Interviews with DMST victims have revealed previously unknown information about what goes on in the world of pimping, including what’s known as “pimp balls”. These gatherings take place at least once a year in different U.S. cities. Whatever the date or location, they are sure to host a large number of pimps from all over the world, each of them accompanied by a few of their prostituted women and girls (a victim describing these pimp balls stated that she attended with her pimp at age 16). Features of this party include a contest, where the pimps get certain points for pimping “the right way”. For example, if a pimp is emotionally involved with any of his girls or does not have enough control over his girls, he loses points. Another feature is the entertainment, with many popular artists performing over the years, including Trina and Grammy award-winning artist and actor, Ludacris.
This news about pimp balls was fresh in my mind when I flipped a channel and saw a segment on the Ludacris Foundation. That’s correct; the charitable Chris “Ludacris” Bridges created this foundation in 2001 to help less fortunate youth get on their feet. After looking into the foundation, I learned that one of its major projects is the Runaway Love Campaign, which reaches out to runaway youth. The music video for his song, “Runaway Love” features three girls, aged 9, 10, and 11, who have each faced abuse at home – either physical or sexual, pushing them to run from home. In 2007, he received the Spirit of Youth Award from the National Runaway Switchboard, for helping keep America’s runaway and at-risk youth safe and off the street.
While Mr. Bridges may not be aware of the overwhelming number of runaways that end up in prostitution, it isn’t that difficult to make the link. Is Ludacris that hypocritical? We cannot be certain that he was at the pimp ball. But, at the same time, his seriousness about the foundation is less convincing when you read that, since 2001, only $500,000 have been contributed to running its various projects. Ludacris makes $750,000 every time he performs on a stage – even if it’s for a 30 second appearance during someone else’s song. So, by the 10th anniversary of the Ludacris Foundation, we might be able to see the total contribution equal the amount of money he makes in 30 seconds? Maybe it will go towards the Runaway Love Campaign! And maybe this time they’ll actually make an effort to prevent the exploitation of street youth in prostitution.
Another bit of information that contradicts the foundation’s principles is Ludacris’ involvement in the 2003 release of Lil’ Pimp, an animated film in which he starred as one of the characters’ voices. Without getting into the entire plot of this ridiculous creation, I will mention that a pimp is the hero of the movie, and it involves the kidnap of his prostitutes by someone else who wants to make profits off them.
Scene from Lil’ Pimp
It is clear that Ludacris’ position on sexual exploitation is inconsistent, and for a man that is often in the spotlight and looked up to by millions of youth in the United States and elsewhere, he should not be sending such contradictory messages. At this point, he is seen as a “nice guy”, who turns a blind eye on certain types of exploitation, and doesn’t make the connections between his acts and social issues. An all-too-familiar character!