Is Hip-Hop Music Violent & Tasteless?
White folks complain about violence and tastelessness in hip-hop music, but forget who owns the music industry.
Johnny Cash (a white guy) sang …
“But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”
Jimi Hendrix (a black guy) sang …
“Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that gun of yours? / Hey Joe, I said where you goin’ with that gun in your hand, oh / I’m goin’ down to shoot my old lady / You know I caught her messin’ ’round with another man.”
Singer-songwriter Billy Roberts (a white guy) sang (and wrote) it first in 1961 …
“Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that money in your hand? / Hey Joe, where you goin’ with that money in your hand? / Chasin’ my woman, she run off with another man. / Hey Joe, I heard you shot your woman dead. / Hey Joe, I heard you shot your woman dead. / Yes I did, I got both of them lying in that bed.”
Bob Marley (white father, black mother) sang …
“I shot the sheriff / But I didn’t shoot no deputy, oh no! Oh!”
Eric Clapton (a white guy) sang it too.
The lily-white owners of the lily-white media promote violence …
Bob Iger of Walt Disney Company
Jeff Bewes of Time Warner Inc.
Brian L. Roberts of Comcast Corporation
Rupert Murdoch of 21st Century Fox
Leslie Moonves of CBS Corporation
Philippe Dauman of Viacom
Paula Kerger of PBS (Public Broadcasting System)
Sir Lucien Grange of Universal Music Group
Ken Howard of the Screen Actors Guild
Et cetera and so on ad nauseum.
W. James Potter (On Media Violence, 1999) wrote …
“Violence in American society is a public health problem. Although most people have never witnessed an act of serious violence in person, we are all constantly reminded of its presence by the media. The media constantly report news about individual violent crimes. The media also use violence as a staple in telling fictional stories to entertain us. Thus, the media amplify and reconfigure the violence in real life and continuously pump these messages into our culture.
“The culture is responding with a range of negative effects. Each year about 25,000 people are murdered, and more than 2 million are injured in assaults (Steenland, 1993). On the highways, aggressive behavior such as tailgating, weaving through busy lanes, honking or screaming at other drivers, exchanging insults, and even engaging in gunfire is a factor in nearly 28,000 traffic deaths annually, and the problem is getting worse at a rate of 7% per year (Wald, 1997). Gun-related deaths increased more than 60% from 1968 to 1994, to about 40,000 annually, and this problem is now considered a public health epidemic by 87% of surgeons and 94% of internists across the United States (Ragan, 1998). Meanwhile, the number of pistols manufactured in the United States continues to increase — up 92% from 1985 to 1992 (Browning, 1994).”
On the other hand — no Yin without Yang and no Yang without Yin — George Carlin noted …
“They try to blame movies and TV for violence in America. What a load of shit. Long before there were movies and television, Americans killed millions of Indians, slaughtered 700,000 of each other in a family feud, and attained the highest murder rate in history. Don’t blame Sylvester Stallone. We brought these horrifying genes with us from Europe, and then we gave them our own special twist. American know-how!”
By the way, I’m not against guns.
I agree with Michael Moore, who said, “Guns don’t kill people — Americans kill people.”
He (Dec. 22, 2015, in The Hollywood Reporter) wrote …
“Canada has strict gun laws, but they also have an estimated five million hunting rifles and shotguns in their homes — and they don’t go and shoot each other on a daily basis like we do. In 2013, they had a total of 131 gun murders in a nation of 35 million people. We have nine times their population, but fifty-fives times their gun killings. How can this be?
“Which brings us to Hollywood. I don’t think I’m making any big revelation here when I point out that the Canadian kids (and adults) are watching the same exact violent movies, playing the same exact violent video games and watching the same exact violent TV shows as their neighbors, the Americans. So why don’t their students — other than on the rare, rare occasion — continually walk into their high schools and colleges and start firing away? It’s not that the Canadians don’t get angry — have you even been to a hockey game? You cannot say that violent Hollywood movies somehow magically affect only American youth, but no one else. The Japanese cannot get enough of blood and gore in movies, ours and their own. Total number of gun murders in Japan in 2012: three.”