May 15, 2007

Hip Hop Harry: Menace II II-yo Society

hiphopharry_shop.jpg

Holy Moses, what message are we sending to our kids when Tupac's dead, 50 Cent has been shot five dozen times, and yet Hip Hop Harry walks the streets unmolested? I won't be satisfied until this annoying, money-grubbing, toddler-brainwashing shakedown artist [and I use the term very loosely] is skinned and turned into a throw rug at the foot of Kimora Lee Simmons' bed.

When producers of a children's TV show pitch it as "It's Barney, but hip hop!" or "Barney, with blackfolk!" you can be pretty sure the success they want to replicate is the Purple Menace's cash flow. Literally every single product image in the Hip Hop Harry Shop jitters like a junkie begging for a fix. If you just buy something, maybe it'll make it stop.

For every kid's TV creator who actually gives two second's thought to the educational or developmental content of her show, you have my thanks and sympathies. The bald-faced cynicism of Hip Hop Harry's all scientifical-sounding, mumbo jumbo mission statement is incredible; the gold spray paint-to-turd ratio is off the charts:

The basic curricular concepts running throughout Hip Hop Harry is the need to have the preschool children feel that it is a program that encourages them to explore, to create, and to learn in a safe environment of Education Through Entertainment. While the essential core of the program content centers on the social and emotional experiences of the children, the cognitive, educational, physical, health, artistic, and creative domains are all interrelated at any given point in a series of episodes. Based on these concepts related to active learning that is age-appropriately paced, the following general goals and/or objectives are created for Hip Hop Harry and its commitment to Education Through Entertainment.
Now buy some t-shirts, $12.99!

Hip Hop Harry is on Discovery Channel somewhere, but the website clips should be more than enough [hiphopharry.com]

6 Comments

Your comments re: "hip-slop-scary" are right on the mark. This show, which airs on our local TLC (The Learning Channel) is the worst children's show I've ever witnessed. Fortunately for our household (with two boys - one 4years; one 4weeks) the crummy show is on too early to be viewed on most weekdays.

I'll boycott this one for sure... I'd rather watch Barney 24/7 than this...

Well it seems to me that the first commment left about the Hip Hop Harry show is all about the negatives seem by one individual as it relates to this show. First of all,perhaps as a parent you should sit down and look at what Hip Hop Harry is trying to get across. Every day there is a message on his show...whether its about brushing your teeth, dreaming about what you want to be when you grow up, how important family is, and a whole other realm of positivity. As a parent of a 5 year old who adores Hip Hop Harry, and who is awake at 6:30am, I allow this television show to be viewed by him because he enjoys and learns. I think clearly that is what the show REALLY wants the children to achieve. Theoretically, Hip Hop can have very bad messages, degrade women or people, exploit violence like its "not all that bad" and many other things. The creator of this show obviously took something that some have turned negative and made it positive and filled with good messages. So maybe they would be singing about "when they grow up", rather than "bucking shots" and labeling women hos. Its amazing that we, as adults, can be so critical and ignorant. Hip Hop Harry is about positivity and unless you just TRULY hate Hip Hop as a music type or what it represents for some, its doesnt mean that someone can't take it and make something good and enjoyable of it.

{nice try, Renita, but hip hop harry's hip hop sucks; I'll teach my kid wordy rappinghood in latin before letting her watch this schlock. it's like the awful raps about not downloading music or about narcing out your parent's stash. As for teaching lessons, why does it take watching a bear on tv for 22 minutes+commercials to teach a kid to brush his teeth? If you said you let him watch it because it's harmless enough, and you wanted to sleep until 7AM, I could buy it, but tarring a HHH critic as a hiphop hater makes no sense at all. -ed.]

Maybe the posters on this site might consider how they jumped the gun to judge. The man inside the Hip Hop Harry costume is ACTUALLY the first BARNEY! I agree with Renita. HHH has a positive message for children and especially for non-European children.

[what difference does that make? Barney's brainless, too. And I don't see how HHH's clumsy appeal to "non-Europeans" is any less cynical or exploitative than a cigarette company pushing menthols for "urban" customers. -ed.]

My kids are 5 and 6 and they saw the show for the first time today (with me). I don't have a problem with Barney type shows and I thought the messages of HHH were commendable. What bothered me was how Harry was a hip hop caricature. His gold chain, the way he talked...hip hop culture values authenticity, accepts you as you are. But I felt like he was a joke version of hip hop. And in that regard, I felt like the show exploited hip hop. Barney does just as good of job teaching lessons without perpetuating stereotypes. I read this show was Emmy nominated and Def Jef wrote the rhymes. I guess I expected more. In the end, I'll teach my kids these lessons PLUS about real hip hop culture and they won't watch tv to get either.

I think the posters we're pretty quick to judge. Yes the gold chain is cliche', and the Harry format tries to rip off Barney a little too obviously, but my kids watch the show and actually REMEMBER and retain the lesson of the show.

On top of that the messages are positive and informative. That's a whole lot more than i can say for 90 percent of what passes for educational entertainment.

Hats of to Def Jef and Claude brooks for filling the void.

[you're kidding, right? every single kid's tv show has some "positive" message tacked onto it. kids'll remember anything they watch on TV; it's designed that way so they'll recognize and ask for the gear. -ed.]

Hip Hop Harry is not like that i watch his show all the time and it is helpful to all kids. It helps them follow there dreams and never give up on there dreams. I think that you need to watch the show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THIS SHOW IS VERY GOOD

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