“I got this Japanese girl, man. Lee, man, takes good care of me. Yo, she’s so def, man. Wipes my butt!” – Russell Simmons
The other day, Russell Simmons and a buncha other TIs got together to have an emergency meeting about the future of hip-hop in light of the Don Imus incident and what have you. There was supposed to be a press conference immediately following the meeting, but supposedly they couldn’t have one because the meeting ended up going over its allotted time period.
Instead, they came up with a joint statement that was issued to the media via press release a day later or whatever. It’s posted somewhere on this site, if you’ve yet to read it. Having read it myself, I can’t help but wonder if the real reason they cancelled the press conference is because none of them could stand up there and read from this thing with a straight face.
The gist of it is that the major labels plan to stamp out misogyny in hip-hop by voluntarily bleeping out the words, bitch, nigger, and ho from rap records. Which is actually kinda brilliant, in a Nigel Tufnel sort of way, when you think about it. If the labels actually go through with this, that whole talking point of the b-word, the h-word, and the n-word being all over the radio, where kids might hear it, is off the table.
Russell Simmons’ intellectual ability clearly goes to 11.
I’m not in favor of censorship in any form, but that seems reasonable enough to me. It could even work out in my favor, on the outside chance that I’m ever in a car with a bitch, in which case the last thing I’d need to hear on the radio is Ludacris’ “She’s a Ho” or whatever. Plus, it’s not like I spend a whole lot of time listening to the radio these days anyway.
But you have to wonder if the angry feminazi types who seek to exert their influence on hip-hop through any means other than producing any actual hip-hop records themselves are going to go for this. After all, this plan wouldn’t get rid of misogyny in hip-hop so much as it would make misogynistic rap records that much more palatable. Which would almost be a step backwards.
Still, it’d be getting rid of the b-word, the h-word, and the n-word, which is the real issue, right? If you can play the Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” (the ne plus ultra of misogynistic pop music) on the radio, I don’t see the difference in playing some Ludacris record with half the words bleeped out. No, the real issue at this point would be the images in the videos.
Where as bleeping a few words from rap songs played on the radio would hardly ruin the enjoyment of said songs, getting rid of the half-naked women in rap videos would almost certainly ruin any number of said videos. Plus, it wouldn’t be fair. I don’t recall there being any special episodes of Oprah back when the rock groups like Whitesnake had women in heat writhing on the hoods of cars as if they were hood ornaments.
If you notice, it’s in the way women are presented in videos that misogyny in hip-hop tends to take on a race element – the idea being that showing half-naked black women in rap videos serves to perpetuate harmful stereotypes about black women going back to the days of slavery. If that’s the case, and I’m not saying it isn’t, wouldn’t the obvious solution be to ban black women from rap videos?
Of course the irony is that the portrayal of black women in rap videos has probably done a lot more for their image than they’d like to admit. If anything, the portrayal of black women in rap videos is a gross misrepresentation in the sense that most of them don’t look anything like that. But, hey, if they don’t want to be objectified in rap videos anymore, then fine. Have it your way.
I’d be lying if I said that rap videos with nothing but white chicks in them would hurt my feelings too bad.