T Nation

Al Sharpton Against Rap

Not unlike other African American leaders such as Bill Cosby, Al Sharpton is claiming that rap music perpetuates violence with in the Black community, and elsewhere.

What do the T-Nation member think? Do you agree with Al, or is rap music simply a harmless form of entertainment?

Sharpton Complains to FCC About Rap Music

WASHINGTON (March 25) - The Rev. Al Sharpton, upset about violence in rap music, asked the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday to punish artists and radio stations connected with violent acts.

Artists connected to such acts should be denied airplay on radio and television for 90 days, he told reporters after meeting with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and two other commissioners.

He also urged the agency to fine and review the licenses of radio stations “that encourage a pattern of this, including allowing employees to do on-the-air inciting of violence.”

“The outrage of the pattern of violence that has occurred at radio stations requires some action,” Sharpton said. “What has been absent is some kind of government move to stop these actions happening on federally regulated radio stations.”

A spokesman for Martin declined to comment.

Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm, said Sharpton’s suggestions could trample on free speech protections and may not fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the FCC.

“They pose tremendous First Amendment problems,” he said. “It’s very hard to come up with a standard that works. The bottom line is this is not something the FCC was created or equipped to handle.”

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Sharpton has been especially vocal since a bitter feud broke out between artists 50 Cent and The Game last month. A member of The Game’s crew was wounded during a shooting outside a New York hip-hop radio station while 50 Cent was on air criticizing The Game.

Grammy-winning hip-hop star Lil’ Kim could face years in prison when she is sentenced in June after being convicted last week for lying about a shootout outside the same New York radio station.

Sharpton also met with Democratic FCC members Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein.

“We welcomed the opportunity to discuss media violence,” Copps said. “The issue of violence in the media was one the commission ought to take more seriously.”

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/music/article.adp?id=20050324180009990002

I’d say this is an example of the old adage that even a stopped clock can be right twice a day – at least about the problem. The solutions are another matter.

Is Sharpton really respected in the black community? I know what support he does have generally comes from the black community, but that’s different from the idea that he enjoys the support of the black community.

Anyway though, I don’t know if it’s the place of the FCC to regulate this. Aside from the obvious free-speech problems, the FCC can’t really go after the artists – it only regulates the broadcasters.

And I really don’t see how the FCC could blame the radio stations for “inciting” the violent acts of the rappers?

I guess it’s good he’s pointing out a problem, but he’s going to have to work on a different solution.

Finally, there is absurd irony in the fact that Sharpton is concerned about inciting violence and riots – at least if you remember anything about Rev. Al’s history.

BB:

“I guess it’s good he’s pointing out a problem, but he’s going to have to work on a different solution.”

Then you think rap music is in fact a problem?

Al is a wacky guy. He’s a NY fixture and his “rap” gets kind of old.

Ultimately the market will decide what type of music people will listen too. These days especially it is not all that difficult to distribute your music directly to the people.

Zeb,

If I may chime in:

“Then you think rap music is in fact a problem?”

I think it is a symptom of a problem.

I am sure there is more rap music than what I see on television, so when I refer to ‘rap’, I am referring to the mainstream, visible on videos, etc.

Artists used to inspire - now it seems they can’t dig fast enough to get to the lowest common denominator. Every video is the same - a vocabulary of about 50 words in what sounds like 3rd grade poetry, flashy material things, and gaggles of scantily clad women who apparently have nothing better to do than stand around and writhe around their masters.

And this allegiance to pimp culture seems exceptionally odd to me in light of the history of slavery in the country and how it affected Black people. Apparently, White ownership of a Black man is evil - which it most certainly is - but ownership of harem of whores is a perfectly legitimate status to aspire to? Hmmm.

I don’t think it is the duty of an artist - even pop musicians, which may not even qualify for the term ‘artist’ - to inspire people into doing the right thing necessarily. But they certainly have a duty not to inspire people to do the wrong thing.

That’s why I always admired Chuck D of Public Enemy - even though I didn’t agree with his politics. At least he seemed interested in elevating his community, instead of exploiting its worst characteristics in the name of turning a profit.

But, rap is a function of supply and demand - both the Black and White community wants it. I don’t mind a little rebellion music to piss off your parents - that’s what rock and roll is all about - but something about rap’s empty, shameless self-glorification of a deadend lifestyle is troubling when I see so many kids making such horrible choices with their future.

[quote]thunderbolt23 wrote:
Zeb,

If I may chime in:

“Then you think rap music is in fact a problem?”

I think it is a symptom of a problem.

I am sure there is more rap music than what I see on television, so when I refer to ‘rap’, I am referring to the mainstream, visible on videos, etc.

Artists used to inspire - now it seems they can’t dig fast enough to get to the lowest common denominator. Every video is the same - a vocabulary of about 50 words in what sounds like 3rd grade poetry, flashy material things, and gaggles of scantily clad women who apparently have nothing better to do than stand around and writhe around their masters.

And this allegiance to pimp culture seems exceptionally odd to me in light of the history of slavery in the country and how it affected Black people. Apparently, White ownership of a Black man is evil - which it most certainly is - but ownership of harem of whores is a perfectly legitimate status to aspire to? Hmmm.

