Friday, April 22, 2011

Gov’t Tells Snoop He Can’t Sell His Destructive New Drink


by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Your Black WorldScholarship in Action 

Sixteen separate states are stepping in the way of Snoop Dogg’s latest big money venture with the Pabst Brewing Company. Attorneys General from Arizona, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington, Utah, California, Idaho and Connecticut stood against the release of Snoop’s drink in their territories. Additionally, Guam's attorney general and the city attorney general of San Francisco all signed a resolution stating that the drink Blast by Colt 45 is dangerous and being marketed to young people.

The drink contains 12 percent alcohol and is sold in 23.5 and seven ounce containers. It is said to have as much alcohol as five beers in one can. There are several fruity flavors for the drink, including: grape, raspberry watermelon, strawberry lemonade and blueberry pomegranate flavors.

"We believe the manufacture and marketing of this flavored 'binge in a can' poses a grave public safety threat and is irresponsible," said the letter from the attorneys.

"We are also concerned that the target market for all size containers of Blast ... will also include persons under the legal drinking age, in violation of state law."

Both Pabst and Snoop have been heavily criticized for marketing the drink to young people. The company, however, maintains that they are not attempting to sell to underage drinkers. Their words are contradicted, however, by the fact that Snoop Dogg has a very large teen audience, and many of the videos promoting the drink can be seen on YouTube. Additionally, the fruit flavors and large cans are designed to appeal to young people as well.

African Americans have reasons to be concerned about ventures like this one.  Many of these toxic drinks are sold first in our communities, leading many of our young people down the path of addiction and alcoholism that kills tens of thousands in our communities every year. Hip hop culture also contributes to the problem by promoting a lifestyle of anti-intellectual counter-productive waste and excess, leading to thousands of black men becoming marginalized by the rest of society.

I personally call on Snoop Dogg to look beyond the value of a dollar and realize how many young black men he’s killing by guiding them toward the consumption of drugs and alcohol. Snoop himself has knocked on death’s door many times in his own short life, and it saddens me that he is passing this dysfunction from one generation to the next. We need to demand that he and other hip-hop artists do better and I won’t tolerate anything less.


Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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