Okay, this is getting ridiculous. If Sharpton wants to be a civil rights leader he should be fighting racism and sexism in society as a whole, not setting his sights on hip-hop. As I have said before, this only validates Imus' excuse. An incredibly unfortunate act. -AB
Never one to be outdone, Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, a "political, social, and activist-oriented organization," has assembled the "March for Decency," a protest this Thursday (May 3) in New York City aimed at forcing music labels to censor the use of the words "bitch," "ho," and "n*gger" in rap music -- a hot topic in the wake of Don Imus' controversial on-air slurs. The march, also commemorating what would have been the 74th birthday of James Brown, a renowned advocate for non-vulgar music, will kick off at 3 P.M. in front of the Sony Building on 55th and Madison, then lead through Midtown Manhattan, passing the office buildings of Warner Music Group and Universal as well.
"I think it is important that we make a strong appeal as consumers to demand standards that will not offend us or dehumanize us based on race, gender, or any other category," Sharpton said in a press conference. Joining Sharpton will be Brown's daughters as well as Brooklyn Councilwoman Darlene Mealy and Tamika Mallory, NAN's Decency Initiative Director. "We aren't marching against artists -- we are marching against record companies to ban these words completely," said Mallory. "We must reshape the positive culture in music, and redefine images of women in media. We will no longer tolerate misogyny and racism as a mainstream form of entertainment for our children."
Meanwhile, the protest and its universal initiative are up for debate across the web. Many hip-hop fans cite the first amendment and genuine street culture as protection and motivation for the freedoms of such art, while others agree with Sharpton, claiming vulgar and demeaning lyrics have no place in music.