by Charlene Muhammad
Special to the NNPA from The Final Call
LOS ANGELES (FinalCall.com) – Rappers and music audiences appear to be engaged in a battle over freedom of speech and consumerism with a backlash against negative lyrics.
The latest to feel public pressure is former prison guard-turned rapper Rick Ross, who also uses a former drug trafficker’s name. He recently apologized for controversial rape lyrics belted out as a featured rapper on another artist’s song. Ross glorified drugging and date rape, activists and rape survivors charged.
His initial response, saying there was a misunderstanding with a lyric or misinterpretation, was the wrong response, they added.
The word on Mr. Ross’ official website is there’s much anticipation about his upcoming album, “God Forgives. I Don’t.” Despite his apology, (which at Final Call press time, wasn’t posted online), it seems many will not soon forgive or forget his latest antics.
Reebok, the sportswear company, dropped Mr. Ross, indicating he hadn’t shown enough remorse for the lyrics.
“We have to celebrate our victories and Reebok dropping Rick Ross is important, but we know and obviously the readers of The Final Call are smart enough to know that Reebok did not do this out of humanity or the kindness of their heart. They had no choice but to do this because of the pressure,” said Rosa Clemente, hip hop activist and 2008 Green Party vice presidential candidate.
Ms. Clemente made a video response to Mr. Ross’ lyrics. But the problem is bigger than Mr. Ross and it will continue unless specific acts are taken, she cautioned.
Her video challenges men in hip hop to stand up and say this is unacceptable.
Rick Ross isn’t the only rapper that spews such sentiment, she said, and proof is in the number of radio stations playing the song.
It will continue until the brothers stand with the sisters and denounce it, because it’s not just a woman’s issue, said Ms. Clemente.
Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, there is an average of more than 207,000 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and assault each year.