Remove Offensive Words From Hip-Hop?
In an article on April 23, 2007 in Yahoo! News, Russell Simmons recommended eliminating certain "highly offensive words," consisting of racial slurs and degrading women, from the recording industry, claiming they are "extreme curse words." The article notes that Simmon's recommendation comes less than two weeks after the incident with Don Imus. Simmons asked that the recording and broadcasting industries either remove, delete, or bleep these words. Although the move is voluntary, he hopes there will be "guidelines for lyrical and visual standards." The article is a change from his original stance on the matter, saying that they "may be uncomfortable for some to hear, but our job is not to silence or censor that expression."
Although I don't listen to much from that genre, many songs I do hear seem very obscene. I think that it is an artist's choice what content to have in their songs, but I think a set of guidelines would be a good idea. The things artists say in their albums say a lot about them, and what they are willing to say to sell albums. Constantly falling back on obscenities seems like a cheap way of appealing to the public.
As mentioned in lecture, language is a powerful tool in reinforcing and reproducing advantage and disadvantage. By allowing racial slurs, and other words that tend to act as labels, people become accustom to hearing these words, some using them in their everyday vocabulary. When people, especially youth, hear obscenities in the popular media, they think those words are alright to use, even more so if the person who is using them is their role model. A shift towards more appropriate vocabulary in music could drastically change the outlooks of people, at least those who are that impressionable.