Originally posted by MBM:
So Vox, IYO, does the music influence life or does life influence the music? Isn't any form of art merely a mirror on life? It sounds like some of us are blaming rappers for creating the problems that appear in their music. This is a completely different issue than the Simmons/NAACP one, but is blaming artists really fair? Is Russell Simmons (or Suge Knight for that matter) responsible for creating the societal conditions which spawned the aspects of rap that you talk about? I know you wouldn't prefer white folks to make money off of our music? And who is to say which music is appropriate for our uplift and which isn't?
You know, MBM, I understand the argument you are trying to compel here ... and it would be a good one ... but let's consider some facts.
First of all, hip hop IS a negative influence on our young. It doesn't matter if music is mirroring life or whatever (and, in not all cases are those rappers even living the life they are rapping about!) because it's not really the part of life that needs to be glamourized!! I mean, education is life, making goals, building dreams, having/loving a family, getting polically involved, building up the community ... that's part of life too! But that's not what sells records. Thug life, violence and sex sells records. And makes money. So, because its damaging aspects are SOOO destructive, it has the effect of totally negating whatever positive influence there may be about it! Or at least it should.
Secondly, although Russell Simmons has immersed himself so deeply into this culture as to actually be both rich and famous for it, how much has he really done to push hip hop away from it's negativity towards some of these positive qualities? He mobilizes the top names, gets them together for some money-making event, and makes sure the media has the place, date and time to give himself more exposure! He's found a goose that lays golden eggs ... and he's milking it for all he can get! Period.
Thirdly, in another post you said:
Hip Hop, for all its warts, matters because it is of us.
That's true, but just because it is of us, doesn't make it good, or right, even in some cases acceptable. Clarence Thomas is a good example. He,too, is of us. And he, too, is a destructive influence. (And he puts just as bad a taste in my mouth as hip hop does! ) But, would you also embrace the good in him? He's a black man with a degree and a Supreme Court Justice ... is that more redeeming than the fact that he crushes Affirmative Action every chance he gets?
So all-in-all, despite the fact that Black youth are making the millions (though not as many as the white record labels that are producing them), and they are become big and famous, and getting an outlet in which to "express themselves" on a global basis, the fact that they are taking youngsters with them down a path of sex, violence, drugs and moral degredation to me, makes the present hip hop industry unacceptable. And anybody as deep off into it as Russell Simmons is primarily, if not totally, for the money and notoriety that it generates, should not be put in charge of an organization such as the NAACP, unless they are trying to do annihilate any semblance of intregrity they may be trying to hold on to.