” “Nigga What, Nigga Who,” “Big Pimpin’,” “Is That Yo Bitch?” “2 Many Hoes,” and, along with R Kelly, that lovely ode to female sexual anatomy, “Pussy”? Perhaps he should ask himself who he thinks has done more harm to black folks, Frederic Rouzard or he. After all, a whole hell of a lot more black people listen to Jay-Z than have ever consumed a bottle of Cristal.
Or maybe what Jay-Z and other rappers should be asking themselves is why they feel compelled to promote alcohol, overpriced vehicles, gunplay, black on black murder, violence against women, the selling of drugs, blood diamonds and a whole litany of silly, destructive shit in the first place. As much as we love Biggie, Jay-Z, Tupac, Nas, or the legion of up and coming Dirty South MCs, we have to admit that they’ve poisoned countless young, black minds with their gleeful endorsement of death, violence, sex and excess. How many videos do we have to endure that feature black women shaking their asses, cats throwing yellow diamonds and jewelry (by Jacob!) at the camera and dudes spilling Cristal on women’s chests as they speed down the rode in Lamborghinis?
As I’ve written before, I LOVE it when these conservatives and corporations let folks know how they feel about them. In this case, the worst possible scenario I can imagine is that these primitive capitalists, who are well compensated for embarrassing and exploiting our people, but generally not compensated at ALL for name-dropping Mercedes Benz, get their feelings hurt.
My guess is that Rouzard’s comments and Jay-Z’s little protest won’t have much of an impact on rappers who seem to need to rub their supposed status in our faces. I just can’t see flipping on the increasingly shitty BET and watching hip hop videos in which dudes throw their “Father of the Year” trophies or college degrees at the screen.