Monday, August 08, 2005

GOLD TEETH. LOTS OF GOLD TEETH: From Satire to Reality
By Almighty Mark Skillz / MARKSKILLZ@AOL.COM
(January 12, 2005)

James Brown once said: “To be a star there are certain qualities you must have: One: Hair. Two: Clothes and the third: Nice teeth.” Of course the Godfather of Soul was talking about nice, straight, pearly white teeth. But I wonder what he would think of gold caps that had spinning rims on them?

A while back photojournalist Ernie Pannicoli made up a fictional story about the rapper Ja Rule having a patented line of spinning gold teeth, he said, “Make your grill say something, tell them you from the hood and down with the hood just by flashing a spinning smile."

Well, what originally was a satire piece about the ridiculous obsession hip hop has with materialism; lo and behold someone has made a line of gold-capped teeth that literally have spinning rims on them.

Shocked, I called the number on the ad and spoke to an Asian gentleman named Singh, who is the owner and designer for a company called I asked him if he really had a line of spinning gold teeth, to which he responded, “Yes, we have a product like that.”

I wanted to break out laughing just like I did 2 months ago when Ernie put his fake news story out. I asked him if he was aware of Ernie’s satire story from a couple of months back, to which he responded “No.” I then asked him where he got the idea for that line of teeth, to which responded, “Oh, we just made it up, we make up designs all the time.” I had to ask him, “So, how long have you been selling this line of teeth?” To which he responded, “Oh I’d say it’s been a little over a month now.”

I then had to get to the most important part, the question that had been burning in all of our minds…

Mark Skillz: So, what makes them spin? Are they battery operated, or do you spin them with you finger first?

Triple X Gold Teeth: Uh, gravity, the way we’ve designed them is so that they spin just from the force of gravity.

Mark Skillz: Oh…so they always spin then?

Triple X Gold Teeth: Yes, pretty much.

Mark Skillz: So…have you gotten any orders for them?

Triple X Gold Teeth: Yes we’ve had quite a few come through in the pastmonth.

So, you know what’s next right? Get ready for some artist to be the first to rock some spinning gold teeth! It’s coming, you know it is, and then some goofball with a sweatband on his forehead and his drawers showing is going to show up at your house, and sit at your table, and say, “Excuse me, does anybody have a few toothpicks? I need to get some meat out of my spinning teeth.”

Ok, while all of this is funny, there really is a sad commentary in all of this. Unfortunately, the gentleman that designed this line of teeth is profiting off of the willful ignorance of the Black and Latino Communities. Any dentist will tell you that gold caps are not good for your teeth. The decay process is accelerated when gold is capped on teeth. Some people wear gold fronts, and have done so for years, but they – if they want to keep their teeth – exercise great care in taking care of the teeth they have.

What’s sadder is that, this guy Singh, probably came to this country within the last 10 years (judging by his accent) and probably learned early in his stay here who’s ignorance to exploit. Kind of like that game “Ghetto Monopoly,” remember that?

We, as black people, bear responsibility for feeding these people these images. At the turn of the last century and the ones that preceded that one, whites were responsible for the ugly caricatures of us back then. Somewhere down the line we were bamboozled into thinking that as long as we profited or we looked good, whatever we were doing was all right.

When I first started writing about hip hop I never would’ve guessed that what I would be chronicling is the decay of a culture. A culture that has turned into a long running joke. A culture so devoid of creativity that cartoonish thugs with Sambo-like tendencies are heroes for a generation. Yes, white and black kids have come together in a lot of cases, under the banner of hip hop’s culture. However, how free are the minds of the youth? Do they, or we as adults see ourselves as freethinking people devoid of the black inferiority complex?

When the Roman civilization was falling, people were being butchered for sport, and people were engaging in all kinds of depraved acts, the Emperor is said to have said, “Panem et circenses” meaning: “Give them bread and circus.” My friends, hip hop is the circus.

This article was first published at ( It is republished here with permission

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