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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<a href="http://www.canada.com/topics/entertainment/story.html?id=934bc78e-1221-42cd-8c9f-6c942467238c&k=84654" target="_blank">http://www.canada.com/topics/enterta...67238c&k=84654</a><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Russell Simmons called a meeting Wednesday April 18, 2007, of high-powered group of music-industry executives to privately discuss the sexist and misogynistic rap lyrics. It was called in the wake of Don Imus' firing for his on-air slur about the Rutgers women's basketball team.</td>
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">"We're talking about a lot of these artists who come from the most extreme cases of poverty and ignorance ... And when they write a song, and they write it from their heart, and they're not educated, and they don't believe there's opportunity, <span style="color:#000000;"><b>they have a right, they have a right to say what's on their mind,"</b></span> he said.<br><br>
"Whether it's our sexism, our racism, our homophobia or our violence, <b>the hip-hop community sometimes can be a good mirror of our dirt and sometimes the dirt that we try to cover up,"</b> Simmons said. "Pointing at the conditions that create these words from the rappers ... should be our No. 1 concern."</td>
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This seems like a good starting point to discuss the use of language that supports Ism's in music.<br><br>
I'm going to squeeze in a long quote from Tim Wise because I just can't seem to trim it!<br><a href="http://www.timwise.org/" target="_blank">http://www.timwise.org/</a><br><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Passing the Buck and Missing the Point:<br>
Don Imus, White Denial and Racism in America</span><br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Rap has been an especially useful scapegoat, such that whenever whites act out in a racist way we seem quick to blame rap. In fact, sometimes, when whites commit violence we blame rap too, as with the two school shooters in Jonesboro, Arkansas in the late 90s, who were reported to love rap music, as if that would explain their decision to ambush their classmates. <snip> Odd how the Sopranos never get blamed when white folks kill someone, nor the Saw movie trilogy, or, for that matter (since we're on the subject of music), <b>Johnny Cash, who sang about shooting a man in Reno "just to watch him die."</b> Hell, Johnny even sang that song in a prison to a bunch of inmates, with no apparent concern for inciting violence on their part.<br><br>
And speaking of Cash, the rush to blame rap is especially intriguing given the history of violent themes in country music--a genre that is never blamed whenever some white, NASCAR lover commits murder. Consider country legend <b>Porter Wagoner, whose song "Cold Hard Facts of Life," tells of a man who kills his wife for cheating on him.</b> Or better still, "The First Mrs. Jones," in which Wagoner's protagonist, speaking to his new wife--who has just left him--tells her how he stalked and murdered his former betrothed, after which killing he buried her body parts in the woods. In other words, unless the "second Mrs. Jones" comes back to him, she's going to join the first one, pushing up daisies in the forest. If Young Buck dropped a song like this, white America would be screaming about how he was encouraging violence against women. But for Wagoner, a revered member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, no such concern attaches. He's just "telling a story."<br><br>
Then there's Johnny Paycheck's classic, "Pardon Me, I've Got Someone to Kill," or Jimmy Rodgers who sang, "If you don't want to smell my smoke, don't monkey with my gun," or several of the violent ditties recorded by Spade Cooley in the 1950s: a man who didn't just sing of violence, but also practiced what he preached, by beating his wife to death in front of their teenage daughter in 1961. That rap is viewed so much more negatively than any other genre of music--so many of which have had their fair share of disturbing, violent and sexist imagery--attests to the racialized way in which danger has come to be understood. Only a fool could think race wasn't the primary reason for the double standard. In fact, research has found that when lyrics with violent themes are presented to whites in a focus group, as being rap lyrics, the participants respond far more negatively than when the same lyrics are presented as the lyrics they actually are: from a folk song, sung by whites.<br></td>
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I think there is a lot to examine on the subjects of artistic freedom and responsibility. I am also eagerly awaiting word of a country music summit on the violent and misogynist language in that genre.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Organizers billed the gathering as a forum to "discuss issues challenging the industry in the wake of controversy surrounding hip-hop and the First Amendment."</td>
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What controversy about hip-hop and the first amendment? And what does that have to do with Imus being fired? Maybe that's why the meeting kind of fizzled out without achieving anything, because it doesn't make any sense. (?)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kama'aina</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm going to squeeze in a long quote from Tim Wise because I just can't seem to trim it!</div>
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<span>And I can see why you had a hard time trimming it! It's good stuff. I think I will pass it on to some people I've been....<i>discussing</i> this with. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"></span><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I am also eagerly awaiting word of a country music summit on the violent and misogynist language in that genre.</td>
