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Gangsta rap: should it be censored?

O. James Ivey H Environmental Engineering Technologist Toledo, Ohio

I'm not a "blue nose"; I like music as well as the next guy. But gansta rap is a whole different ball game. Although I realize that the gangsta rap subculture is a by-product of a society that does not provide equally for all of its citizens, it's bad that some Black artists and promoters are getting rich by degrading women, advocating violence, and encouraging drug use.

Gangsta rap is addictive. It has turned many a young Black male away from productive activity and has given him a mixed-up view of himself, his history, and his future.

Most Black young men can tell me everything about Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, and other gangsta rappers, but ask them who Dr. Charles Drew or Marcus Garvey were, and all I get are blank, puzzled looks.

Being a child of the 1960's. I was never an advocate of censorship. I may have to be, where gangsta rap is concerned. It's sad to see a young Black male hanging on the corner, calling another Black a "nigga" or a Black woman a "bitch" or a "ho," or grabbing his crotch in full view of everybody. Have we stink so low that we think that it's o.k. to degrade each other, so long as somebody pays us for it?

Ryan C. Moore Television/Radio Major Brooklyn College

What is gansta rap? "Gangsta rap" is what White male media have labeled this art form. Gangsta rap should not be censored. Rap music is a music that is predominantly Black male, so, in other words, they want to censor the Black man. A few months ago, C. Delores Tucker had a hearing on rap music being offensive to women. What would she know about the problems a young Black male from the 'hood runs into daily? Rap music, whatever society wants to label it, is the voice of young Black males across the nation. Rap music is our podium, where we are crying out for help--but it seems nobody hears us.

Monica E. Solomon Counselor/Administrator Jersey City State College

Music has always been a powerful influence in the lives of African Americans. From slavery to civil rights, we have strengthened, encouraged, and empowered ourselves with the positive messages communicated through music.

Rap is a unique blend of music and verbal attitude. This attitude is usually positive, reflecting the feelings and beliefs of this generation. If one listens to rap, one acquires an accurate description of the experiences and realities of today's youth.

Gangsta rap tends to deliver violent images and to depict women as sexual objects. These images suggest to the younger generation that to get respect or to be a "man," one should be tough, make money "by any means necessary," carry a gun, and be prepared to use it. Young women tend to reinforce this rough, tough behavior, since many of them want a man with money, never mind where the money comes from. In many cases, the women in gangsta videos are wearing very little clothing and dance in a sexually suggestive manner.

Realizing how this music affects today's already troubled youth, I think gansta rap should be censored. Positive messages of hope and solutions should replace it.

Gregory Clark History Senior Louisiana College

Music has been an expression of the African-American experience throughout our years on this continent, and it is currently suffering a reversal of its original intent--to raise the morale of the downtrodden. This plague has been made manifest in gangsta rap and its glamorization of murder and the mistreatment of women. As long as this phenomenon runs rampant in our community without censorship or cancellation, the episodes of crime and violence will persist. These messages are quite charismatic to the simple minds of youngsters who feel that life has dealt them a bad hand.

Until we can educate our community and turn its focus toward a knowledge of God and a love of self, we are in jeopardy of having no leaders for tomorrow. Censorship of such poisonous influences [as gangsta rap] can be a first step in recapturing the mentalities of our younger generation.

Can our community survive without positive influences?

Carroll Dennis Beavers, Jr. Oakland, California

Gangsta rap is a story-like expression about inner-city living experiences within some African-American communities. Gangsta rap is a voice in the community that glamorizes some negative actions and the consequences that go along with these actions.

Critics of gangsta rap should seek out the direct or indirect messages about the need for social programs in inner-city communities. Social injustice has contributed to self genocide, unemployment, police harassment, and crime. Racism and social injustice are at the roots of the problem, and until we deal with the problem, gangsta rap will continue to flourish.

Jacqueline Johnson General Studies Major Faulkner State Community College

Music should not be censored. Americans have freedom of speech.

Parents must become involved in what their children view and listen to on television and radio. If parents raise their children with high self-esteem, their children will recognize the music for what it is--entertainment. Their children will realize that they do not have to commit crimes--things rap sometimes glorifies.

Rap must be recognized for what it is--an art form. We as individuals must keep open minds and realize that many artists of the past were ridiculed for their art. We now consider many of these artists geniuses and their works masterpieces.

Toshia Craig Political Science Major Livingston University

Gangsta rap is only one by-product of our freedom of speech. It enlightens us about a culture that we would rather disregard. We cannot justify restricting gangsta lyrics, without including most of our present musical culture. For this reason, gangsta rap should not be censored.

The lyrics confront issues such as sexism, profanity, crime, and drugs, that appear to be insignificant to society as a whole. If we, as concerned members of society, would concentrate on these issues, and cease to debate the censoring of gangsta lyrics, we could create an atmosphere of love. Therefore, people would no longer need to express themselves through gangsta rap.

Azure Thompson Sophomore Eastern Washington University

Gangsta rap is given a bad reputation because of its name. This is the only type of music named after a people grouped by choice. This name could contribute to stereotypes about African Americans, because gangsta rap is seen as performed purely by African Americans.

Though this category of rap can be offensive and violent to some, it is more honest than some of the things we read or watch on television. I would rather hear truths about life in their music than lies in literature and portrayals of African Americans as clowns on television. The latter is more detrimental to the African-American psyche.

If gangsta rap is censured, so should a lot of things society is exposed to. But of course nothing should be censored, and if you ask me, this form of music has just been given a bad RAP.

Shinta L. Burgess Elementary Education Senior Jackson State University

Gangsta rap should be censored because it amplifies the rampant idea that malicious acts are prerogative. Some listeners may not be affected by it greatly, but our precious children are being contaminated by it. The harsh reality is that many parents and the media are irresponsible, but someone must help.

Our future is at stake when our most valuable resources model the demeanor of many rappers. It's not entertaining or healthy for someone to find gratification in blowing someone away with a 9mm. We must remember that only a few began slavery and the destruction of many Jews.
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Title Annotation:X-tra Curricular Feedback
Publication:The Black Collegian
Date:Oct 1, 1994
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