- Hip Hop is not the enemy.
- Domestic violence is a serious problem that needs to be addressed.
- It is better to deal with problems directly than waste energy scrutinizing the artists who bring them to light.
On April 4, 2007, shock jock Don Imus referred to the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos” on his nationally syndicated radio program in what immediately sparked a nationwide controversy. Soon after, Oprah Winfrey held a “Town Hall Meeting” on her TV show holding Hip Hop partially responsible for society’s ills and implicitly drawing a link between misogynstic rap lyrics and Mr. Imus’ remarks.
Def Jam founder Russell Simmons defended Hip Hop by stating, “When [rappers] come out of a tremendous struggle, and poverty, and ignorance…and when they express that truth, and it makes you uncomfortable, then do something about it. Don’t just point your finger at the messenger.” T.I. later told MTV News, “If you want to fix America, you have to start at [the top] and work your way down — you can’t start at Hip Hop and work your way up.” Fat Joe then added what most of us were thinking all along: “I don’t know how a 60-year-old white dude has any relation to Hip Hop.”
While there is obviously some merit to the argument that sensationalizing negativity can have a bad influence on impressionable children (and, umm, 60-year-old white dudes?), the simple truth is that Hip Hop Is Not The Enemy. Despite how “irresponsible” the lyrics may seem at times, they are merely a reflection of the world we live in. It is therefore the world at large that needs to be examined. This initiative is founded on the principle that Hip Hop on the whole does not believe in the mistreatment of women, and Hip Hop wants to help.
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