My good friend and music consigliore VERB made a very good point in a comment on the topic of “Blaxpoitation".
We were discussing what should be done about the misogyny, violence, etc. in popular urban music today. All of us said we should stop fiscally supporting these artist, however; Verb replied: “No disrespect but since W/we had this talk before and W/we generally feel the same (except w/ a few differences here and there in regard to semantics), what is everyone doing on an individual basis to aid in stopping this? And I'm not talking about not buying music that you probably never bought anyway. I'm curious…”
I believe she has a good point. We all seem to have a consensus, we agree that we want to see a change in Urban Music (I say urban, because you can find these problems in certain Rap, R&B, reggae and even house music songs). The problems of misogyny, glorified violence, etc. SOoooo what are we gonna DO about it?
I have visited a few blogs with good intentioned people like myself who say we will stop buying the music, watching BET, supporting Black/Urban radio, etc., etc., and I am sure we will, but haven’t most of us already DONE this?
Heck, BET has been blocked on my TVs for the last 4 or 5 years, one because my boys will NOT watch it on my watch, and two on general principle (how many times should I have to watch Boys in the Hood and Cooley High? Really, how many?), and the last gangsta CD I actually bought was the Chronic back in 92. I listen to NPR in my car, and rarely venture off that unless it’s to listen to a CD of my making. So they ALL seem to be getting along VERY well WITHOUT my dollar.
So what can we do? Well, there is always the Evangelical approach (it has worked so well for them –insert sarcasm). You know, trying to mind OTHER peoples business. Shall we Stop other people from supporting Black / Urban Radio? Ha! I don’t know about in YOUR city, but in Chicago, most black folks would convert from their religion before they stop listening to WGCI or V103. As well, I doubt if we can persuade people to stop watching BET when we hand them a flyer of protest as they come out of the lounge on Saturday night. And as for stopping people from buying their music, I’d bet R. Kelly is already well on his way to being multi-platinum again.
So, let’s be real, we can’t stop anyone from doing what they do, unless they break the law, and even then it’s hard. We can’t shame them, because as far as they are concerned we some: “bougie a**” people who want to stop them from “keeping it real”. So we go to the next possibilities:
1. Should we expect R. Kelly, Snoop and 50 cent to change? Not gonna happen. They serve themselves and their own pocket books. These people and people like them believe in C.R.E.A.M. (Cash rules everything around me). Unless people stop buying it, they will keep making it.
2. How about the record labels? Not gonna happen, as long as they make money off of the current situation, they won’t rock the boat. We have to motivate them to see it our way.
3. Black and Urban Radio AND BET, MTV, etc. is who we can influence. Again, yes they make money off of this situation, however we have our best chance at hitting them where it hurts to give them a conscious (since they obviously lack one) the question is HOW?
First, many of us still passively listen to Black / Urban radio, and the advertisers know it. Howbeit if we let these advertisers know, that we will STOP listening to these stations because we object to their selection of music, that selection of music will eventually be changed. For example, the difference from WGCI (Urban station) being number one as opposed to WGN (News format) being number one in Chicago, is possibly the passive listeners (who listen for lack of a better selection). If the passive listeners began to switch their dials, put in a CD of turn off their radios, and let the advertisers know why they are going to stop listening, this could be utilzed to motivate Black / Urban radio to change the selection of music they play.
Without radio play, many of these artist who are “keeping real” will either change what they are saying to get radio play or enjoy their relegation to the underground where they belong. So while you are passively listening to black/urban radio, make note of their sponsors and the artist that they are playing that are offending your sensibilities. Here is a short list of these sponsors (at least in the Chicago market) and their fax numbers and/or e-mail addresses to their customer service / complaints departments:
Buick Customer Assistance Center P.O. Box 33136 Detroit, MI 48232-5136 (Buick's contact website)
Cadillac: (Cadillac's contact website)
Allstate Insurance Company P.O. Box 12055 1819 Electric Rd. S.W. Roanoke, VA 24018 (Allstate's contact website)
McDonald’s Corporation 2111 McDonald's Dr Oak Brook, IL 60523 (McDonald's contact website)
Here is a letter you can write these sponsors (feel free to make your own or post me a better one):
Dear "Sponsor" of (WGCI, WJLB, WBLS, etc., etc.):
I really enjoy your products, however I am disturbed by your continued support of a radio station that continues to play music that degrades some of your intended customer base, that being, African American women and men. The lyrical content of (insert artist(s) of choice) I find objectionable, and not only will I have to stop listening to the station in question, I will also have to stop buying your products if your company chooses to advertise on radio / television stations that promote music with lyrics that are misogynistic, violent, overly sexually explicit, etc.
CC said letter to the Radio / Television station in question. It’s not much people, but it’s a start, lets give it a go! Peace