An apparent turn-around for Mr Simmons on the issue. I say, "apparent," because he may have come back and said, "I meant on the airways."
If that's the case, then this is all self-promotion.....
April 23, 2007, 7:24 pm Marked Words of Hip-Hop
By Mike Nizza
Tags: hip hop
A leading voice of hip-hop called on music executives and radio stations today to eliminate three words
that are as common in lyrics as they are controversial. The news release has the details
Addressing “recording and broadcast industries,” Russell Simmons proposed raising the words to the level of “extreme curse words” that are bleeped out or deleted from all songs. The reason? “Growing public outrage.”
The current top rap track in the U.S.
, “This Is Why I’m Hot” by Mims, has six instances of extreme curse words, according to elyrics.net
. (An unrelated, but witty graphical analysis of that song
is on the Village Voice’s site.)
Don Imus, who fell to the very same public outrage and reignited the debate over language in hip-hop in the process, was not mentioned today by Mr. Simmons.
When scrutiny turned from the shock jock to other sources of misogyny and racism in American culture, Mr. Simmons was one of the most prominent defenders of hip-hop artists, especially in appearances on “Oprah” and in disagreeing with remarks by Barack Obama
My response to Sen. Obama is that you have to talk about the poverty and ignorance that creates such a climate that the poets can talk like that and all the politicians owe them an education and an opportunity for a better life and maybe they’ll say something better.
A March 13 statement entitled “Differentiating Between Don Imus and Hip-Hop” was more direct: The music “may be uncomfortable for some to hear,” but “our job is not to silence or censor that expression
Today’s statement, which echoes recent calls from Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, appeared to be a shift towards limiting artistic expression as a matter of principle, if not as a matter of practice.
[ UPDATE | 9:03 AM ET
In a CNN interview pegged to his new book, Mr. Simmons clarified the proposal as limited to the “airwaves” and renewed his passionate defense of free expression of artists.
“The records that are truthful are reflections on our sad truth,” he said.
Mr. Simmons also dismissed the idea that he was straddling a “tough line” in the hip-hop community.
“No, I don’t think the artists care one bit. It’s not about the artist. It’s about corporate responsibility,” he said. ]
Hip-hop fans on the Web have been less than welcoming of attention in the Imus affair, and are not likely to appreciate this latest development. In a forum in About’s hip-hop section
, Bucky Turco of Animal Magazine
captured the sentiments of many fans:
The Don Imus thing has nothing to do with Hip Hop. Total apples and oranges. To expect a nationally syndicated talk show host that includes frequent appearances by presidential candidates and hold them up to the same decency standards as rappers is intellectualy lazy and just a convenient way for the media to redirect and spin this back into black America’s face.
[ Warning: R- and X-rated language is common on many of the sites linked from this post, and in some cases, is even included their Web addresses. ]
On Okayplayer, Saul Williams
, an artist who has appeared on Mr. Simmons’s Def Poetry Jam
, wrote a long letter to Oprah
arguing against the banning of words:
Censoring songs, sermons, or the tirades of radio personalities will change nothing except the format of our discussion.
Alas, Nah Right, a popular hip-hop blog, points out that the status quo might not be in any kind of jeopardy
Now, correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t radio stations already supposed to be doing that, and don’t record labels release edited versions of explicit LP’s?