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JENNIFER'S GEMS
by Jennifer Brown Banks

The "Bad Boy" Syndrome
(Why I'm Feeling "50 Cent"!)

"only God can judge me" - 50 Cent

Aside from an occasional lapse in judgment, I have never truly understood the appeal of the "bad boy"; why women who were otherwise smart and savvy, would choose "shady characters" to share their affections, and then be surprised as to the outcome!

For me, no matter how handsome a "hunk" is, if he’s too "hard core" or too much of a headache, the interest fades quickly. If things ain’t right, I have a very short "emotional attention span." For real.

I’ve always approached relationships like I would business pursuits.
And men with criminal records, cash flow crunches due to chronic unemployment, and crazy ex-girlfriends need not apply!

My philosophy? Life is challenging enough without stacking the odds against you!

But then my interest was piqued and my position was slightly compromised by a very unlikely source… bad boy rapper 50 CENT.

Truth be told, until the release of his box office movie, "Get Rich or Die Tryin", I didn’t know 50 Cent from a 40 ounce! And Hip-Hop Rap music has never really been my scene. I’m more of a Beethoven babe.

But when the previews hit the airwaves, and I became visually acquainted with those biceps, I became a potential fan! (For those of you who are unfamiliar, he was a former drug dealer/thug, shot 9 times and survived, who became one of the hottest rappers of our times.)

Anyhow, the movie, a loose portrayal of his real life, demonstrated his depth and his diverse range as an entertainer. Much to my surprise, I discovered, 50 Cent (A.K.A. Curtis Jackson) is not your average thug! He’s smart. I wouldn’t call him a “pretty boy”, but he has animal magnetism unequaled! He's not just bad. He’s addicting!

Since November 15th, I have followed this man’s moves more closely than his parole officer. I’m embarrassed to admit, I have bought everything I could get my hands on featuring him. From GQ Magazine (he was chosen for their Man of the Year, December 2005 and graces the cover), to his DVDs, to his music.
I’ve even taken a loaner out on items from the local library. And I ain’t usually no "groupie!"

His eloquent portrayal of "Marcus", in the movie moved me that much. It is here that we get a glimpse of his soul and his sad beginning.

Born to a teen-aged single mom in the tough streets of Queens, New York, he was dealt a pretty dismal hand early on in life. He never knew his dad.

As a child, he was introduced to the mean streets and a hustler’s life by his mom, who sold drugs. This, long before he was old enough to understand its magnitude. She was murdered when he was eight years old.

By age 12, almost like a family business, he too began to deal drugs, and in years to follow, committed various crimes and ultimately did jail time.

Though a controversial icon, on screen, 50 Cent comes across as convincing, charismatic, and much less ominous than the lyrics to his song. Likeable even. You get the sense that he was as much a "victim" as a "perpetrator" in his life’s unfolding.

I walked away wanting to know more about the man behind the hype. And you will too.

Here’s what I discovered (the Cliff's Note version):

» He’s born under the sign of Cancer (July 6 th), and is 30 years old.

» His audiences are diverse—black, white, young, old, women and men.

» He was once romantically linked with Vivica Fox.

» He’s left-handed.

» He was raised by his grandparents.

» He collects watches.

» He enjoys boxing.

» He once turned down an endorsement deal for alcohol, because he doesn’t drink, and didn’t want to contribute to its abuse.

» According to his interview in GQ Magazine, (December issue) he’s only been in love once.

» Requested must haves for all his tours? Ketchup and condoms.

» Other product lines he has created or endorsed (in addition to music) include watches, vitamin water, G-Unit clothing, sneakers, and video games.

» He has one son.

» He wears a bulletproof vest daily.

And for those that might consider him a bad influence, or perceive his lyrics offensive, there are 2 sides to every coin (pun intended).

He’s no saint, but he’s a doting father, family oriented, a shrewd businessman, and he’s got "skills."

As evidenced by some of his talk show appearances, he has a good sense of humor, and he’s upfront about his life and his sordid past. He’s nobody’s punk. He’s nobody’s pawn.

He’s spiritual. He believes in God, and it’s rare to find him without his chest being adorned by the sign of the cross, and some religious reference in his songs. Not to mention, he’s managed to overcome some pretty tough obstacles to get where he is today. And in my book, that justifies my “temporary insanity”.

To quote Billy Joel, "I have been a fool for lesser things."

I recommend (for mature audiences):

Get Rich or Die Tryin' (the movie)

From Pieces to Weight (the book)



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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.


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