Russell Simmons and Hip Hop Summit Responds to Hip-Hop Lyrics

After a closed door meeting last week, Russell Simmons, Benjamin Chavis other music executives released a statement on their website.  I want you guys to read this press release below and tell me what you think.  

Pamela Lipshitz
JLM PR, Inc.
(212) 431-5227

Recommendation to the Recording and Broadcast Industries:
A Statement by Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis on behalf of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network

April 23, 2007

The theme of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is “Taking Back Responsibility.” We are consistent in our strong affirmation, defense, and protection of the First Amendment right of free speech and artistic expression. We have recently been involved in a process of dialogue with recording and broadcast industry executives about issues concerning corporate social responsibility.

It is important to re-emphasize that our internal discussions with industry leaders are not about censorship. Our discussions are about the corporate social responsibility of the industry to voluntarily show respect to African Americans and other people of color, African American women and to all women in lyrics and images.

HSAN reaffirms, therefore, that there should not be any government regulation or public policy that should ever violate the First Amendment. With freedom of expression, however, comes responsibility. With that said, HSAN is concerned about the growing public outrage concerning the use of the words “bitch”, “ho”, and “nigger”. We recommend that the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words bitch and ho and the racially offensive word nigger.

Going forward, these three words should be considered with the same objections to obscenity as “extreme curse words.” The words “bitch” and “ho” are utterly derogatory and disrespectful of the painful, hurtful, misogyny that, in particular, African American women have experienced in the United States as part of the history of oppression, inequality, and suffering of women. The word “nigger” is a racially derogatory term that disrespects the pain, suffering, history of racial oppression, and multiple forms of racism against African Americans and other people of color.

In addition, we recommend the formation of a music industry Coalition on Broadcast Standards, consisting of leading executives from music, radio and television industries. The Coalition would recommend guidelines for lyrical and visual standards within the industries.

We also recommend that the recording industry establish artist mentoring programs and forums to stimulate effective dialogue between artists, hip-hop fans, industry leaders and others to promote better understanding and positive change. HSAN will help to coordinate these forums.

These issues are complex, but require creative voluntary actions exemplifying good corporate social responsibility.  

Wait: Stop the Presses

Let me get this straight.  Russell Simmons and other hip-hop executives had close door meeting for this?  They repeated the same things those of us in socially conscience Black America have been saying along; and that was to stop using the words “bitch” “ho” and “nigger”. 

The Black community is not speaking to the Hip-Hop community on a legal level; we are speaking to them on a moral level, embedded in self-respect for the history and the culture of our people.  Our ancestors who gave up so much so that these idiots could have the luxury of even walk into a studio and make an album.  Musicians like Paul Robeson, Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and many many other artist who were black and proud and demanded respect.  This is how we repay them?  by not taking responsibility on how our all ready marginalized image is marketed throughout the world?  All in the name of making money and bling?  

I was always told that having wisdom and respect for the 1st amendment is kowing that just because you have the right to say what you want, doesn’t mean you should.  Words are powerful; they can heal and uplift, but they also can hurt and destroy.      

This press release is a small start because the radio stations and video music channels all ready bleep out “bitch” “ho” (I am not sure about the word “ho” somebody get back to me on that one) and “nigger.  And this still did not address the videos that some Hip-Hop artist create.  As you can see I am mad as hell.  It’s one thing to be undervalued and underestimated by some white people, but I’ll be damned if I let my own people do it to us as well.  People, tell me if I am trippin on this one?


2 Responses

  1. Yo Native you are not tripping, I got into a debate about this subject over the weekend at the freeslave. FS and Exodus mentality refused to admit that the hip hopers spewing negative messages needed to change thier message and that thier message was and is destructive.

    It took several post going back and forth for them to finally admit that some hip hop gloryfies behavior that is killing black people. They went the jews own the record company route, they went the white supremacy bieng at fault, they even accusesed me of blaming the victim. Finally it took a comment from asa to even get them to admit that these messages from the hip hopers was wrong and Freeslave ended up saying that I was confused.

    If we have to have a long discussion about white supremacy before we can admit and decide what to do about neanderthal behavior then I dont see very much hope. Anyway you are correct Russell Simmons is so full of shit on this issue it is unbelievable. Did you by chance check out oprahs town hall meeting?

  2. Mark:

    yeah I saw Oprah’s town hall. Russell Simmons and Liles, tipped toed and shuffled arund the issue.

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