This is just a piece of a very, very long TRANSCRIPT of a Paula Zahn show on Hip Hop music. I'm not a Paula Zahn fan ... but somebody called me and told me to watch when it aired ... and I was actually very impressed! It was a good show that had as panelists folks like Russell Simmons, Michael Eric Dyson, Tim Wise, John McWhorter, Roland Martin, and others.
ZAHN: Now on to another "Out in the Open" panel, Michael Eric Dyson, humanities professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
We welcome you back.
Defense attorney Lauren Lake, and Roland Martin, host of "The Roland S. Martin Show" on WVON Radio in Chicago.
Now, you guys have got to admit, these images of these women are disgusting. Who can defend degradation of women like we have just seen in the video?
ROLAND MARTIN, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, "THE CHICAGO DEFENDER": Hugh Hefner can, the publishers of "Maxim," of "Stuff," of "FHM." And, so, they're the ones who defend it.
It is indefensible, because the images are being beamed across the world. And, so, an impression of black women -- of black women is being presented across the world.
But we have an issue with the degrading of women in this country. You go to a boxing match, you see a woman in a bikini walking around with a ring card. That's not hip-hop. That's boxing.
ZAHN: All right.
MARTIN: And, so, we see it in our society.
ZAHN: But isn't there a degree of offensiveness we're talking about?
We just saw in that video this man swiping a credit card on this woman's behind.
LAUREN LAKE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That is so ridiculous and so degrading.
LAKE: And, I think, at a certain point, we just have to keep it real. It's gone too far, in many ways.
And what I implore, and what I'm begging my brothers to do, and my white rappers, and my...
ZAHN: Hispanic rappers.
LAKE: ... Hispanic rappers, respect the women who have birthed you. OK?
We are your mothers. OK? Everybody -- all men love their mama, but they'll talk about a girl like a dog. That's got to change.
We are the women of this culture. For you to degrade us in that way, and for the women to accept that kind of treatment, I think is irresponsible. And quit playing naive. You know you're not going up in there to model. You know what you're modeling.
ZAHN: All right. But you talk about women accepting responsibility for this. How about the guys that are making these records? And we heard in one of the last segments that you're not going to make any money off these records that have a social conscience message.
DYSON: Of course. And that's a great point.
ZAHN: It's off this naked stuff.
DYSON: Exactly right. They're both making a great point.
That is, first of all, misogyny and sexism are big business in American culture. The degrading of women is from time and memorial. So the hip-hop visualizes it and vocalizes it in a very violent fashion.
I have no defense for that -- misogyny, which is the hatred of women; sexism, sentiments expressed against women because they're women; and patriarchy, which assumes that the man's life supplies the norms to everybody else. So there's no question about that.
But here's the problem -- that if you go to an average church, that many of these people are standing up to talk about the degradation of women, they're hearing a gospel that says women should be subordinate to men. Now, they're not as violent, as vicious, or as vocal as hip-hop, but they're saying the same thing. And at the end of the day, you are not equal to this man right here.
What hip-hop does is put that on steroids. That message is made lethal, it's made powerful.
MARTIN: And it's utterly reprehensible.
ZAHN: Can you hold that thought right there?
We've got to continue our conversation on the other side. Please stay with us.
We also want to hear from you, our viewers. Go to cnn.com/paula. Tell us whether you think hip-hop is art or poison. We'll have the results at the end of the hour.
Coming up in the next half hour of our "Out in the Open" special, word that some rappers throw at gays.
ZAHN: In this hour-long special we're asking of hip-hop is art or poison. We're looking at the music, the culture, the money, and the controversy these create.
Before the break, our "Out in the Open" panel was discussing hip- hop's treatment of women, or mistreatment, as this panel decided.
With me once again, Michael Eric Dyson, Lauren Lake, and Roland Martin.
So we posed the question, just how disrespectful to women is it? Let's look at another example now from this video by -- you're going to be so proud of me -- 50 Cent.
Did I get that right?
MARTIN: You got it. You got it.
LAKE: Pretty good, Paula.