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<span>As a country music fan I would love to see this as well. But you know, first they'd have to admit the lyrics were violent and misogynist to begin with. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:</span>
 

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Very cool of Russ Sims (yeah, he and I are tight like that <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> ).<br><br>
He's always been involved in a lot of great causes and stuff but I've been pretty disappointed by his silence on this topic.. so I'm glad to see this.<br><br>
Hey Kama, what's TCB?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Shonahsmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7898451"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hey Kama, what's TCB?</div>
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<span>I'm not Kama, but I do believe it means Taking Care of Business. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"></span>
 

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The show was mainly focussed on Imus, but it touched on the underlying reasons it could happen. Here are a few quotes from the show, and the reasons the 'experts' (their word not mine) said lead up to it.<br><br><br>
One of the people on the panel said that "Then, we get upset and want to hold Don Imus to a higher standard than we hold ourselves to."<br><br>
While I disagree with the statement that anyone is holding Imus up to a higher standard, it is nice that other facets of our reality are coming to light and people are actually looking to the reasons.<br><br>
I don't personally think that Rap/Hip Hop portrays anything that isn't already there, but I do think that it helps to propogate emotions and attitudes that are not beneficial to society. However that can be said about MOST kinds of modern art. Including television, movies, comic books even.<br><br><br>
Until people start taking responsibility for what they do themselves, and what they help propogate, I don't think much will change sadly. We can only affect what we do in our own lives and hopefully what we do will affect others in a positive way.<br><br><br><br>
Here are some quotes from Oprah's show and a link to read the whole thing.<br><br><br><a href="http://www2.oprah.com/tows/slide/200704/20070416/slide_20070416_284_101.jhtml" target="_blank">http://www2.oprah.com/tows/slide/200..._284_101.jhtml</a><br><br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Stanley Crouch</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">When the Rutgers players spoke out about how they were affected by Imus's offensive comment, Stanley says a lot of people began to identify with the victims. "The pure humanity that came out of [Rutgers] Coach Stringer, [team captain] Essence Carson and that team shocked everybody, because they realized, 'Oh, this is who he was talking about,'" he says. "Humanity of people is the only answer to this, because people are being dehumanized in popular culture. … When people saw who these women were, they saw how much of an insult it was."</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Bruce Gordon</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Bruce went on record saying that Imus should be fired. Less than a week later, Imus's show was cancelled. "It was an opportunity to make a very clear statement that his behavior was intolerable, and it would not be accepted. An extreme statement like his required an extreme response," he says. "It had to cost him his job…and it did. And that's good."</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jason Whitlock</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Jason says the negative portrayal of black women in the hip-hop culture has fostered many harmful stereotypes. "Our real problem is that we're not willing to accept responsibility for our role in this [problem]," he says. "We've allowed our kids to adopt a hip-hop culture that's been perverted and corrupted by prison values. They are defining our women in pop culture as b*****s and h*s. … We are defining ourselves. Then, we get upset and want to hold Don Imus to a higher standard than we hold ourselves to. That is unacceptable."</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Diane Weathers</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Young black girls aren't the only ones impacted by today's society, she says. "It's not just the denigration of women. It's the denigration of men. Black boys are given such a one dimensional, narrow image of what it is to be a black man," she says. "It's impacting the relationships between young black girls and young black men."</div>
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I only caught bits and pieces of this show - but I loved how Russel Simmons stuck to that point - he was so clear about it. It could have easily digressed into a 'shame on you Rap Artists' discussion - and he just wouldn't let that happen. I really just loved his voice in that discussion.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;"><span>As a country music fan I would love to see this as well. But you know, first they'd have to admit the lyrics were violent and misogynist to begin with. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/loveeyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Loveeyes">:</span></td>
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But, but, um, how can country music be violent or misogynist? White people sing them. [/sarcasm]<br><br>
Actually, I'd never even known about violent themes in country music until I read this thread. I'm just not a country music fan so I'm unfamiliar with most of the genre, except for the individual tunes that "crossover" to the pop charts, and what I've heard on "Hannah Montana" and this week's American Idol.<br><br>
But it's clear to me that if such violent lyrics exist in Country music, and have for decades without any cries of protest, then what's been happening with Rap/Hip Hop can't possibly be anything but Racism.
