“All the player’s came, from far and wide…..”
Outkast, Player’s Ball

“Those in true PIMP AND HO GEAR get in for $10.00.”
Club 1722, Baltimore, MD

“Prostitution is not a joke.”

As pimp culture is glamorized, praised, and parodied in American public life, the horrors of prostitution remain unseen to most.

For example, for all of Hustle & Flow‘s merits (it offers an un-clichéd view of pimping when compared to 70’s blaxploitation staples like Dolemite and The Mack), the film wants us to empathize with Djay’s struggle for somebodiness (“It’s hard out here for a pimp!”) while offering a patronizing sympathy to the minds and bodies of Shug, Nola, and Lexus. This depiction is consistent with our larger society’s active acceptance of the oppression of women. (Considering H&F’s “insider’s view” of pimping, if the directors had ever given the audience an insider’s view of “ho-ing,” i.e. if the cameras followed Nola to the back seat of one of those cars, I doubt viewers would have as much empathy for Djay’s plight.)

The church need not look further than Genesis 20 where Abraham “pimps” his wife, Sarah, by passing her off as his sister in order to save himself from a non-existent threat. Abraham leaves Sarah to be “taken”(without her consent) by King Abimilech and in the end makes off with sheep, oxen, AND a bounty of slaves.

Abraham puts Sarah in harm’s way for his own benefit, is rewarded for it, and we are supposed to act as if this deplorable act is justified because the deity in this text “prospered” him in the end. How can the church speak against pimping with power if we refuse to question how it is perpetuated with theological justification in our own canon?

Controlling women’s bodies through psychological slavery is not just en vogue, it’s ancient. It’s this emphasis on keeping the stories of gendered oppression silent in the ancient and modern worlds that leads persons today to believe that mock celebrations of pimp culture (and real-life pimping right in our midst) are hilarious rather than horrifying.

Which leads us to the annual PIMP and HO BALL at Club 1722 in Baltimore, MD. Straight from Club 1722’s website:

The next BIG EVENT IS ON SATURDAY, JUNE 10th into SUNDAY AM, the PIMP and HO BALL! This is where the first PIMP and HO Ball originated from in Baltimore with the FAT BLACK P*SSY CAT GROUP! WE have been often imitated and NEVER DUPLICATED, so after many years of watching regular clubs attempt to do this, we are inviting the old school and young at heart to come under one roof for an explosion of FUN with DJ KUHMELEON, btw…those in true PIMP AND HO GEAR will get in for only $10.00 each…

If God is a God of the oppressed, then God is not evidenced by the accumulation of economic wealth that events like these are likely to produce. Instead, God is shown through the courage to speak out against oppression (in this case prostitution and the celebration thereof). We hope those in the Baltimore area will come from far and wide to stand with these sisters (and brothers) on June 10 as they strive to give voice to the reality of prostitution, despite how we’ve been socialized to make light of it.

——————————————————————
From: womanist@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Mon 5/29/2006 11:58 AM
To: womanist@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [womanist] Passing on a Protest request for Pimp n Ho Ball, Baltimore
ACTION: protest ‘pimp n ho ball’

================================

Hello all,

On June 10, 2006, Club 1722 in Baltimore, MD will be hosting its annual ‘Pimp n Ho Ball.’ Some radical feminists in the Washington DC area are trying to get a protest together. I’m SO down for this! It really pisses me off when people try to make “pimping and ho-ing” about blackness or black culture. As a black woman and radical feminist I say NOT IN MY NAME. This shit ain’t about blackness! It’s about patriarchy! And I think it’s really important to confront people who want to glamorize this madness at the expense of women’s lives, especially when most of the women caught in prostitution are women of color. As many of you know I’ve become very weary of the ability of marches and protests to create change but I feel like we can at least make a difference by confronting the people attending this ball by handing out flyersreminding them of the reality of prostitution.

I drive and live in PG county which is about an hour from Baltimore. I’m willing to transport people and/or supplies. Please don’t make me go alone! If you can’t join please at least send this e-mail to as many people as you can.

In sisterhood,

Jenn

An explanation of protest can be found here: Help desperately needed for Baltimore action

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