A seven-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department may find herself unemployed after appearing in a local rap video that has stirred a bit of controversy in the state of Tennessee, prompting discussions for what is and isn’t appropriate behavior for law enforcement officers, even while off duty.
The P.London video is three and a half minutes of hardcore rap featuring female performers in gang colors, waxing braggadocio, pomp, and dancing to lyrics filled with threats, violence, and profanity that talks about what the women in the video are going to do to “another woman’s man” – pretty run of the mill aspects of a fair portion of some of the harder hitting rap out there. The song is called, “What’s up, B*tch?” and had over 7,000 views on the Shutter Brother profile on YouTube, though no trace of the video can currently be found.
In the video the MPD officer has associated herself with, women are seen dancing and performing, referring to themselves as “b*tches from North Memphis,” which raises some uncomfortable positions for some in the Memphis community
As a result, the video is now being examined by the MPD in order to determine how involved the officer may have been in the production of the video. Why that matters, really, is anybody’s guess.
One citizen, Mike Jones of Whitehaven, said after being shown the video:
Her job. Her job is on the line about that one, ain’t it?
Many in the larger Memphis community are wondering essentially the same thing. It seems to be a matter of a conflict of image. On one hand, the officer identified as Paris Glass, is a law-abiding, upstanding member of law enforcement, but on the other she fictitiously portrays herself as a possibly violent member of gang life. As a result, she’s been placed on temporary relief of duty pending an administrative hearing. Her job hangs in the balance, though stepping outside the realm of fiction back into the real world, Ms. Glass is most likely just a law enforcement officer who enjoys rap and hip hop culture, happy to take part in what is essentially an art project by dancing in a local video production.
Apparently, the higher ups of the MPD are worried the community will not be able to separate fact from fiction, and who knows? Perhaps they are right. People are awfully quick to judge, and unfortunately don’t tend to think too hard or critically. It’s easier to just shake your head at others than try to understand and give them the benefit of the doubt.
The MPD has also refrained from pointing out where, exactly, Officer Glass can be seen in the video, but they definitely want Ms. Glass to know that they, at least, see her, and apparently that is enough for her to potentially lose her job, her career, and possibly a whole lot more if she is unable to pay her bills. After all, she can’t keep dancing in rap videos to make a living. That’s just not feasible.
Another resident, Janice Wilson of Hickory Hill, stated:
I really wouldn’t want to see a police officer in a video dancing like that.
The biggest irony, here, however, is how few people would have ever seen or been aware of this officer dancing in this video had the MPD and the local media not broadcasted it all over the place
And shouldn’t this officer have a right to do as she likes off duty so long as she does not break the law? Can we, as a society, really not understand that a rap video production of even hardcore rap is not the same thing as what it portrays in real life? One is a representation of life through art, and one is the real deal. Art imitates life, yet remains art. No matter how realistic an apple may be painted, that will never make it an actual apple, right? Are we, as a society, really unable to understand this to the point where this poor woman should lose her job and livelihood, to the point where Memphis loses one more officer willing to put her life on the line for others?
We must stop meddling in people’s personal lives. Err on the side of freedom, folks – remember?
This isn’t the first time Memphis was unable to distinguish between the art of rap videos and real life, either. Aspiring rapper and MPD officer Candyance Davis (also known as Quolove) fell into the line of fire back in 2012 after word got around that she was rapping about “violence and getting paid.”
Currently, the MPD isn’t offering any comments on the participation of Officer Glass in the P.London video other than that they have brought it to the attention of Mayor A.C. Wharton.
On the subject, Mayor Wharton only stated:
I don’t know the entirety of the investigation, but I am aware of the situation.
Local resident Wilson also added to her earlier comment:
As a police officer she is supposed to represent some type of positivity to me, you know.
Perhaps Ms. Wilson is right, but the question begs, where do we draw the line with role models? Shouldn’t a police officer have some down time to simply be an individual, to be human, too? Must they live always in the spotlight of being a role model? If so, maybe it is time we, the public, begin to redefine our expectations of such role models.
Should Officer Glass have to hide her enthusiasm for hardcore rap and hip hop culture to the point of passing up the opportunity to do nothing more than simply dance in the background anonymously in a video? Should her job really be at risk for something so banal? Isn’t a police officer being enough of a role model by risking her life for the community day in and day out, and by following the rules of law, herself, in her private life? Again, that video she is dancing in is fiction. Should acting in a role for a small music video production be enough for someone to lose their job?
Our personal time should be our personal time, regardless of our professional roles, so long as no laws are being broken. However, in the “land of the free,” Officer Glass continues to be judged by her community and peers, and her job is currently at risk as the absurd investigation moves forward.
No administrative hearing has been set for Officer Glass as of yet.