 

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Violence shows up in many art forms.<br><br>
I remember my stomache turning at the thought of 'Thunder Rolls' by Garth Brooks. (country). I remember listening to the song hearing how the woman was being beaten and I think someone was killed.<br><br><br>
Another song by Reba Macintire (s/p) about some girl named Fancy who was raised in a trailer park and whored out by her mom wanted to rise above it. 'just be nice to the gentlement Fancy, and They'll be nice to you'. Of course the song is about her rising above the circumstances, but it still portrays the young lady in a very specific light.<br><br><br>
I may have gotten the themes of the songs wrong, but to a kid listening to country music that is what I was envisioning listening to them.<br><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Really all genre's of music if you think about it except maybe classical have a violent trend at some point in time.<br><br>
So do works of art, masterpieces even.<br><br><br><br><br>
When actually walking through the thoughts on censoring one branch of music, you can't really stop at one branch, or even one art.<br><br><br>
Censorship ISN'T the answer, but there is NO denying it has an affect. (It being art)
 

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I liked how asha bandela spoke of how black women have been degraded and oversexualized since arrival in this country.<br><br>
I believe it's a part of the American culture, starting in slavery and still never-ending. The black woman, along with being a slave, was also a concubine for use at her master's whim. I recall history with no malice, it's just a matter of fact.<br><br>
It's weird how that expectation of a concubine has not changed. I mean, it's not really weird, it just keeps maifesting itself over and over it different ways. We had and still have black women entertainers who don't make a dollar unless damn near naked or oversexualized in some manner, i.e. Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Beyonce, and that embarassing scene from Monster's Ball with Halle Berry...The video girls... In the eighties, we had the mythical welfare queen with 5 kids by 5 different sperm donors and a Cadillac, which led to acceptance of "welfare reform". Even ball players, who are not even trying to be sexy while pulling down rebounds with sweat pouring off of their faces, are still called "h*s", with d*cks nowhere in sight.<br><br>
Even in personal life, and I am speaking entirely for myself, I know that I have to go over and beyond to protect myself. In the Navy, it was awful and I prefer to keep the happenings to myself, and yes some of the advances were color-based and my "shipmates" weren't beyond letting me know that. Nowadays, I keep a baton in my car. Illegal, yes. Random men following me to my car wanting some of my "sweet brown sugar"? REAL.<br><br>
This issue is just so multi-faceted. I am going to recommend another book called "Naked". It's a collection of essays on the experiences of several black women in this last few years of this decade. Even though, I respect what Russell did, and I am glad dialogue started, it just gives me the thought the we are starting a math problem in the middle instead of the beginning. Solvable, but I bet the answer will make more sense if we start at the beginning? I don't know...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
On Tuesday Mr Simmons will be signing his new book just a couple blocks from my office. Tuesdays are my one busy day... I often work 10 hours or more finalizing a weekly report. I am, nonetheless, tempted to go... if only to wave a sign for a few minutes showing my gratitude for his voice.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>heyitstwins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7899934"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I liked how asha bandela spoke of how black women have been degraded and oversexualized since arrival in this country.<br><br>
I believe it's a part of the American culture, starting in slavery and still never-ending. The black woman, along with being a slave, was also a concubine for use at her master's whim. I recall history with no malice, it's just a matter of fact.<br><br>
It's weird how that expectation of a concubine has not changed. I mean, it's not really weird, it just keeps maifesting itself over and over it different ways. We had and still have black women entertainers who don't make a dollar unless damn near naked or oversexualized in some manner, i.e. Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Beyonce, and that embarassing scene from Monster's Ball with Halle Berry...The video girls... In the eighties, we had the mythical welfare queen with 5 kids by 5 different sperm donors and a Cadillac, which led to acceptance of "welfare reform". Even ball players, who are not even trying to be sexy while pulling down rebounds with sweat pouring off of their faces, are still called "h*s", with d*cks nowhere in sight.<br><br>
Even in personal life, and I am speaking entirely for myself, I know that I have to go over and beyond to protect myself. In the Navy, it was awful and I prefer to keep the happenings to myself, and yes some of the advances were color-based and my "shipmates" weren't beyond letting me know that. Nowadays, I keep a baton in my car. Illegal, yes. Random men following me to my car wanting some of my "sweet brown sugar"? REAL.<br><br>
