about 15 years ago, in search of entertainment, i came across a website that streamed radio stations from all over the world. it was fun listening to stations in different languages. when searching for one to listen to, i came across a polish rap music radio station. polish rap music? i was curious and clicked my mouse.
to my surprise, there was no “polish” rap music. the station played american rap music. there was a big difference, however. all of the music as uncensored. the “n” word was flying around my office like crazy along with other profanity. growing up, i had never listened to the music. this was my introduction to the likes of nwa and eazy-e. i came to the realization that the “n” word and other profanities were being broadcast 24-7 in other countries.
a consequence of rap’s popularity meant that the “n” word was an export delivered to the entire world. other countries heard the words uncensored and without any context that the words were offensive. the word was now perhaps universal thanks to rap music.
in the beginning of rap, groundbreaking stars took advantage of the early “shock value” in their verbiage. it had commercial value. while the explicit music was banned on radio stations in the united states, bands could make revenue by record sales. for youthful consumer, the parent advisory notices on the records perhaps provided additional incentive to obtain the forbidden fruit. rap music became the counter-culture as much as was rock n’ roll in the past.
at the onset, some black community leaders decried the music. we know their efforts failed by the fact rap music is still pervasive. their loss, however, was not appreciated when new york mayor eric adams who recently took decry rap and drill music as a reason for recent violence. he is fighting a losing battle. he is singing the same old song that didn’t win. it won’t.
commentator, mr. juan williams wrote an excellent piece concerning rap music with history and context.
as students of history, we learn the first lesson from the struggle against rap music. “censorship” does not work.
thus, given that censorship does not work, the question is “what can be done to address the problem with the music?”
the answer is to “compete.” those concerned with promoting morals and values in society must “compete” in the marketplace of ideas and in the arts.
thus, the hard work of promoting both school and private music programs, promoting musical instrument lending and buying programs, and promoting access to private lessons, will allow children to develop musical talent that will eventually reach the airwaves and provide positivity. not long ago, there was a movie and television program based upon the new york city’s art program. both the movie and show were called “fame.” it inspired much talent. this type of talent can attract the eyes and ears of the youth away from listening to rap music.
likewise, governments, educational institutions, private industry, and religious institutions can provide these artists platforms to promote.
competing in the marketplace of ideas and art is a challenge. the city of los angeles is an example. the city of los angeles is blessed with a benfactor, mr. herb alpert. his foundation that has promoted the arts in many ways in the community.
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