David Banner Defends Hip-Hop in Congressional Hearing

david-banner1.jpgEarlier today (September 25), the United States House Energy and Commerce subcommittee in Washington, D.C. held a hearing to discuss sexist, violent and degrading lyrics in hip-hop music. Entitled “From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degrading Images,” the hearing was spearheaded by Democratic Representative Bobby Rush of Illinois, the chairman of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. Rush organized the meeting to hear from record executives, artists and companies that release hip-hop music. “I want to talk to executives at these conglomerates who’ve never taken a public position on what they produce,” Rush previously stated. “I want to look at not only the problem caused by misogynistic content in some hip-hop music but also some of the pain that emanates from this degradation. I respect the First Amendment, but rights without responsibility is anarchy, and that’s much of what we have now. It’s time for responsible people to stand up and accept responsibility.”

According to the Associated Press, Rush made good on his promise as the hearing went on as planned earlier today (September 25) and featured hip-hop artists David Banner as well as various industry executives. “This hearing is not anti-hip-hop,” Rush told the committee today. “I am a fan of hip-hop. [But there is a need] to address the issue of violence, hate and degradation that has reduced too many of our youngsters to automatons.” David Banner was one of the few artists who attended the event, as the Mississippi native defended the hip-hop culture. “If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities,” Banner said in a prepared statement. “Drugs, violence and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed.”

In addition, music videos were shown at the hearing with scantily clad woman, as music executives testified on the use of the words “bitch,” “hoe” and “nigga” in hip-hop. “We have allowed greedy corporate executives — especially those in the entertainment industry — to lead many of our young people to believe that it is OK to entertain themselves by destroying the culture of our people,” said E. Faye William, chair of the National Congress of Black Woman.” Overall, according to the Associated Press, the hearing led to many different opinions over who was to blame for violent and degrading lyrics, but no one proposed censorship as a way to solve the problem.

  • Worley

    David Banner respect due. I have also said that if rappers suddenly fell off the face of the earth the sh*t they talk about would be right there. But, you know, the black middle class wants to tell Mr. Charlie that everything is great. But the hood will continue to tell “the nightside of democracy.”

    These amateur black feminists might want to also begin dealing with the nightside of black femininity. There are some black women that are not interested in autonomy and independence. Flat-backing (hoeing) is how they get theirs.

  • Doobie

    Word Worley. That’s a fundamental problem that I have with feminism: they spend an inordinate amount of time talking about how “men” should treat “women” as if there were a consensus about that shit amongst women in the first place. You can’t ask men to treat women a certain way until you first get women’s thinking and values in line with those expectations. My 15 year old cousin asked me a while ago, why it is that all the attractive girls at his school are attracted to hoodlums, drug dealers and dudes running the streets. That right there, is the reason why this whole hearing and this whole agenda is bullshit. Why aren’t these feminists addressing that?

    I do think that David Banner’s “prepared” statement is a copout though. “Drugs, violence and the criminal element were around long before hip-hop existed”—yea and, they co-existed with hip-hop during the height of the crack epidemic when drugs and violence were at their worst, when hardly anybody rapped about, and hip-hop flourished just fine. You had a broad range of voices and perspectives being commercially successful in rap music at that time. Banner was much more honest and on point when he said in an article that I read a couple of months ago that “people just love sex and violence”. That’s really what this is all about. Most rappers don’t even rap about those things in a realistic way, they aren’t intrinsically tied to hip-hop (it’s simply commercial forces that have driven many people to feel that way), and one does not need to represent any of that to be hip-hop.

  • rekboogie

    As far as hip hop is concerned..We as a community should take full responsibility for the self destructive formular being used in our music…Black folks for ages has set the standard in music but when these “corperate entities” Hand out these big paydays to the few black executives to influence the artists they employ to keep this self destructive garbage on radio and T.V is like That same ol, House nigga/slave nigga mentality/….and yes I said nigga( which by the way is not a powerful word anymore..it’s now use by the black youth to identify with our struggles other than race…the root of the word is niggard..which means to be stingy selfish and miserly..now tell me which race fits this discription).
    Now as for congress or any other government body trying to disect what hip hop is or was or what it will be..need to stop the bullshit..they know exactly who is promoting this destructive behavior prevelent in the music..universal, sony and all other major companies that produce and distribute hip hop/rap music. They should know they get political kick backs from them…nuff said!!!

