The Top 10 Moments in Coon History
It’s Friday, so I decided to drop something light to enjoy before the long weekend. In celebration of T.I.’s recent world-fail-record-setting performance of being sent back to prison before he could even make it home, I decided to look at ten moments in history that really define the unfortunate role of buffoonery in Black culture. It’s not quite Black History, but Coon History. Let’s begin:
10: The Creation of Jordan Brand (1985)
This one really hurts me. MJ is my favorite player of all time, and I grew up (very unsuccessfully) trying to emulate his moves and game. I remember getting my first pair of Jordan 6’s and wearing them to bed at night. While I’m far from a sneakerhead (I thought the pine green foams that everyone was talking about today referred to some type of furniture), I’ve always understood the importance of Jordan and the brand to the spread of basketball, hip-hop, and Black cultures to a global audience.
But there’s a dark side, and it’s a pretty bad one. Jordan shoes have been a source of a large amount of coonery and general ain’t-shitness since their inception. You know you’ve seen all of the stupid twitpics of guys pretending to cook their J’s or stuffing them with money, and of course you’ve seen fights over the shoes (or worse, killings). We all know some poor little baby that had custom fitted baby Jordans on since they dried the kid off in the hospital, but hasn’t yet been enrolled in Medicaid. And we all know some dude who is always broke or jobless who waits all day for whatever slightly different color is coming out. Jordans are the root of perhaps a quarter of all coonery in today’s world, and this saddens me deeply.
9: Ralph Lauren Polo (1967)
I’m pretty sure Ralph Lauren didn’t envision this when he first released Polo Ralph Lauren as a low-end luxury line in 1967. I’m pretty sure it didn’t start out this way. Black folks, as far as I know, didn’t really latch onto Polo until at least the late 90s, but when they got a hold of it, they ran with it. Somehow, among Black folks, Polo, a relatively inexpensive brand, became a mark of distinction and wealth, and a way to distinguish oneself from all the guys wearing urbanwear and jerseys, Polo’s precursors among coonwear brands. It started rather innocently, with young guys wearing polo shirts as a way to look a bit more classy, but quickly evolved into bizarre street fashion shows where cats wore equestrian boots and tights in the hood. Some girls claimed they would only date guys who wore Polo, and Polo colognes flew off the shelves in hood malls faster than Steve Harvey suits. Polo isn’t higher on this list, because it did help usher us out of the era of tall tees and Forces, although it did replace that era with the skinny jean/mohawk phase that we are just emerging from.
8: The Black Leprechaun (2006)
Just watch that shit. Long before Antoine Dodson made Black folks everywhere wish to start filling in “other” on census forms, there was the Black Leprechaun video. It made us sad and really wonder how many white folks saw it, and if they judged us for it (they did). A truly, truly sad day in Coon History.
7: The First Black Person to Discover Twitter (~2007)
We all know that #BlackTwitter is the source of about 50% of the coonery in the world. Coonery spreads like wildfire, and never before have we had a platform to spread it so far and wide. Only in today’s world are we so capable of transmitting coonery to the mainstream. Just take some time and look at the Trending Topics. If they seem pretty decent worldwide or even nationally, check a Black City like Atlanta or DC and see how many people EVERY DAY are talking about #CollegeHill or #BlackPeopleNames or whatever. It’s quite scary. There are a great number of good things about Black Twitter, including the hyperconnectivity among young Black Professionals and literati (we tend to network and band together much more effortlessly than other groups, thus our dominance of the current character of Twitter), and the publicizing of many great authors, writers, bloggers, and thinkers (ourselves here at 40 A&C included). But as with all Black things, what can be used to promote the positive can and will be used for the ignorant, and thus Twitter has become the most important conduit of coon shit in 2011.
