Is Hip-Hop Culture Harming Our Youth?
Hip-hop culture is everywhere. The culture, which encompasses rapping, deejaying, break-dancing and graffiti-writing, has become so popular that it has entered mainstream fashion and modern language. It doesn't stop there. The culture permeates everything from TV commercials to toys to video games. Currently, there is even a hip-hop exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. You name it, and hip hop is there representing. However, hip hop's most potent form is its rap music--embraced by urban Blacks and suburban Whites alike. It is raw self-expression that sometimes features profane lyrics, misogyny and violence. The music, along with rap videos that often present a disturbing mix of rap, hip-hop dance styles, fashion and language, leave many people asking: “Is hip-hop culture harming our youth?". "The hip-hop culture is just like electricity," civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton told JET. "It can be used negatively or positively. The same electric current that lights up your house can also electrocute you. It is the misuse of hip-hop culture to attack our women and promote violence. We must encourage the proper use of hip-hop culture. We are all influenced by the hip-hop generation." Sharpton, who recently hosted a special summit on social responsibility in the hip-hop industry, labeled gangsta rappers "well-paid slaves." Advertisement "Don't let some record executive tell you that cursing out your mama is in style. Anytime you perpetuate a slave mentality that desecrates women and that desecrates our race in the name of a record.... I consider you a well-paid slave." Sharpton labeled the fashion of these rappers--loose-fitting pants and sneakers without shoelaces--prison clothes. Sharpton was joined at the summit by some of the industry's superstars, including Master P, Sean "Puffy" Combs, Chuck D and RZA. No Limit Records' CEO-rapper Master P apologetically admitted that some of his lyrics might be offensive to women....
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