In the Media and In Music Censorship is not always protected by the first amendment. Obscenity is just one of the action not protected by the first amendment.
There are limitations on the right of free speech. The word censorship means prior restraint of First Amendment rights by government. (Enforcement) Some say that there are some things that people should not know about situations that are going on in the world. Is this always fair to the people whose lives may depend on these situations? Since actions like perjury, contempt of court, child pornography and false advertising are punishable by law shouldnt the government bequeth the knowledge of consperacies to the people. Censorship should only be regulated in severe cases of violence on the news. Although censorship should be less regulated in the media it should be highly regulated in the world of Gansta Rap music. The only reason for this is because of the obscene and violent lyrics on them.
Young children who do listen to this type of music does cause an effect on them. Some of the lyrics in this type of music are unbelievable. “Mr. Officer, I want to see you layin’ in a coffin, sir,” from The Chronic and “F— the police,” from N.W.A.
, are few lyrics from the music genre “gangsta rap.” This kind of music is being sold to young children without any thought of concern. When many children listen to this kind of music they think that was being said in the songs is not wrong or against the law. The lyrics in many songs contain violent and explicit lyrics that usually talk about killing someone along with sounds of gunshots in the background. It is also music that refers to women as “bitches,” “whores” and sex-dispensing “hos”(Saunders B29). “Gangsta rap ” has been criticized and debated over for its graphic sexual content, violent imagery and misogyny. If you don’t give a f— about a bitch/ Then you’re rolling with the row”, are lyrics from Doggystyle. If all people were to think like this what respect would women have.
Some say, “if we don’t have respect for our women, why should anyone else?” (Raspberry A21). Do these rappers think that they own women and can treat them any way they want to? If this is the way some people think, that they own women and can disrespect them then what footsteps are the children going to follow in. Young children and adults, 14, 15 and 16 years of age, which listen and memorize these rap songs, think that it is acceptable behavior.
“Gangsta rap” is hardly the only source of violence, but it is a potent one. Not only is the music violent but the rappers lifestyle is also. Many rappers have rap sheets and young people see that and say, “hey, their rich and money talks.” Today most young people think that if a person is rich and famous they can get away with anything.
The Chronic, an album by Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg, has many explicit lyrics and unnecessary foulmouthing. In one song they say, “that if you f— with Dre you f— with death row…”, more or less saying that if anyone messes with them they will have to worry about everyone that is with Death Row Records.
In the same song they tell a woman, referring to her as a bitch, to yell-187 (police code for someone that has been killed). In another song they ask anther black man why he has been talking crap about them, he says it was not he. Then they put a gun in his mouth asking him, “what’s wrong can’t talk with a gun in your mouth?.
..Do you know Lucifer?”, he replies,”no”,and they tell him, “well you’re about to meet him”(Rap).
All of the songs on this album contain foulmouth language, violent and sexually explicit lyrics, drugs and misogyny. Is this the kind of music that young children should be able to listen to? Rappers say that their music depicts the harsh reality of life in the hood. To these rappers, people dying young and going to jail is an everyday thing (Marriott 75). Tupak says that violence is all we know and telling it like it is is a way of getting the people to listen to what is really going on. Ice-T’s controversial album Body Count, produced by Warner Bros.
Records, had provoked a sharp debate in 1992 when the album first came out. The song “Cop Killer,” with obscene and violent lyrics, forced Time Warner to stop selling the album with the song on it. The lyrics on the song said it was dedicated to the L.A.P.D. It also talked about “dusting some cops off,” with sounds of gun fire he then asks the listener to sing along for their freedom-“cop killer” (Ice Body).
“Cop Killer” is not the on song on the album that glorifies violence. Even though the song was cut from the album the other songs on it were just as bad. Is this reality and what is really going on in the world today? In other songs the lyrics talk about being promiscuous (giving very explicit sex lyrics) and yet the album was still being sold to young children. Foulmouthed trash like this has been debated on whether or not it should be censored. Many think it should and are trying to do something about. Delores Tucker denounced companies that “pimped porno rap” to children. She asks, “What would Martin Luther King say about these rappers that demean women and glorify thugs, drug dealers and rapists?”, and “What kind of role models are those for young children living in the ghetto?” (Philips A18).
U.S. Representative Cardiss Collins, chairwomen of the congressional panel, complained that little was being done by the industry executive to cut out vulgar and violent lyrics.