6. World Star Hip-Hop (????)
Until mid-2010, World Star Hip-Hop was the market leader in coonery and ignorance. The rise of Twitter and a rebuilding phase following a site destruction by the Federal government have taken it down to the number 2 in today’s market (behind Twitter), but due to all-time significance we give World Star the edge here. WSHH is the youtube of Black people doing stupid shit. Just go to the videos section and be amazed at the ridiculous shit you can see. From cafeteria fights to homeless boxing to crackhead music videos, WSHH literally has it ALL. There are TERABYTES of ignorance here. There is more coonery here than all the information that was once held in all the libraries in the world. This is the Mecca in today’s world, and only because of the extremely significant contributions of selections 5-10 to the culture of today’s coonery can we not rate it higher than this.
5: Shawn Kemp (1969)
A lot of you young folks may not know much about this guy, save the fact that he dunked a lot back in the day. But let me tell you now, Shawn Kemp is the patron saint of coons. He will lead the coon army in the niggapocalypse (that’s in Revelation, by the way) and wield the Sword of Ignorance and the Shield of Multiple Paternity. Shawn Kemp began his career in ignorance early, being kicked off the University of Kentucky basketball team for stealing a teammate’s chains and pawning them off. But his legend only increased after being drafted into the NBA. He dunked on everyone, and his athleticism was some of the best the game has ever seen, but his grasp on other aspects of the game was perhaps as limited as his knowledge of algebra (see: Beyonce). He ushered in a new generation of coon ball players who wore calf lifts and learned to dunk but never to shoot free throws. He had multiple drug charges and has been rumored to have fathered at least 17 children, mostly by different women. All hail the chief. Reign Man.
4: The Popeye’s Buffet (~2007)
This is the Shangri-La of fried chicken. Who among you hasn’t dreamed of a Popeyes where we could serve ourselves and eat as much of the heart-attack and itis-inducing fried chicken and delicious biscuits with honey as we wanted? I can’t lie, I prayed about it once or twice. And then our prayers were granted right around Christmas 2010, when photos and rumors began to hit Twitter about a Popeyes Buffet in Lafeyette, Louisiana. It almost broke Twitter. People began planning pilgrimages to pay homages to this milestone in Fried Chicken and Coonery achievement. Apparently this location had had a buffet for years, but once the masses found out, sales skyrocketed. While I pray they bring such an amazing restaurant my way, I am currently planning my trip there. Who wants to go?
3. OJ (1995)
I shouldn’t really have to say much about this. This was maybe the first time in history that the race card actually won something. The OJ Simpson case paved the way for coons to bring it up in every SINGLE discussion about race or court cases for at least the next half century. It also completely distorted our view of how the law actually works and gave us Johnny Cochran and big time black lawyers. But this post isn’t even about this. Via Robert Kardashian, this case gave us Kim Kardashian, Kim Kardashian’s ass, and the other Kardashian sisters.
And you know the old phrase.
“Behind every successful Black Man is a Kardashian.”
2: Oprah Chicken Day (2009)
No offense to the births of my little brother and sister, the first day I went to college, or the day I graduated, but I can proudly say that the day Oprah gave out free KFC to everyone was the best day of my life. I remember hearing all I had to do was print off a coupon to get chicken and I printed off something like 50. The word spread like wildfire throughout HBCUs and the surrounding hoods. I saw drug dealers going to BUY printers at Wal-Mart and crackheads going to FedEx just to print coupons off. I ate like 15 pieces of chicken that day. People skipped classes. The line at the local KFC was around the block in many places, and eventually most locations completely ran out of chicken well before closing time. It was the closest we’ve ever come to an actual negro apocalypse. The queen of Black people gave her loyal subjects chicken, and I have never seen anything like it. This is so close to the top because, even in the midst of all the ignorance, I saw a peculiar thing. It brought people together. I saw church ladies, prostitutes, drug dealers, college kids, professors, preachers, historians, politicians, and regular blue collar workers joining together in a common cause. No fighting, just fellowship. It was great. It was what I imagine things must have been like at rallies for Dr. King.
Granted, it was over chicken, but whatever.
1: The Obama Election (2008)
You would think a Black President would usher in a new Renaissance for Blacks in America, right? Well I leave you with this: