“Season of the Snitch” Debates Civic Duty vs. Code of the Streets

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Download DJBooth's new App, The PLUG NEW YORK, NY --The ingrained -- and arguably misguided -- refusal of many members of the hiphop generation to cooperate with law enforcement officials in the investigation of crimes committed in the black community is the subject of a vigorous report on this week's edition of "The Chop Up." Entitled "Season of the Snitch," the feature is part of the show airing this coming Sunday, July 23, at 11:30 e.s.t

Produced by veteran hiphop journalist Carlito Rodriguez, "Season of the Witch" takes off from a number of recent cases involving such high-profile stars as Lil Kim, Busta Rhymes, and Cam'ron, all of whom refused to cooperate with investigations into violent crimes to which they were witnesses. This same "no snitching" policy has helped to ensure that the murders of Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and Jam Master Jay remain unsolved. As the report puts is: "The Golden Rule of the criminal class has become our generation's all-out prohibition against talking to the police."

"Season of the Snitch" delves into the deep roots of the black community's distrust of the police. It also notes the hiphop generation's adoption of the Mafia's code of omerta -- and the linked belief that snitching is a "career killer" for rappers. "Just get on the {witness} stand and the hood will label you a snitch - - plain and simple," according to Biggie's old associate Lil Cease.

Some hiphoppers find this attitude absurd. "Stop snitching on who?" wonders the rapper Saigon. "If we wasn't killin' each other, we wouldn't have anything to snitch about."

A newsmagazine for the hiphop generation, "The Chop Up" has been described as "a unique mix of '60 Minutes' and 'The Daily Show.'" Since its debut on April 30, the show's in-depth stories have ranged from an expose on diamond mining in Liberia to a re- investigation of the murder of Biggie Smalls to a report on the devastating introduction of the "white drug" called crystal meth into the black community, both gay and straight. Hosted by Jeff Johnson and Jina Johnson, "The Chop Up" has been holding down its spot on Sunday mornings since its debut on BET on April 30.

For more information, or interviews with Nina Henderson Moore (BET's EVP of News & Public Affairs), Selwyn Hinds (creator of "The Chop Up") or producer Carlito Rodriguez, please call Tresa Sanders, 845 623 2325, or Bill Adler at 212 645 0061.

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