My favorite morning radio host Star (real name Troi Torain) of Power 105.1’s Star and Buc Wild show got fired today for comments he made on yesterday’s show directed towards DJ Envy of Hot 97. I actually stayed in my car after I got to work just to hear him finish his remarks because I just knew that he was heading towards dangerous waters. He basically said that he would do an R Kelly on Envy’s baby girl. There were also racial remarks used since Envy’s wife is part Asian. What I’m sure you won’t hear as this breaking news story makes its rounds is the context both of the show and those remarks in particular. Star’s M.O. is what he calls “objective hate”. While I can’t say I completely understand what that philosophy really entails, it’s something along the lines of encouraging the verbal expression of hate for the truth that it reveals. Supposedly it’s at that level of communication that more real and meaningful interactions can occur because those expressions of hate are closer to one’s true feelings. It’s certainly not my thing, but I respect the intelligence it takes to read and think and come up with one’s own philosophy like that. Now that’s the thing- despite it being on a hip hop station that plays what uptight conservatives would consider ignorant thug music, Star’s show was an intelligent one, meant for intelligent listeners. If you were ignorant, you would listen to the show and hear nothing but the racial epithets and inciteful comments and likely be blinded by your own rage. But if you were an intelligent listener capable of grasping the underlying content two levels deeper than the words themselves, you’d understand that he’s trying to incite those masses because that’s exactly what objective hate seeks to elicit.
This is the main difference between Star and the other controversial radio figures- Star has a structured philosophy and a path. There’s a point to it. It’s complex, but it’s there if you have the intellect to get it. Howard Stern? Pure shock jock for shock’s sake. No point to his schtick. Opie and Anthony? Same deal. Miss Jones on Hot 97? Who knows, I don’t listen to her. But they all seem to be on the airwaves aimlessly trying out ploys just to get attention. It would be an easy mistake for first time listeners to lump Star in with those other guys, because on the surface that’s just what he sounds like. It will certainly sound that way to people who only hear the sound bites that will get circulated with the news of his current firing. But does anyone really believe that Star would go and seek out a 4-year old girl in order to pee on her? Anybody?? I don’t for a second believe that Envy’s wife really believes it either despite her claims that she fears for her daughter’s safety and has hired additional security.
Do I think Star crossed the line? Sure I do. I don’t think children should ever be brought into the conflicts of adults. But that’s just where I draw my own personal line. But you know what? Some people take offense to others talking about their mothers. So should talking about someone’s mother on the radio be grounds for dismissal? If that’s where you draw your line, maybe you would feel that way. But my position is that you have no right trying to impose your line on me. Technically I’m sure there’s a possibility that what Star said could be considered a criminal threat and have legal ramifications. But if you’re going to take stuff out of context like that, you might as well bring Joe Torre up on charges for threatening to strangle Tanyon Sturtze after he made a bad throwing decision in a game last week. It’s nonsense. In context, what Star was really doing was responding to comments that Envy supposedly went to confront him in person down at the station but that Star just never showed up. Star said something to the effect of “Are you sure you were at the right building?” and then gave the address of the station. “I’m the easiest guy in the world to find.” He went on to say that apparently nobody witnessed Envy at the station, and not even anyone in Envy’s own posse could confirm that he really went there. Star was trying to prove that Envy was never there on the grounds that he didn’t have the cojones to do something like that. So Star decided to push the daughter button figuring that type of disrespect would put Envy into a man-up-or-shut-up situation. The comments crossed my line, sure, but what does my line have to do with anything. If any intellectually challenged listeners couldn’t understand what Star was doing, it should have been clear when he followed it up with “I’ve disrespected your seed. Now you have to call me, Dawg.” The point was to disrespect Envy in the deepest way possible, not to express his desire to piss on a little girl. But when the story of Star’s firing hits all the news wires tomorrow, this will not be apparent. At best they’ll portray him as some out of control radio guy just trying to be controversial and at worst, they will try to make you believe Star is a dangerous gun-toting pedophile.
The other stuff about the racial slurs are just silly. Star considers himself simply “a man of color” and refuses to define his identity by any race. Any and all races are fair game to be targeted on his show; that’s the objective part of objective hate. Look, I’m Chinese and I’m telling you that anybody getting all up in arms over lo mein comments in this day and age needs to get a grip on their sensitivity. And if your argument is that airing these slurs on the radio will encourage others to make similar comments, I hope you spend as much time instilling your children with quality values and the ability to think for themselves as you do in teaching them that every derogatory comment is a personal injustice that needs to be corrected by government intervention. Years ago, Star himself was strongly against the use of the N-word, regardless of whether it was being used between blacks or not. But what he observed back then was that people mainly either didn’t feel strongly about it or had no intention of changing. So that’s exactly why he throws it back in their faces today with an overuse of the word. One of the phrases he actually used to describe gangster rap was “bang bang shoot em up nigga die slow crap”. He did with the N-word what all rational intelligent people should do- he took a position, made some observations around it, learned from them and re-evaluated his position. No doubt that’s what he’ll do again now that Clear Channel has let him go. And to those of you who think DJ Envy wins this war because he hit Star in the wallet by getting him fired, I wouldn’t be too sure about that. I think there’s a strong possibility that Star’s contract with Clear Channel had some very specific clauses regarding exactly what Star should be compensated in an event like this. That was the reason it took so long to get him back on the air in NY; the contract had to be just right. I did mention that Star is an intelligent guy, didn’t I? In the meantime, it remains a sad irony that we will no longer get to hear the show whose motto was “The listener will not be denied”.