Monday, April 23, 2007

Imus Backlash Finally Producing Some Results

But It's Not Even Close to Being Enough

St. Louis based broadcasters Michael and Steve Roberts are leading the way towards cleaning up the garbage (Rap) that is put over the airwaves. The entrepreneurs have just announced that they will stop playing music with offensive lyrics.

The trend is catching on with broadcasters across the country. A major FM station in New York has decided to change its format away from thug rap to something less offensive and a little less damaging to the community.

Unfortunately, these broadcasters have not gone far enough. For example, the Roberts brothers say that while they will cut out the most offensive material, they will still play plenty of other rap, including rap from the artists whos lyrics they have had to ban. To me this is like doing Cancer surgery and only cutting out SOME of the disease. As we all know.... you must remove all of the disease if the patient (in this case young Black America) is to survive.
That's what thug rap is for the so-called "Black community"... it's a Cancer.

Now Russell Simmons, One of the Kings of Coonery, is doing an about face by calling for the elimination of 3 words from Rap lyrics. This could be a start, but it really doesn't get to the heart of the matter. The misogyny will still be expressed in other ways....especially in the videos. And as far as the words, the Rap culture can and will simply create euphemisms to replace these words... doing very little to blunt the impact of this language.

What we are seeing with the Roberts brothers, Russell Simmons, New York's 105 FM and others calling for these bans, is more likely an effort to sanitize the negatives of the Rap industry so that it will be more acceptable without really changing in a fundamental sense. It's like putting Sheeps clothing on a wolf.... or sugar coating a poison pill. Even if these efforts are successful, Rap will not be any less dangerous or damaging to society....especially to Black youth.

Misogyny, senseless materialism, "bling", an over emphasis on sex, thuggery, irresponsibility, and other ignorance will continue to be the overriding messages carried by this degenerate "Black" cultural expression. This is what needs to change. And until it does, Black culture will continue to go down the toilet.

And one voice that is missing in the debate is the voice of Black women. Where are Black women on this issue? They continue to be silent. Perhaps they are too busy bobbing their heads to the same kind of rap music that has been degrading them for much of the past decade. The irony is unbelievable.

Beyond the mild protest against Nelly by Spellman College, Black women have not taken a clear stand in this debate, nor have they really made a whimper. They have been absent.... MIA in this debate. What happened to the Black women of the 1960's and 70's (or the 80's for that matter)? There use to be a thread of consciousness among them. I have often wondered if they even care what their image is (collectively speaking.... because I know there are a few who do care quite a lot). When there is a demeaning comment, or image in the media....particularly from Rap, they have usually been muted. This is what made the Imus situation stand out and made it so hypocritical.


Anonymous said...

I agree that words are just words. What is important is the intent behind them. I can say "I hate you" and mean "I love you."

So if we take out those three little words, as you said we'll just find ways to replace them.

On top of which, freedom on speech (or a culture of it) allows people to express themselves without bottling anything up and expressing themselves through violence. (Witness the recent killings in Virginia.)

BTW, I personally don't think Imus' intent was as bad as everyone else seems to. I think he intended to make a satyrical, biting comment on the way different women athletes are: some are "tough" and some are "cute." I think that may be an offensive observation based on his own opinion or maybe even an opinion expressed in a Spike Lee movie, but not racist since he wasn't putting down the "black" race.

Anonymous said...

Web Site Clearinghouse for Grassroots Efforts to Combat Misogyny in Music

I think there plenty of us that are equally outraged about the portrayal of African American women in popular culture . Following the Oprah Town Hall meeting I decided to create a website to serve as a clearing house of all of the grassroots effort out there to combat misogyny in music. I think that it is time to DEFUND THE WAR ON BLACK WOMEN! Period. End of discussion. This isn’t about artistic expression. This is about capitalism. People have a right to basically say whatever they want to, but I don’t have to subsidize it in any way. Hence the term “starving artist.”

We started an online call-in talk show as well called “the Black Women’s Roundtable” Saturdays at Noon CST. Our topic this week is “Does Hip Hop Really Hate Black Women?” If you can’t listen live, you can always catch the archived show at

Brian said...

Thank You Gem.... I will make note of the information.