Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said recently the recording and broadcast industries should ban three racial and sexist epithets from all clean versions of rap songs and the airwaves.
The recommendations came two weeks after radio personality Don Imus was fired by CBS Radio and NBC for using derogatory epithets toward the players on the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.
Simmons said the “b-word,” “ho” and “n-word” should be considered “extreme curse words.”
“We recommend (they’re) always out,” Simmons said in an interview. “This is a first step. It’s a clear message and a consistency that we want the industry to accept for more corporate social responsibility.”
“Whether it’s our sexism, our racism, our homophobia or our violence, the hip-hop community sometimes can be a good mirror of our dirt and sometimes the dirt that we try to cover up,” Simmons said in a previous interview. “Pointing at the conditions that create these words from rappers … should be our No. 1 concern.”
Hip-hop artist Common said criticism of rappers and their music should come with love. “When I talk to cats on the street, they don’t wanna be in that situation,” said Common. “We want to heal. And we are apologizing for … the disrespect that does come from the mouths of men to women whatever color.”
But writer Joan Morgan, author of “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down,” was critical of the announcement. The removal of the three epithets assumes “all of the violence, misogyny and sexism in hip-hop are only expressed in” those words, she said. It was an “anemic, insufficient response” that failed to address homophobia and other issues in certain strains of hip-hop culture and rap music.
The announcement also cautioned against violating free-speech rights, but said that freedom of expression comes with responsibility.
— The Associated Press