  • Fire aka LOL Silencer

    I think it’s ridiculous that this congressional hearing even happened. There are MANY more important issues than hip hop lyrics to worry about, such as poverty, job creation, immigration reform, drug dealing and trafficking, etc, etc, etc. I don’t condone the subjects that SOME choose to talk about, I don’t think it warrants our Congress and wannabe activists sticking their nose in their lyrics’ business.

    Whatever happened to looking at things with a critical eye, using personal responsibility, and being accountable for your actions? I guess it’s too hard to try and solve real issues, so people just decide to blame music or other forms of entertainment. It’s BS.

    It’s all about parents and community influence. My parents and friends influenced me more than CDs or DVDs or a TV show. I’m sick of people coming after hip hop while ignoring real issues that could actually affect the citizens of this country.

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  • the truth

    David Banner is brave. Censoring hip-hop is the dumbest thing ever. As stated, that will not solve the problem. I guess everyone forgot about the white “real” mobsters that were around in the 30′s. like Al Capone. They did everything that the gangsters do today. And RAP/HIP-HOP was deff. not around then.

  • N.O .4 life

    david banner has yet to say something that i dont agree with since this attack hip hop fad started

  • SWAG

    he makes good points but he cant rap for sht…that new joint he got out is GARBAGE…and is album is gonna sell double wood…word of advice quit rappin & get into politics.

  • http://www.yahoo.com robin hood

    ya know david banner had a point when he said what he said. but fire your full of shit!!! drug dealing will always be around so will poverty and hoe sale. and as it always has been rap and hiphop muzic will always be around.

  • Menace Man 305

    its a-fucking-mazing how hip hop is scrutinized for everything fucked up in the world as if movies don’t have wider audiencs. on top of that the words bitch, hoe and lately nigga is pretty much pop culture!!! go watch a one tree hill, o.c., ect and see how many times they refer to a girl as a bitch on regular television, its to the point where the world is even promoting homosexuality on tv, wtf is goin on in america and how do hip hop take the blame. there is a choice, if u don’t like what u hear, change the fuckin station; if u don’t like what’s on tv, change the fuckin channel.

    dade county bitch!!!

  • dsignkid

    Why doesn’t anybody bring up certain points that seem obvious to me. Such points; All media from movies to tv shows are loaded with images and language that “degrade” women. Sex sells. This has always been in entertainment. As for the other side of degrading women and not just the sexual, almost all societies are patriarchs and have ideas and traditions of women being below men(not my ideas personnally). This doesn’t make it right but my point is that it didn’t start with hip hop and is definately not only being practiced by hip hop today. Movies, tv shows, rock n roll, ADVERTISEMENTS and other forms of ent. as well as the majority of our society still do the same things. It’s okay for Taco Bell to sell their new product by having Carmen Electra flaunt her assets and acting like a slut but it’s not okay for a rapper to have a woman dancing in his video? The same goes for the violence. We can watch movies everyday that have nothing but violent killing sprees and sexual encounters and nobody is bitching about the actors that are in these movies. This arguement B.S. People need to be responsible for what they put out. But remember the executives don’t have to sign the artist. Who if anybody is really at fault? Everybody needs to be responsible not just rappers aka black people (that’s what I think all these idiots attacking hip hop really see, obviously not including Al Sharpton,etc). And I’m white.

  • dsign kid

    To clarify^^^

    I know people are strongly influenced by people they look up to and music. Artists should be concerned with what they are teaching the youth. Though, parents are the main factor in a childs upbringing not all children have good parents or parents that can be there all the time for them. This is a harsh fact. But it is up to the artist to create his art how he/she sees fit. There are a lot more involved in the industry and so forth that are responsible for when, where, and by who these images and music are embraced.

  • dsign kid

    My first post either didn’t get through or is taking longer to post b/c of length and now my posts are out of order. Oh well, like anyone gives a shit.

  • http://XXLmag.com Real talk

    I am going to need our govt to focus on the actual violence and sexism that rappers are only TALKING about. But, I forgot thats too much like right. OUR GOVT SUCKS ASS!!!!

