Al Sharpton and other black activists are angry at hip-hop superstar entrepreneur Russell Simmons for stepping forward to initiate a new dialogue around offensive language in rap and hip-hop lyrics.
In short, Simmons says three words should never be played in songs over the airwaves. “If you want those words go buy them.” There can be “clean versions” that are for sale, which also have the words removed.
The BBC and other broadcasters incorrectly characterized his policy idea as a “ban” on three words (the N word, the B word and the H word, some of which were spoken by Don Imus over the public airwaves in describing an innocent group of female athletes).
Simmons, and his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, say, “We do not want to censure artists, ever. We should protect their freedom of speech.” Because it is the poets’ job to expose the problems of our world, “We want their message to be more accessible, to deliver it in a way people can digest, and understand.”
He said that in the wake of public outrage, “It’s a good compromise to take those words off the air.”
“There needs to be a corporate responsibility. The broadcast and recording industries can show corp responsibility as a simple solution to a problem. … If rappers (at the corporate level) will do that, maybe the rest of the world will follow them.” (More from yesterday’s announcement at AP)
The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Web site has other news of hip-hop, including the successful conclusion of the 2007 financial empowerment tour for young people called â€œGet Your Money Right,â€ which was featured on GNN-i in January at its launch.