July 5, 2007, - 1:03 pm

“Pimp My Wheel Chair”?: MTV Snubs Disabled Boy

By Debbie Schlussel
Over the years, MTV has broadcast various specials and incantations about the virtue of diversity and accepting those who are different, including the disabled.
But that’s apparently just “do as I say, not as I do” gibberish, when it comes to the network, itself.
Just ask Darius Weems, the subject of the new documentary, “Darius Goes West.” The charming, wheelchair-bound 15-year-old from Athens, Georgia suffers from the fatal degenarative disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and dreams of getting his wheelchair “tricked out” (customized) with gadgets and decor by MTV’s famous “Pimp My Ride” show. He wants to be on the show to help spread awareness of his disease, and travels cross-country with college students in an RV to do so.

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Darius Weems Shows Drawing of Dream WheelChair, Ignored by MTV

But when Weems and company get to Los Angeles, MTV ignores them and won’t have anything to do with Darius. To the rescue, an L.A.-area Lamborghini dealership, which does “Pimp Darius’ Ride,” when MTV wouldn’t.
Shame on MTV. The channel could have done a lot of good by helping Darius Weems. The next time the network and its “Choose or Lose” crew preach to you and your kids about diversity, tell them to quit Pimping America. Darius–and the rest of us–can take care of our own rides . . . and lives, ourselves, without any morality lessons from the hypocritical cable channel.
Despite MTV’s dissing of Darius, he sees the U.S. for the first time in his life–he’d never been outside of Athens, Georgia–and gains comraderie and friendship of the college students who transport him to L.A. So he has gained far more than he’d ever get from the phonies at MTV.
I don’t agree entirely with one of the messages of the movie–about how many sites in America are not wheelchair accessible. We are more disabled-friendly than almost any nation on earth (except Israel, which at one recent point had the most amputees per capita, because of war wounds and terrorist attacks). While I understand that there are many obstacles for the handicapped and we should have compassion, some ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements have put small businesses out of business.
You can watch the whole story in “Darius Goes West”–at movie festivals around the country now, and at arthouse theaters soon. The trailer is here:

Read ABC News/Nightline’s story on Darius Weems. Visit the Darius Goes West website for a lot more info.
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12 Responses

Well, it’s MTV. They’d rather make fun of the guy’s disablity than have some fucking class and do something good for the guy.
But why the hell would anyone wanna…pimp….their wheelchair anyway?

Squirrel3D on July 5, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Am I missing something?
Did MTV promise that they would pimp Darius’ ride before he made his trip out west? And, then didn’t deliver on the promise? Or, did he show up, and ask that his ride be pimped out? Sounds like the latter.
I don’t watch MTV and am unfamiliar with the show ‘Pimp My Ride.’ What happens on the show? Does MTV pay for the pimping, or does the person who owns the ‘Ride’ pay for it? Does MTV solicit ‘Rides’ to pimp? Or, do people just show up on MTV’s doorstep in their hoop-dees?
I am not dismissing Darius’ condition, nor am I excusing MTV. Charity and all that good stuff makes us a great country, witness the Lamborghini Dealer.
Yet, to take MTV to task for not helping this Darius out, seems a bit unfair and a very Liberal position to take. Just because a guy shows up in a wheel chair does not mean you have to take care of him, even if you advance certain causes.
Good grief, would MTV have to help out every single individual who showed up on their doorstep asking for a handout and shooting a documentary, possibly to guilt them into submission? MTV is not the Catholic Church nor is it the Democrat party. And, get this, neither is the Lamborghini Dealer. I doubt they will pimp everyone’s ride that shows up to ask.
Darius asked, MTV said no, end of story.
IF MTV DIDN’T CONSTANTLY PREACH TO AMERICA ABOUT DIVERSITY AND BENDING OVER BACKWARDS FOR MINORITIES AND THE DISABLED, ETC., YOU WOULD BE RIGHT. BUT SINCE THE NETWORK DOES THAT, IT OWED HIM–AND US ALL–THE ACTUAL PRACTICE OF WHAT IT PREACHES. IT’S PUT UP OR SHUT UP.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

zyzzyg on July 5, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Squirrel3D,
I saw a presentation of this story on Nightline. Like you, I was a little uncomfortable with the idea of a movie being centered around a young brother wanting to get something “pimped” (talk about playing into stereotypes!). However, I decided to give the youngster a break because despite his horrible degenerative disease, he’s still a teenager and subject to those crazy teenage media-driven whims like the rest of us were at his age.
The movie mainly seems to focus on how a group of mainly White college-age folks rally around this young man and give him a travel experience and a set of friends he’ll never forget. His prognosis isn’t good (the disease usually kills its victims before they reach age 25), so it was good to see these kids do this for this young man, although the idea of getting something “pimped”, even a wheelchair, may make some of us Black folks squirm a bit!

