Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis Issue Recommendations to Recording and Broadcast Industries on Behalf of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network

russell_simmons6.jpgFollowing the postponement of their press conference to announce the results of their closed door meeting with music industry executives and artists last week, Russell Simmons and Dr. Benjamin Chavis of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network issued the following statement to the recording and broadcast industries today (April 23).

April 23, 2007

The theme of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) is “Taking Back Responsibility.” We are consistent in our strong affirmation, defense, and protection of the First Amendment right of free speech and artistic expression. We have recently been involved in a process of dialogue with recording and broadcast industry executives about issues concerning corporate social responsibility.

It is important to re-emphasize that our internal discussions with industry leaders are not about censorship. Our discussions are about the corporate social responsibility of the industry to voluntarily show respect to African Americans and other people of color, African American women and to all women in lyrics and images.

HSAN reaffirms, therefore, that there should not be any government regulation or public policy that should ever violate the First Amendment. With freedom of expression, however, comes responsibility. With that said, HSAN is concerned about the growing public outrage concerning the use of the words “bitch,” “ho,” and “nigger.” We recommend that the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words “bitch” and “ho” and the racially offensive word “nigger.”

Going forward, these three words should be considered with the same objections to obscenity as “extreme curse words.” The words “bitch” and “ho” are utterly derogatory and disrespectful of the painful, hurtful, misogyny that, in particular, African American women have experienced in the United States as part of the history of oppression, inequality, and suffering of women. The word “nigger” is a racially derogatory term that disrespects the pain, suffering, history of racial oppression, and multiple forms of racism against African Americans and other people of color.

In addition, we recommend the formation of a music industry Coalition on Broadcast Standards, consisting of leading executives from music, radio and television industries. The Coalition would recommend guidelines for lyrical and visual standards within the industries.

We also recommend that the recording industry establish artist mentoring programs and forums to stimulate effective dialogue between artists, hip-hop fans, industry leaders and others to promote better understanding and positive change. HSAN will help to coordinate these forums.

These issues are complex, but require creative voluntary actions exemplifying good corporate social responsibility.

  • 11kap

    Russ is getting old…………bending to pressure. Good Luck, anyway. It’s all about morality for the future of this nation and the next generation. We have to lead by example or the youth will not know any better.

  • Port_o_Prince

    .” We recommend that the recording and broadcast industries voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words “bitch” and “ho” and the racially offensive word “nigger.”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    YO THAT SOUNDS LIKE CENSORSHIP TO ME, I CANT IMAGINE LISTENING TO AN ALBUM AND THOSE WORDS GET BLEEPED OUT, I’LL BE LIKE WTF? ITS NOT HIP HOP’S FAULT THAT WOMENT GET CALLED HOS AND BITCHES, THAT A REFLECTION OF SOCIETY PERIOD.

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    So what are they going to do about the whores and gangstas in the streets. That is where the real problem, not in the music. The music is a reflection of what is going on in the cumminity. In the communities is where the problems lie not the music. Now they want to clip weeds…we all know what happend when you clip weeds in your garden. This is BS.

  • BklynBandette

    It’s A Start. Now Let’s see where it goes.

  • EReal

    If they do that I will never EVER EVER buy another CD, DVD, MP3, anything. I will download everything and let those cocksuckers know that WE are the market, the buyers, and you may want to ask US what WE want instead of doing what you THINK IS BEST FOR US. WE DONT NEED NO MOTHER FUCKING HELP.
    I say we boycott all music and movies and move straight to downloading and then all these fuckers will be broke and like, wtf happened?

    1 hunned.

  • FDS

    Every other word that comes out of Russell’s mouth is a mother fucker this and that. So if this is how you talk in everyday life, why is it so offensive when you hear it in music?

  • http://MP3.com Gphorce

    I’ll beleive it when I see it. For all the people on here that think that what you buy is up to you, it isn’t they set the standards and like mindless slaves you buy what is available. For those of you that can’t imgaine what it would be like not to hear all the cursing and disrespecful lyrics. Go pick up Eric B. And Rakim’s Paid in Full album. Yeah I may be old but I have seen enought to know that the greatest man that ever touched a mic did it using very little profanity. The rest of you that can’t see the need for this should stay in school and get and education because this rap thing isn’t for you.

