Russell Simmons Calls For Ban on Popular Rap Words
Rap impresario Russell Simmons has called for a ban on the words “bitch,” “ho” and “nigger” in over-the-air rap.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Monday that the recording and broadcast industries should consistently ban three racial and sexist epithets from all so-called clean versions of rap songs and the airwaves. Currently such epithets are banned from most clean versions, but record companies sometimes “arbitrarily” decide which offensive words to exclude and there’s no uniform standard for deleting such words, Simmons said.
The recommendations drew mixed reaction and come two weeks after some began carping anew about rap lyrics after radio personality Don Imus was fired by CBS Radio and NBC for referring to the players on the Rutgers university women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.”
Expressing concern about the “growing public outrage” over the use of such words in rap lyrics, Simmons said the words “bitch,” “ho” and “nigger” should be considered “extreme curse words.” “We recommend (they’re) always out,” Simmons, the pioneering entrepreneur who made millions of dollars as he helped shape hip-hop culture, said in an interview Monday. “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.”
I’m not sure how rap could survive without the use of three quarters of its vocabulary.
Otherwise, however, I’m torn on Simmons’ proposal. I’m no fan of speech bans and all those words have their place in legitimate social commentary and the entertainment industry. And, frankly, if you’re letting your kids listen to hip-hop, I’m not sure their hearing the word “ho” is among your chief problems.
Still, until quite recently, that kind of language was simply not heard on the public airwaves until well after 10 pm. I’m hard pressed to argue that the culture has been improved by the change.