ZAHN: Do those lyrics make you sick?
LAKE: You know what? To be honest with you, you don't know how many times I'm right in my car and I'm singing that song. I have to call my nephew who's 13 and go, "What exactly are the lyrics?" Because you're so driven by the beat of it, and I think that's part of the problem.
As African-Americans, we are a rhythm-driven culture. You hear the beat, you start partying. The next thing you know, I'm like, I'm singing something I should not be singing.
That's my issue. If you are so creative as a rapper, if you really have that genius mind -- because there's some musical geniuses out there -- let's get a better message. Let's start talking about something that can empower us instead of constantly dividing us and degrading us.
MARTIN: Paula -- Paula...
DYSON: Do you think white record executives really want to hear about the deconstruction of white supremacy? They're not going to put that out.
LAKE: Oh, you're right about that. DYSON: They're going to talk about pimping. They're going to talk about ho'ing (ph). They're going to talk about playing around in the playground of pleasure and excess, but they're not going to talk about a vision or allow conscious rappers like Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def.
Mos Def said you can laugh and criticize Michael Jackson if you want to. Woody Allen molested and married his stepdaughter. The same press kicking dirt on Michael's name shows Woody and Soon-Yi and the playoff games.
So what I'm saying to you, those lyrics exist, but they will never get the radio play that they deserve. And white record executives and black ones...
ZAHN: Wait. Wait. He made a big deal about being white record executives. Aren't black record executives equally culpable?
MARTIN: No. No. Because, first of all...
ZAHN: There aren't many of them, I understand that. But...
MARTIN: No, because if you actually had a panel of record executives who make the decisions, the color of this panel would be flipped. You probably may have one black at the table and three whites.
Now, here's the problem. We have seen 50 cent, we have seen Jermaine Dupri, we have seen Russell Simmons, but let's talk about the shareholders who have shares in these publicly traded companies who are making money in their 401(k)s off of this music.
See, these are the same people who want to criticize it, but they're getting paid. The record executives are sitting there making $40 and $50 million a year off the music.
Now, I can hold the rapper accountable and say, here's the fundamental issue. I'm going to hold 50 accountable, but I'm going to hold that CEO accountable. But we don't do that.
Were they called here? Were they forced to have to answer the questions? Russell does not own Universal. He does not own these major companies.
ZAHN: But hang on a minute. Are you telling me this is a concerted effort in a capitalist society to -- to purposely degrade women?
MARTIN: No, no, no. This is about money.
LAKE: No, this is beyond -- no, it's all about money.
ZAHN: They don't care about the message?
MARTIN: If the rapper is trying to get paid, don't you think the CEO is trying to get paid or the shareholder wants to get paid?
DYSON: What somebody said in one of your bump pieces there is that, look, it reinforces prevailing stereotypes about black women. Black women are already seen as the dominant culture.
Hip-hop didn't even the degradation of black women. Black women were worth nothing less than shadow (ph) in this country. So I'm saying to you that the issue of slavery and Jim Crow and the entire system of white supremacy is built upon the denial of opportunity to black people, and the way in which black women's excessive sexuality is being portrayed.
I'm saying to you, what do you think? Of course record executives reinforce that consciously and unconsciously.
MARTIN: And I say you shut them down.
LAKE: We can change this by empowering ourselves to the same music. We have independent movements. We have sold crap out of our trunks. We can sell good music out of our trunks.
We can change.
MARTIN: But also shut them down.
DYSON: But it has to be great music.
MARTIN: Shut them down.
DYSON: The reason why you listen to 50 Cent, because the music is banging. Conscious rappers need to get some great beats so we can hear it and listen to it.
ZAHN: There you go.
All right. Michael Eric Dyson, Lauren Lake, Roland Martin, thanks.
We would like to know what all of you out there think. Go to cnn.com/paula. Vote on the question: Is hip-hop art or poison?
We'll have results a little bit later on. So vote away.
Some big acts in hip-hop have one thing in common, a word that trashes gay people. "Out in the Open," is the message being received really the message that's intended?
We'll be right back.