  • http://myspace.com/loonyt LoonyT

    U cant recommend what the public likes. If someone wants to hear cuss words then thats thier right to. I personally dont want to hear a million beeps on a record. Let the artist express themselves and if u dont like it then dont buy it.

  • http://xxlmag.com AndretheGreat

    Double-standard. This is ot how everyone talks and we can’t site here and pick and choose who can say waht. the best thing to do is consider who this affects and respond accordingly. The music executives are responsible for what gets heard and what doesn’t. If you have to look at how the mdeia represents us you’d think all we are are entertainers,thugs,crooks or evil b****s. We gotta start somewhere.

  • Hef

    It is unfortunate that people can continue to say that they are making a difference with abstract concepts rather than real action and practice. Instead of bleeping the offensive words, how do we as a community teach the youth as well as the adults to value themselves and others so that the words become repulsive. Moreover, how to go about changing the insidious institutionalized racism that exists among corporations and billion dollar music conglomerates when your company (i.e. Def Jam) is one among those many problems.

    This is not to say that I agree with radical censorship, but the freedom that we enjoy as a Hip-Hop loving community requires responsibility. Additionally, the ridiculousness of Cam’ron on 60 minutes, who sticks to the so-called ‘code of the streets,’because of business first and secondly, because it was how he was ‘raised’ should raise some interest. What is he really concerned with? Artists should do all in their influence to prevent shows like 60 minutes from presenting a one-sided view of Hip-Hop when we all know that there are more than just one facet.

    Honestly, I think that Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled” is extremely appropriate at this point in music.

    J

  • http://myspace.com/gopentertainment Sayso is Donny Slaughter

    No matter how hard they fight, U can’t erase words from peoples vocab, tha word nigga is uttered all ova hip hop, however, it’s not tha same as sayin’ nigger. Whut makes a word derrogatory is the text that it’s spoken in. Nigga is a word I use everyday, and my niggaz use it too, nobody gets offended, but tha funny thing is that these muphuckas act like bitches and hoes don’t exist, and if the shoe fits, it seems that tha bitches and hoes dont mind wearing them, and I’m quite sure we know a few. The words nigga and bitch over time has been so desensatized that it now can be used as a term of endearment, even to tha point some dictionaries define it as such, it’s just like White people callin’ each other rednecks. Aint it enuff that radio and TV beep so much of our music as it is, that all we can do is put out instrumentals anyways!!! Whut’s tha difference anyway cuz if U turn on tha TV, music is the only form of entertainment that’s gotta deal wit this bullshyt, cuz if U turn on HBO, fuck dat, even FOX, WB, UPN, ABC, look at Desperate Housewives, and shyt like that, who’s gonna censor them???

  • http://myspace.com/gopentertainment Sayso is Donny Slaughter

    I’m wit U Ereal!!! Fuck this bullshyt!!!

  • pooh

    tell all them bitches and hoes and niggers to stop acting like bitches,hoes and niggas

  • therealwayno

    EReal u sound like u don’t buy much anyway. Take away swear words and u jigs would probably have a lot less to say.

  • http://officialhiphop.blogspot.com JOE CASTRO

    I don’t understand the meaning behind all of these closed door meetings… if they want to reach a neutral ground between those that find certain aspects of hip hop offensive, and those that do not, they need to effectively engage the people.

    Herding us around like sheep, telling us what we need not to hear will only cause the people to withdraw their support altogether. It’s also important to note that the only thing being addressed is the music, and not the circumstances out of which the music is born.

    Not sure how many people saw Oprah’s show that dealt with this issue, but during that discussion someone raised the point of addressing the dire situations in the innercities across America in order to see changes in the music. Upon that, Oprah asked if poverty needed to be ended before rappers stopped calling women ‘hoes’; and everyone on the panel shriveled up. They didn’t have the testicular fortitude to reaffirm that some of the underlying issues in our community (such as poverty) do indeed need to be addressed before the music can be ‘sanitized’.

