Group Aims To Ban Three Derogatory Words From Rap Songs, Airwaves
April 23, 2007

Don Imus was fired for using language that was considered racially insensitive. But in the wake of that incident, many say rap and hip-hop artists need to reconsider the language they use in their lyrics.

NY1 Bronx reporter Dean Meminger has more on one group that’s focusing on three words in particular.


Dr. Ben Chavis of the hip hop summit action network says enough already, he says it’s time for the music industry to clean up rap lyrics.

“We are recommending that three words: bitch, ho, and nigger be removed, deleted or bleeped from the airwaves,” said Chavis.

Chavis along with hip hop mogul Russel Simmons who is the co-founder of the hip hop summit sent the recommendations to the heads of major record labels, video channels and radio stations.
They say songs like 99 problems by Jay-Z are prime examples: “I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one.”

Even before receiving the recommendations, the CEOs and presidents of numerous media companies had already met with Chavis to discuss this issue.

But members of the NAACP’s youth and college division say recommendations aren’t good enough, they want strict guidelines.

“We are going to lay down the law and push these record labels and corporations to hold their artists and themselves accountable for what they are putting out into our community,” said Victoria Lanier of the NAACP Youth and College Division.

Even when the words are hard for some to hear — rap fans clearly pick them up.

“I have seen young people in my neighborhood nine, 10 years old using words that at that age I had no idea what they meant,” said Michael Fleming of the NAACP Youth and College Division.

Chavis says that’s one of the major reasons for these recommendations. He says many rappers have young children, so he thinks the rappers themselves will understand the need for change.

“The time has come for black people and other persons of color to speak out and stand up,” said Chavis. “We should not be silent in the face of derogatory language about our women and we should not be silent about the use of a term that speaks to the history of racial oppression, the n-word.”

The hip hop summit action network says artists still can make plenty of money without using these words. Chavis says he wants the industry to police itself, before the government steps in.

But it may already be too late according to Congressman Charles Rangel:

“What we will be doing is deciding the strategy and in all probability besides just the FCC, we will be going after sponsors,” said Rangel.

That means going after the money that pays a lot of the record companies and their rappers.

– Dean Meminger