She said that “a sticker is not enough” (Congesswomen 7). Some censorship has been incorporated in the radio industry. Inner City Broadcasting has put a stop to playing hard-core rap and other misogynous and violent rap. It hopes to be a model for other radio stations to follow (Cleaning 22). Most radio stations now do not allow that kind of music on the air. Even though the radio has stopped playing hard-core rap, record companies are still producing this kind of music.
Time Warner has pledged to do something about obscene and rude lyrics in rap music. The new chairman of Warner Music Group , Michael J. Fuchs, was asked to talk with critics of rap lyrics and to work with other record companies to come up with some regulations for warning labels (Landler D2). Warning labels have been placed on albums with provocative lyrics, but these warnings do little to prevent the lyrics from reaching children. The chairman and chief executive claim that “music is not the cause of society’s ills.
” That may be true but do they have an influence on the people that listen to the music. Many say yes and many say no. An experiment done by James D. Johnson shows that violent rap tends to perpetuate the acceptance of the use of violence and an anti-education mind-set. He thinks that this kind of music should have some regulation.
He refers to rap music being like nicotine- it is addictive; it is mood altering and it is available with some strains (Raspberry, “Does” A27). A person has to be 18 years old to buy cigarettes, rent X-rated movies, or get into a strip bar/nightclub and has to be 21 years old to drink or buy alcohol. There are age limits on these things that can endanger young people and there should also be an age limit on buying albums with explicit lyrics on them. Even though there is a warning label on the albums young children can still buy them because there is no law to prohibit sale. There are a lot of people who agree something should be done about the explicit lyrics on albums. Stanley Crouch, a music critic and writer, says that rappers are “a bunch of opportunists who are appealing to an appetite that America has for vulgarity, violence and anarchy inside Afro America” (Sims 3).
Kevin Powell, a writer for Vibe magazine, believes that rap music is a legitimate art form, but thinks that the genre has gone too far and the music industry is to blame for not exercising some degree of control (Sims 3). He also thinks that it has made black children think that being hard is the definition for being black in the 1990’s. There are many people who feel this way, but many rappers and defenders of rap disagree. Most rappers do not think that their music causes violence and that they have no influence on their listeners. Before Easy-E died his lawyer read a letter from the rapper that said, “anyone could get AIDS, that it does not discriminate” (Marriot 74). After the letter was read the Minority AIDS Project in South-Central Los Angeles reported an 80 percent increase in requests for AIDS testing. This was more of an increase than when Magic Johnson made his announcement (Marriot 74).
His influence was seen in warning people about the AIDS virus just as Magic did when he found out he had HIV. Joseph Simmons, known as Run of Run D.M.C., says that he has seen a rise in disrespect to women lately. But he thinks that it has more to do with the parents rather than the rappers. M.C.
Lyte, a pioneer among female rappers agrees that parents need to take more responsibility for how their children act and behave. She also thinks that rap should not be the blame for what young people are doing today because movies also show violence, rapes, and people being killed (Marroitt, “Hard-core” A1+). Russell Simmons, CEO of Def Jam Recordings, says that each type of music that comes later seems more violent than before. There was a time when everyone thought that rock and roll was the “devils’ music”. He says that many of these songs are like horror films and cannot be taken literally (Proffitt M2). He also points out the good views of rap–that it is so diverse and there are a lot of positive messages in the songs (Profitt M3). Other rap experts point out the genre turning points.
In the 1990’s the messages about black empowerment that started national slogans and the wearing of African pride medallions were replaced by messages of drug selling and survival in inner-city neighborhoods. The move of raps’ homeland, New York, to the West Coast caused a dramatic change to the sound. People tend to miss the true skill rather that all the violence and how many people that get killed. Rap’s image is being tainted by all the scandals of the top rappers shakled in the courtrooms.
The inspiration and energy from rap reflects what goes on in the streets and in black life in America (Williams B1+). Maxine Waters also agrees that “gansta rap” is a new art form to describe the pains, fear and frustrations that young people express to adults. She also thinks that just because some people do not like the way the rappers use lyrics should not be a cause for censorship (Congresswomen, Jet 7). A professor of black studies thinks that many rappers have distorted what black life really is and that white record companies are eager to sell black stereotypes. Rappers have distorted and divided black life and tried to incorporate it into street life. Now people are doing what they hear and they want to shoot people and be rich (Marroitt, “Hard-core” A1+). If this is true should not there be a warning label-prohibiting sale to minors? Rap music that pimps pornography and violence to young children and that has messages of violence should have some kind of censorship.