    In most ways, modern hip hop has just become a way to sell us ‘stuff’… and it becomes more evident in the way people attack and feebly defend the culture.

    __
    http://officialhiphop.blogspot.com

  • Greg

    I don’t know if this is going to work, but I’m glad that someone of Russell Simmons’ stature took a stand and said that this is not acceptable. Speaking about what’s going on in urban communities and glorifying all of society’s ills are two different things.

  • CHICAGO PaPii

    Russel Simmons should stick to Motivational Speaking and managing record companies, and leave Hip-Hop in the Hands of its Future, cuz if they try to Censor certain words they know they just gonna make them more popular, and spreading more “Ignorance”

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  • a_loco

    Russ and Benny: Lesson #1

    Censorship is bad. Censorship is still censorship if the recording industry “voluntarily” forces an artist not to use words like “nigger”, “ho”, and “bitch”. By your definition, if the industry “voluntarily” stopped african-americans from making music, it would not be censorship. Censorship is censorship whether the government invokes it or businesses invoke it. Again, censorship is bad. Censorship is something that Martin Luther King Jr. did not agree with. Maybe, instead of trying to censor rap music, you should pick up a dictionary.

  • S.FRAZE

    MAN I GOT A REAL PROBLEM WITH THIS…

    1ST U GOT CLOSED DOOR MEETTINGS TALKING ABOUT WHAT TO DO ABOUT THE RES.OF THE INDUSTRY AND THEN U COME WITH WHAT U “RECOMMEND” TO THE RADIO AND TV…HMMMM
    1 BIG “FUCKIN” PROBLEM….. THE FANS WHO BUY THE MUSIC WHO PAY FOR THE CURSING AND THE HOS AND THE BITCHES. FANS WANT TO HEAR”THEE” ARTIST OPPOSED TO SOMETHEN BLEEPED AND EDITED…WHERE IS THAT REAL SHIT?!?
    YOU MEAN TO TELL ME I CANT HEAR HO OR BITCH USED BY ONE OF MY FAV ARTIST BUT I CAN HEAR ABOUT HOW THEY WHIP CRACK AND SELL CRACK ALL DAY?!???..SOME SHIT AINT RIGHT….

    JUST THINK ABOUT IT U CANT SAY HO OR BITCH ON THE RADIO NOR ON THE TV WITHOUT IT BEING BLEEPED..SO WHAT THE FUCK ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT??
    MEANING.. IF I BUY AN UNCLE MURDER ALBUM ALL IMA GON HEAR IS THE BEATS?!?!??
    THIS STARTED WITH IMUS BUT HE WAS THE 9-11 ALL SHARPTON IS BUSH AND THE HIP-HOP IS THE MIDDLE EAST!!
    HOW THEY HELL THIS JUMP FROM ” IMUS” TO WHAT AN ARTIST CAN AND CAN NOT RECORD???

    IF THIS IS ALL TRUE THE UNDERGROUND WITH FINALLY BE CROWNED KING…AGAIN..

    ITS ALL ABOUT CONTROL AND WE ARE ALL BEING PROGRAMMED

    LISTEN IM NOT BIG ON BITCHES AND HO’S AND ALL THAT BUT DAMN BRA…U CANT TELL AN ARTIST HE CAN PAINT WITH EVERY COLOR EXCEPT TWO..ITS ART!!!

    I DONT CARE WHAT U THINK OR NAME IT AT THE END OF THE DAY ITS ALL ART!!!

