The Hip-Hop Defense

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The Hip Hop Defense

Everyone has an opinion about the influence of hip--hop music on our nations youth. Many people, such as politicians and the ultra conservative, feel the influence is destructive and incites violent behavior. Some people, for instance the media, believe hip- hop glamorizes inappropriate behaviors and actions while promoting the demoralization of women in general, but more specifically black women. Few people are willing to speak out and defend hip-hop music as communicative form of art. In the article “In Defense of Hip Hop” Cathleen Rountree argues people, young and old alike, are hasty to blame hip-hop in justification of their atrocious tirades, actions, and behaviors without fully understanding what hip-hop is, and what it represents.

The “B word”, “ho”, and “trick” are just a few of the demoralizing and degrading slang words spoken in relation to women in some hip-hop music. Rountree uses national radio personality Don Imus’s April 4, 2007 racially insensitive verbal degradation against a female basketball team as an example of how hip-hop is a “scapegoat” to justify inappropriate and offensive comments and actions. Rountree makes note of the fact that Imus has a documented history of making insensitive and sometimes racial comments. If the history of Don Imus’s comments reflect a pattern of disrespect, degradation, and insensitivity how can hip-hop now be blamed for his April 2007 tirade.

In the immediate aftermath of the Imus incident long-standing opponents of hip-hop music resurfaced to once again place blame on the music and the culture instead of on the individuals. Although some critics and activists were courageous enough to lay blame solely on Don Imus, others such as Al Sharpton, came out in defense of Imus stating although Imus ‘s behavior and comments were wrong, he shouldn’t be held accountable when entertainers of the hip-hop industry are not. As far back as 1970 “the devil made me do it!” an expression...
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