Jay Smooth: Now is not the time to auto-tune Charles Ramsey
While the saying “now is not the time” is often used regarding politically-based analysis of public events, hip-hop activist and DJ Jay Smooth pointed out on Wednesday, the ongoing story of Charles Ramsey called for a special addendum to that rule.
“Now is not the for auto-tune,” he pleaded. “Can we please leave auto-tune out of this? Because, seriously, anyone who is watching this right now and is not one of the Gregory Brothers? You are all terrible at auto-tuning.”
Smooth that acknowledged that the Gregorys, who garnered notice by auto-tuning Antoine Dodson’s “Bed Intruder” interview in 2010, did a good job with a similar remix of Ramsey’s now-famous May 6 interview describing the circumstances behind his rescue of three women trapped in a Cleveland home. But even that, he said, is part of a disturbing larger trend toward turning people into “click-bait” for the wrong reasons.
“There’s gotta be some middle ground where we can appreciate that without this mad dash to make a memeified clown out of anyone who fits in the ‘wacky black guy’ box,” Smooth said. “Or the ‘charming uneducated hick’ box, or whatever box we like to put people in.”
While Ramsey is a funny person, Smooth explained, he is also a real person, and the rush to turn people into internet fodder just leads to the same people making the same obvious jokes.
“I was laughing along with everybody else,” he admitted. “But I feel like we, as a culture, turned some kind of corner when the word ‘meme’ became a verb that describes something you do to a person.”
Watch Jay’s thoughts on the Charles Ramsey phenomenon, posted online on Wednesday, below.