Defenders of rap say that censorship is taking their right to free speech stated in The First Amendment. The First Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”(McNally 29). Censoring music would be taking the right of free speech away. Most of the lyrics are protected by The First Amendment and cannot be censored on the albums or records. Censorship has been made in the radio industry so that the songs with explicit lyrics cannot be heard. Even though these rappers say that they are reflecting what really happen on the streets rappers before them do not have these explicit lyrics in their messages. Rap has changed for the worse taking the art form and transforming it into trash with some positive messages that are hard to grasp from the music. If the whole album is about death, violence, misogyny and drugs except for one or two songs, what kind of message is going to be placed first.
If what can be heard on a porno film can be heard on a rap album, then the album should have an age limit for sale. Since there is no age limit on T.V., today many inventions are being made to prevent children from viewing violence and nudity.
Movies are rated as G, PG, PG-13, NC-17 and R Television show are now rated a Y, appropriate for all children,Y7, for children over age seven, Y14, for children over age 14 and MA, for mature audience. Also usually before movies on television viewer discretion or parental discretion is advised. Is this not some form of censorship for children. If there is enough concern to censor programs on T.
V. that contains violence and harsh language should there not be concern for children that listen to hard-core gangsta rap. Parents should take more responsibility for what their children listen to and view. There is cause for censorship in these cases with the television shows and the gansta music, but the censorship should be far less in the media. It is understandable not show war scenes on t.v. because of the deaths it might show, but as for other things it is a different story. People should know what really goes on in Area 51, they should know about the deaths of JFK and Martin Luther King.
All the facts are not known about these issues that were and are important to the public. Yes the top secret projects that involve the military with weapons and war plans should not be told to the public. But shouldnt the people have the right to know when a rapist, child molester, repeated offender moves into their neighborhood. In this case the media cannot devulge this information due to Article 8 of the Proclamation law, which states that the media may not publish: information designated as secret by Parliaments Council of Representatives or the prime ministers cabinet; information that is held secret under the provisions of other laws; information relating to any court case heard in camera, or information relating to a case pending before any court, unless the court decides otherwise; or private information about a victim of a crime, unless the person consents.
(CPJ) If it were not for this article journalists would have no way of protecting themselves. Censorship is a very deep is and there can be things done to help support it and to try to stop it in the media and music. Parents can take charge of what there children view on T.V. and listen to on the radio while they are in the house, but what kind of authority can they take when their children are not home. Parents cannot control the kind of music their children buy on their own. That is when it is left up to the law. Not taking away the rappers’ right to free speech, but rather prohibiting sale to minors just as cigarettes.
There is only so much that parents can do to keep their children out of harm. Violence is a reality, but should it be preached about like it is okay and make it sound like fun and games. The answer is no and something should be done about it. But on the other hand censorship should not be allowed for every issue in the media, including conspiracies, vital news, information on fugitives on the run and cover ups just to mention a few.Bibliography:”Cleaning Up Violence on Radio.” The New York Times 11 December 1993: 22.
“Congresswomen Square Off ON Issue Of ‘Gangsta Rap’.” Jet 7 March 1994: 6-7. Landler, Mark “Time Warner Pledges Action On Rap Lyrics.” The New York Times 19 May 1995: D2.
Marriot, Michel “A Gangster Wake-up Call.” Newsweek 10 April 1995: vol.125, 74-6. Marriott, Michel “Hard-core Rap Lyrics Stir Black Backlash.” The New York Times 15 August 1993: A1+. McNally, Rand “The Amendments to the Constitution.” The American Patriot’s Handbook Chicago/New York/San Francisco 1993: 29. Phillips, Chuck “Anti-Rap Crusader Under Fire.
” L.A. Times 20 March 1996: A1+. Profitt, Steve “Defending the Art of Communication Known as Rap.
” L.A. Times 27 August 1995: M3. “The Rap Lyrics Page.” Online. http://home.worldonline.nl/zoftw/lyrics.
ntm. Raspberry, William “Does Rap Music Need a Warning Label?” The Washington Post 24 June 1994: A27. Raspberry, William “Foulmouthed Trash.” The Washington Post 30 July 1993: A21. Saunders, Michael “Gangsta Warfare.
” Boston Globe 10 March 1996: B29. Sims, Calvin “Gangster Pappers: The Lives, The Lyrics.” The New York Times 28 September 1993: E3. T, Ice. “Cop Killer.” Body Count. New York: Warner Bros.
1992. Williams, Frank B. “How Rap Music Got Its Bad Rap.” L.
A. Times 13 January 1995: B1+.