I don’t think it is the duty of an artist - even pop musicians, which may not even qualify for the term ‘artist’ - to inspire people into doing the right thing necessarily. But they certainly have a duty not to inspire people to do the wrong thing.

That’s why I always admired Chuck D of Public Enemy - even though I didn’t agree with his politics. At least he seemed interested in elevating his community, instead of exploiting its worst characteristics in the name of turning a profit.

But, rap is a function of supply and demand - both the Black and White community wants it. I don’t mind a little rebellion music to piss off your parents - that’s what rock and roll is all about - but something about rap’s empty, shameless self-glorification of a deadend lifestyle is troubling when I see so many kids making such horrible choices with their future.[/quote]

So, you are stating that rap music is having a deleterious effect on our countries youth. However, you are not for any sort of censorship of this music, correct?

Zeb,

“So, you are stating that rap music is having a deleterious effect on our countries youth. However, you are not for any sort of censorship of this music, correct?”

Actually, no. I don’t think censorship is the answer.

Aside from free speech issues, part of that is because of what I stated earlier - rap music is a symptom of an underlying problem. While I think rap music reinforces a lot of bad attitudes, I don’t think it creates them.

Kids are buying into the lifestyle that rap offers because they are not being given a viable alternative. Hell, I wanted to be a rich football player, but I knew - or learned - that that was a fantasy. Kids that are really into this stuff don’t think it’s a fantasy - they think growing up to be a hustler and a pimp is a great prospect, and no one is telling them any different.

So, I don’t think shutting the music down would have much of an effect.

Heh, rap music must fill a need. People listen to it and buy it in droves, how could anything ever be wrong with it?

Besides, imagine the damage to the market for bling if you got rid of it!

I’ve listened to rap for years, with no ill-effects. But I’m not easily influenced.

Now I’m going out with my homies to pimp some ho’s in my caddy, drink some Crystal and Hennie, and smoke a big blunt. Laters homeboys

Good for him. I always thought he was a clown, but in the debates I realized he was the only one who was actually speaking his mind since he had nothing to lose.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
BB:

“I guess it’s good he’s pointing out a problem, but he’s going to have to work on a different solution.”

Then you think rap music is in fact a problem? [/quote]

Yeah, but it’s a problem that has its solution in parenting for the consumers more than anything else.

You can’t spell crap without rap! :slight_smile:

That was profound, I know.

Dustin

Zeb,

I heard Sharpton on Star and Buckwild (Philly) right after 50 and the Game had the shootout. I couldnt really understand his message at all. He was saying that the violence had to stop, but he was not saying to censor the music. Star played him the new Jada diss on 50, and afterwords he said that, although he did not like it, it should not be censored. I am not sure what violence he was referring, I guess just the 50 and the Game shootout. As far as I’m conerned, if 50 and the Game want to have a shootout, then let them go at it. 10 paces and turn. Who cares, they can end their own lives, so stupid. Oh yeah, and I love the Game album, the Documentary.

[quote]SheekLouche wrote:
Zeb,

I heard Sharpton on Star and Buckwild (Philly) right after 50 and the Game had the shootout. I couldnt really understand his message at all. He was saying that the violence had to stop, but he was not saying to censor the music. Star played him the new Jada diss on 50, and afterwords he said that, although he did not like it, it should not be censored. I am not sure what violence he was referring, I guess just the 50 and the Game shootout. As far as I’m conerned, if 50 and the Game want to have a shootout, then let them go at it. 10 paces and turn. Who cares, they can end their own lives, so stupid. Oh yeah, and I love the Game album, the Documentary. [/quote]

That is one of the problems according to Sharpton. He states that rap brings on Black on Black violence.

If he is right then shouldn’t more black leaders like Sharpton and Cosby be speaking out against rap music?

I have to agree with the rev. Rap music is GARBAGE!

[quote]Beauzo wrote:
I have to agree with the rev. Rap music is GARBAGE![/quote]

“Garbage” is a strong word to define music. Don’t you think that other generations thought that the music of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s was garbage?

How does that music differ from rap of today? And why is it that there are so many that have such strong words, against rap?

  1. It promotes antisocial behavior. Does it cause it? I don’t know, but I sure don’t want to spend my money on crap to support the crap that makes it. As long as its turning dollars somebody must like it. I wouldn’t be in favor of banning it, but if people dont want it, dont buy it.

  2. It doesn’t take any real musical talent to make. Just look at the local rappers putting out CDs. Most of these guys cant play an instrument, read music, or carry a tune. They are talking to sampled music that other musicians make. Come on!

[quote]Beauzo wrote:
It doesn’t take any real musical talent to make. [/quote]

Well then, I await your album with bated breath.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
That is one of the problems according to Sharpton. He states that rap brings on Black on Black violence.

If he is right then shouldn’t more black leaders like Sharpton and Cosby be speaking out against rap music?[/quote]

Do you feel that rap brings about black on black violence?

[quote]Beauzo wrote:
I have to agree with the rev. Rap music is GARBAGE![/quote]

Your post is garbage.