    THIS IS GOING TO TURN INTO SOMETHING ELSE AND SOME BULLSHIT SLOWLY AND SLOWLY AND CREEP INTO YOUR HIP-HOP ROOTS…

    I WOULD SAY “FUCK THE FREEMASONS” AND FUCK A-PIKE AND ALL THEM AND GET INTO SOME REVOLUTION TYPE SHIT AND STARTIN EXPLAIN THE MEANINGS BEHIND UR FAV CAR LOGOS AND SYMOBLS AND GAS STATION SYMBOLS AND SYMBOLS IN GEN. AND THEN GET INTO EGYPTIAN OBLISK’S AND SHIT AND ROCKERFELLER CENTER SHIT WITH THE GOLD STATUE AND SHIT ON MY LEMURIA ATLANTIS HYPERBEOA TYPE SHIT YOU DIG…BUT IM NOT
    ALL IMA SAY IS THIS…ITS GOING TO COME A TIME WHEN IM YOUR NOT GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS SHIT ANYMORE….SO….
    …2012

    …..GET MONEY!!! REAL FUCKIN MONEY!!!
    mONEY!MONEY!! MONEY!!! geT IT!! GET IT!!! GET IT!!!
    AND
    LEGALIZE HEMP!!!! AND……
    SMOKE WEED EVERYDAY!!!!!!

    FUCK THE ELITE….THEY AINT HUMAN ANYWAY!!!
    ….fuckin reptilan bastards
    “the weed let u know that evil lurks”-friday

  • http://IMWITHSAYSO F DOT

    nobody is gonna regulate the common man….its like prohibition… shit is gonna get broken…. people refuse to believe that hip-hop is more than africans beating drums…well they are crazy and they will not ever see the censorship of the realest MC’s ryming…

  • Mimi

    NOO HIP HOP NEEDS THOSE WORDS!!

  • The DJ Formerly Known as N-CREDIBLE

    you wild for that S. Fraze….remember that movie where the dude had some special glasses and when he put them on the world is seen for what it is…

  • Smokie

    WHY is everyone trippin? Basically, he said that they are going to bleep out cuss words on the RADIO. This is already being done.

    In other words, Russell is talking out his ass and making changes that are…already in effect.

  • http://donnyslaughter.com Sayso is Donny Slaughter

    They not just talkin’ radio, these muphuckaz wanna bleep yo cd’s too, I wonder if they gonna black out dicks an pussies in X rated movies too

  • irishwesty

    only on edited versions and i agree

  • Gphorce

    The people at XXL have decided not to publish my opinion about this matter and there was zero use of profanity in my statement. We apparently know where they stand on the issue of cleaning up what we hear and read. If blacks could just listen to rap like we watch horror movies and not take it literally then we wouldn’t need big brother telling us what we are allowed to listen to. Truth is that the parents are not doing their job to instill values and morals that would help young children understand that these guys are doing their job and don’t have their best interests in mind. It is just entertainment and yes it is an art form. But like any art form you have to know what you are looking at or reading to appreciate the true meaning of what the artist is trying to express. With out guidance education and understand the culture of Hip-Hop is lost and the meaning can be just as hurtful as it is informative. To make it easier to understand; Hip-Hop is the belief in something greater (Spirituality), Rap is what how you understand what you have read from your Bible or Koran (Religion). If you want you can build a nation of loving people with it or you can create Holy Wars with it. We as people need to be able to make that choice with out the heavy handed influence of the industry pushing the later on us and allow us to express ourselves in a positive manner just as they allow it to be used against us. Hip-Hop and Rap is not to blame for the state of our community but it is glorifying and not educating the rest of the world about the fact that our streets are rougher and way more violent than the streets of suburbia. It is not the fault of the “Gangsta” artist; it is the fault of the Board members of these giant record companies that are being completely irresponsible to their target market. But let’s face it, poor blacks are the only ones suffering while the rich and the White have figured out a way to kill us and make money while doing it. WE need to wake the phuck up!

  • EReal

    therealwayno Says:

    April 23rd, 2007 at 4:50 pm
    EReal u sound like u don’t buy much anyway
    ^^^^^^^^
    What? How can you possibly say that? You stalkin me?
    I support good music. Not bullshit. Thats why I’ve bought Devin, Redman, Buck, and Joell already this year. Plus mixtapes. I dont support bullshit music, censorsip, or the rappers that co-sign it.

    What do you buy?

    1 hunned.

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