In a bid to enforce corporate social responsibility, HSAN--headed by Russell Simmons and Benjamin Chavis--has called for radio to bleep out the n-word, the b-word, and the suddenly despicable h-word (as if those words aren't already being bleeped out on airwaves).
Simmons insists, however, that HSAN's recommendation is not about censorship. "Our discussions are about the corporate social responsibility of the industry," says Simmons, "to voluntarily show respect to African Americans and other people of color, African American women and to all women in lyrics and images."Unfortunately, therein lies our problem. How does bleeping out three words, while leaving in other rhymes that degrade women, for instance, show respect to people of color? Let's not forget that there are hundreds of uncensored variations of "ho" and other so-called harmful words. Russell and his corporate cohorts are sending the wrong message by playing it safe here. Label execs and artists make millions from toxic rap lyrics and videos, and the manufacturer will always stand by his products. That economic motivation resonates the dichotomy between hip-pop--promoted by a few artists--and what the rest of us truly embrace as hip-hop.
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