The NAACP Joins War On Offensive Rap Lyrics
After Don Imus' recent firing for using disparaging remarks about the Rutgers University Women's Basketball team, hip-hop critics and activists in the black community have called for record labels to be held liable for the music they distribute and they've also called on rappers to tone down their denigrating lyrics. Also under scrutiny is the misrepresentation of young black men and women in music videos and films.
"The NAACP Stop Campaign is urgently needed to combat recent remarks and continual visual depictions that cast African Americans in a negative light," said Interim NAACP President & CEO Dennis C. Hayes via a statement. "We recognize the need for balance within the African American community in regards to what music, film, and media we deem acceptable. When it comes to establishing norms, nothing is more influential than the images and concepts delivered into our lives on a daily basis by radio, TV, film and the Internet."
Some of the campaign's numerous goals include increasing the number of African American decision-makers/executives in leadership roles at record companies, television networks, and radio stations. They also plan on mobilizing youth units and branches to address issues of image degradation within their communities through education, peer-to-peer communication and positive imagery.
Various hip-hop radio stations including New York's Power 105.1 and Mississippi's Hot 97.7 have taken action by refusing to play songs with degrading or sexist lyrics.
"What we're doing is holding labels and artists accountable for what they say and how they say it," Power 105 program director Helen Little told New York's Daily News. "We want our listeners to know that whatever they hear here, we thought about it."
"As an African-American owner of four TV stations and one radio station, I am announcing, effective immediately, that music degrading women and other members of our community will no longer be played on Hot 97.7," said Michael Roberts, CEO of Roberts Broadcasting Company which owns Mississippi's Hot 97.7, in a statement to his employees. "The rule applies to all broadcasting operations owned by my brother Steven and me."