Rap, hip-hop, or urban music is loaded with sadomasochistic and misogynist lyrics. It looks like some black women are starting to take offense. Stanley Crouch, of the NY Daily News reports:
The most successful black women's magazine, Essence, is in the middle of a campaign that could have monumental cultural significance.
Essence is taking on the slut images and verbal abuse projected onto black women by hip hop lyrics and videos.
The magazine is the first powerful presence in the black media with the courage to examine the cultural pollution that is too often excused because of the wealth it brings to knuckleheads and amoral executives.
This anything-goes-if-sells attitude comes at a cost. The elevation of pimps and pimp attitudes creates a sadomasochistic relationship with female fans. They support a popular idiom that consistently showers them with contempt. We are in a crisis, and Essence knows it.
When asked how the magazine decided to take a stand, the editor, Diane Weathers said, "We started looking at the media war on young girls, the hypersexualization that keeps pushing them in sexual directions at younger and younger ages."
From an Essence Magazine Poll:
What I hear about women in most songs played on urban radio
- doesn't affect me 4.1%
- makes me cringe 73.1%
- I don't care. I just like the beats. 1.5%
- sometimes bothers me; sometimes doesn't 21.3%
* Number of respondents: 836
At last, women lash out at hip hop's abuses [NY Daily News, Stanley Crouch, Jan. 3, 2005]
Take Back the Music Campaign [Essence Magazine]
Update Jan. 6, 2005: Time, Inc announced on Tues. Jan. 4, 2005 that it is acquiring Essence Magazine. Time, Inc. also owns Warner Music Group which owns the music labels Atlantic / Elektra. It will be interesting to see how the anti-hip-hop campaign progresses.
Time acquires Essence parent [newyorkbusiness.com, Jan. 4, 2005]