  • Doobie

    I just thought about something: people don’t really have a problem with hip-hop—hip-hop is just a medium, a vehicle—people have a problem with gangsta rap. The two are not synonymous, and I’m ready to say f*ck it—throw gangsta rap under the bus. Or at least let it take a seat in the back of the bus and let other voices be on the frontline for a while. I’ve heard quite a few people say that so-called conscious rap is boring. To me, gangsta rap has gotten extremely boring. It was cool in the early 90’s, but gangsta rappers have gotten sorrier and lazier because they know that all they have to do is follow the gangsta formula and they’re guaranteed to sell product. Now I don’t support these congressional hearings or this recent push to blame all of societies ills on rap music, but I have some problems with a lot of these coonish buffoons producing this type of product myself; namely the way that they come off like self-absorbed narcissistic sociopaths who just love to celebrate murder and selling dope. Now I understand doing what you have to in desperate times—-I’ve known quite a few hustlers myself—-but most of these crack rappers sound like they’ve watched way too many movies and scripted their persona accordingly. Oh and another thing, just because some miscreant comes along and decides to use rap music to get himself money and p*ssy doesn’t mean that I have to support him or accept him as some sort of voice of the culture. Too many garbage rappers have been getting a pass for far too long. The article mentions the use of the words “nigga”, “bitch” and “hoe”. I don’t think it’s the use of these words that’s the problem, it’s the pathology that often accompanies it and the way the messages are sent. All of these words have their place (at times), but they’ve largely just become a part of the mindless, monotonous formula that’s had a grip on mainstream rap for well-over a decade now. I’m not for censorship, but I am for balance and creativity. That combined with a proclivity towards crafty and intelligent music, has me anxiously awaiting the day when rap’s public face actually reflects the diversity that exists within the culture.

  • robin hood

    first of all fuck doobie because gangsta rap was around before all dat bull shit music yall call rap. wuts bad is all these muhtha fuckas want gangsta rappers to stop rappin bout what they rap bout but what yall snitches, feds,goverments,oprah wannabes,and bill cosby wannabes,dont see is that most of these mugs dat listen to this muzic live that life.dont no damn body like justin timberlake and all dem wanna be rappers!

    rap an hiphop is back and its here to stay muhfucka!!!

  • http://XXLmag.com Real Talk

    Great Points Doobie!

  • HIP HOP

    hiphop 4 life

  • Lyricool

    Is the culture really being destroyed by hip-hip period? If David banner really cared about out that community that bought into him so much, would he really creat lyrics that are derogitory? How can 90% of sexually transmitted disseases from teens be from african americans. Explain why 45+% of all murders are from african amercians and 1/4 of all african american men are in Jail right now. It comes from this disgusting lyrics that we hear from some artist. But hey, im all about hip-hop. Its just that it’s dead right now. When HipHop goes aginst HipHop, then you know there a problem with HipHop. We give these artist this money and they shouve it in our faces. If you real. Give back to your communtity, and not just with a monetary portion of giving

  • Naughty NYS

    Hip-Hop and Rap is doing exactly what it supposed to do…SELL. Guns, killing, drug selling, sex, cursing, gangstas, ghetto’s, hoes have all been around before Hip-Hop was even an idea. It’s hard to understand why people keep coming at Hip- Hop for everything. For instance Rock-n-Roll astists have been snorting coke and talkin about getting high and even having these skinny white women all in their videos and shows maybe not as much as Hip-Hop but the fact is still that it does too. Movies sell drugs, sex and violence way more than Hip-Hop. Fuckin Hugh Hefner been had out playboy mag before I was even born and Im an 80′s baby! Shit who dont like to see some tities and ass, unless you a gay dude? Im from Dade County and all I grew up around is drug dealers, killers, gangstaz, being broke, people dyin, fighting, women walkin around wearing tight ass booty shorts or nothing at all sometimes, which in turn were, hoes who dished out ass for cheese or crack. Its everywhere son! My cousin done got murked on some dumb shit by some pussy niggaz in Jerz. Long story short yall this shit is going on everywhere around the world whether these rappers is talkin about it or not. They tryin to point the blame at somebody and who better than the NIGGAZ IN THE LIMELIGHT! Parents monitor your children, censor what the watch do whatever you gotta do to keep your children from this music but the world gonna keep on spinning and the things that happened in it are going to continue to happen untill GOD is ready to change things. REMEMBER THAT… DEUCES