JibberJabber on July 5, 2007 at 2:47 pm

If pimping his ride, if venturing outside his comfort zone to see the Grand Canyon, the ocean, or all the other beauty of this country is what he wants, go for it dude! If this brings him happiness in the face of a cruel, debilitating disease, I wish him Godspeed. Who gives a damn about MTV? Those impudent little hash-heads they have on don’t know shit about good music, world events, or responsibility as good souls; all they care about is the leftist propaganda and who has the most bitchin’ i-pod or cell phone. I stopped watching it a loooooonng time ago when they stopped playing good music and videos and started hiring wet stains off the sheets.

1shot1kill on July 5, 2007 at 3:23 pm

JibberJabber….I didn’t squrim, I got angry. And don’t think for one mintue that I fell for it when I was 14 ten years ago. I didn’t give him a break and….I’m not even say the rest.

Squirrel3D on July 5, 2007 at 6:24 pm

This azzhat almost bankrupted the historic city of Julian CA.
http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/northcounty/20051225-9999-2m25julian.html
ADA is such a joke. However I was a bit amused to find someone suing the City of Detroit due to perfume.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070705/ts_alt_afp/uscourtemployee_070705151239
I understand her issue with the “french whore houses” that just don’t get the whole perfume thing. Some have marinated so long in their perfume they make my eyes water to the point it looks like I am crying, and causes nausea and headaches.
They preach tolerance and caring, however they act like fascists.

Mark L. Jackson on July 5, 2007 at 6:41 pm

People forget that MTV was notoriously anti-Black until a still Negroid Michael Jackson broke the colour line—now they’re GHETTO BLACK—unfortunately this kid isn’t an aspiring gangsta rapper.

EminemsRevenge on July 5, 2007 at 7:25 pm

B”H Sounds like more [limousine?] liberal hypocrisy and stupidity to me. Couldn’t they even realize the great ratings and publicity they would’ve gotten from pimping out his wheelchair? Go figure….

Ben-Yehudah on July 6, 2007 at 5:34 am

Hyperbole warning: You said Israel at one recent point had the most amputees per capita, because of war wounds and terrorist attacks).
Er, no. Think Cambodia. Afghanistan. Sierra Leone for the most amputees
Mines & gunmen are even more a problem there.

sabrasam on July 6, 2007 at 12:01 pm

As a severely disabled woman who has to use accessible entrances and can’t climb stairs, most of the US is NOT accessible for someone in a wheelchair.
Notice that Darius friends often had to carry him to locations or put down planks for his wheelchair to go on. Both of these are very dangerous for the disabled person as well as making you entirely reliable on a large team of other people.
The ADA does nothing to protect or assist Disabled people. Only fear of the ADA does. The Supreme Court has made the ADA so toothless that if a person actually fought making a building accessible they could, because there is nothing the disabled person could do about it. I am dealing with this problem now at work. I can’t even move through my own company’s building without people opening every door for me and there are a lot of doors. I have worked there 5 years and have asked for an accessible entrance that entire time. I was told that it was too expensive to do, even though the entire cost would be covered by the government through tax breaks (the company has many more than 15 people).
As far as MTV and Pimp My Ride goes, unless they had a contract with them up front, I see no reason why they HAD to update Darius’s wheelchair. If I was Darius, I would have tried to get someone to buy me an I-Bot rather than adding all that useless crap. I-Bots are motorized wheelchairs that can climb stairs and let you reach high shelves. Trust me there is nothing “cooler” than being in a wheelchair that climbs stairs.

beck7422 on September 26, 2007 at 1:55 pm

Jibber Jabber and squirrel 3D, as a fellow black man I feel you on the squirminess and anger of how black people are stereotyped…. but I saw this movie and it ain’t like that. There is no color in this movie, or disability, the press just spins it that way. Darius wanted to get on PMR as a cool way to introduce DMD, the number one genetic killer of children in the world, to the 70million viewers of Pimp My Ride. The film is also way more about the trip and accessibility than actual Pimp My Ride. And to clear up another mention, yes Pimp My Ride told Darius they would do it and then didn’t. I encourage ya’ll to see this before you dismiss it, or to at least spend your energy fighting press biases and not this story.

Burton on September 29, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Also, Debbie, the Lamborghini shop is in Atlanta, not LA, and I sent them an email to see if they made good on their promise to add spinner rims to anyone who asks (featured in the movie). They pimped out over twenty wheelchairs with spinners now. As Darius says in the movie: “When my life stops, I want my wheels to keep spinning”. I got nothing but love and respect for that.

Burton on September 29, 2007 at 9:19 pm

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