"If by some stroke of the pen hip hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities. Drugs, violence and the criminal element were around long before hip hop existed."— ," Rapper and record producer David Banner, whose real name is Levell Crump, at the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing on sexist and degrading language in hip hop music held yesterday in Washington D.C.
The sad thing is that he’s right, all that stuff was around before hip-hop, but that has nothing to do with the glorification of it in today’s hip hop by people like him. No other form of music exploits and degrades its own people like the way Black rappers do. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we cosigned on white rappers like Eminem and allowed him to do the same.
I am more and more convinced everyday that it’s a conspiracy against Black people. More often than not, we are not the heads of these of music labels that green light the offending albums. Sure, as you make your way to the top there are sprinklings of us here and there, but at the end of the day it’s more likely to be some white male who gives the thumbs up or down on these albums. And we all know how it goes. The more offending and degrading it is, the better the executives like it. That’s what sells right? Right. Because they green light it and we go and buy it.
And I am not buying this censorship bullshit either. Censorship my ass. It’s only an issue of censorship when it’s a Black rapper calling Black women ho’s and bitches. If there were ever to be a song that degraded white women the way that we as Black women are in some these songs and videos, I guarantee you that it wouldn’t see the light of day because there are people in place to make sure that it never happens. Instead, we’ve got people in place to make sure it does happen.
I love hip hop, but not all of hip hop loves me, is what it comes down to. When I was younger, I’ll admit I listened to the worst of them. Suga Free, Eazy E (R.I.P.), N.W.A., DJ Quik, etc. But on the eve of my 30th birthday, I can’t sit here and tell you that those same lyrics don’t bother me today, because they do. Given the rapid and steadily decline of Black pride and self-esteem and the constant disrespect of Black women from themselves, their man, and the man, I can’t ignore the impact that listening to lyrics like “I’d rather give you my bitch” has on us. And you know what’s so bad is that we don’t even realize how we’re contributing to our own demise and self-hatred. The artists justify it as them expressing themselves and making a living, while the consumers buy it hook line and sinker.
There is no rapper or music executive that could ever justify to me why it’s acceptable for Black women to be called bitches or a hos repeatedly in a song. And those of us that shrug it off or don’t give a damn are just as much a part of the problem as they are. As long as we buy this music, they’re going to make it. That’s what it all comes down to. You can have all of the Congressional hearings, protests, marches, rallies, and town hall meetings you want but if they don’t result in the masses of us not buying the music, then we’re just spinning our wheels. The only thing that matters to these executives and rappers is their bottom line, you got to hit em’ where it hurts. Until we can channel our outrage and frustration into doing that, they’ll never really take us seriously.
"It’s still just a song," said Banner. He later added that members of Congress should focus on the message, not the word.