This issue is just so multi-faceted. I am going to recommend another book called "Naked". It's a collection of essays on the experiences of several black women in this last few years of this decade. Even though, I respect what Russell did, and I am glad dialogue started, it just gives me the thought the we are starting a math problem in the middle instead of the beginning. Solvable, but I bet the answer will make more sense if we start at the beginning? I don't know...</div>
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So much of what you said resonates with me, I don't bf in public because while I was pregnant comments that were made to me, one stands out by an older white male, about his childhood and a mammie (sp), I'm not American, certainly not southern, but that comment made my blood curdle.<br>
Do you know this isbn number or the author for the book, I'd like to get it.<br><br><br>
Good for Russel, as much as I dislike popular rap culture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Kajira</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7901010"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">one stands out by an older white male, about his childhood and a mammie (sp), I'm not American, certainly not southern, but that comment made my blood curdle.</div>
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Oh god... mine too! Ughhhh.<br><br>
Russell Simmons book? <span style="text-decoration:underline;">"Do You?"</span><br><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FDo-You-Achieve-Happiness-Success%2Fdp%2F1592402933" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Do-You-Achieve.../dp/1592402933</a>
 

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He has the audacity to write about "passing the buck" when his whole premise is based on passing the buck--that violence has been present in media in all forms and genres is somehow a defense of an entire industry of glorifying violence and hate? Almost all art (and I am using the term "art" in the broadest possible sense) involves violence of some sort. Art imitates life, and violence is part of life and the human experience, so it only makes sense for it to be depicted in art. But there is a significant difference between depicting violence or other wrongdoing and glorifying it. And I don't know why so many people who are masters of media analysis in other context will whitewash this very basic point.<br><br>
All artistic expression serves a function of society. So what is the function of society in songs about sexual trafficking of women? What is the function of society in video games in which the participants mock at shooting innocent people? What is the function of society in advertising that eroticizes rape and necrophilia?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Yoshua</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7899649"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Another song by Reba Macintire (s/p) about some girl named Fancy who was raised in a trailer park and whored out by her mom wanted to rise above it. 'just be nice to the gentlement Fancy, and They'll be nice to you'. Of course the song is about her rising above the circumstances, but it still portrays the young lady in a very specific light.</div>
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Oddly enough I know this song. Yes, it does portray sympathetically the young woman who is pushed into sexwork. But I think that is a separate issue. I am very sympathetic to sexworkers. Depending on their circumstances, they are either victims or, if they are truly not coerced economically or otherwise, they are workers who have chosen a certain profession. Neither of which merits condemnation, from me anyway. People who traffic in (often underage, often nonconsenting, usually exploited) sexworkers are a whole other matter. That's the difference between "Fancy" and "It's hard out there for a pimp."
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Brigianna</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7902266"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><b>All artistic expression serves a function of society.</b> So what is the function of society in songs about sexual trafficking of women? What is the function of society in video games in which the participants mock at shooting innocent people? What is the function of society in advertising that eroticizes rape and necrophilia?</div>
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I don't have a clue what you mean by that. Can you explain?<br><br>
Also, who is writing about passing the buck? There have been many people quoted above you and I'm not sure who you are talking about.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>heyitstwins</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7899934"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I liked how asha bandela spoke of how black women have been degraded and oversexualized since arrival in this country.<br><br>
I believe it's a part of the American culture, starting in slavery and still never-ending. The black woman, along with being a slave, was also a concubine for use at her master's whim. I recall history with no malice, it's just a matter of fact.<br><br>
It's weird how that expectation of a concubine has not changed. I mean, it's not really weird, it just keeps maifesting itself over and over it different ways. We had and still have black women entertainers who don't make a dollar unless damn near naked or oversexualized in some manner, i.e. Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Beyonce, and that embarassing scene from Monster's Ball with Halle Berry...The video girls... In the eighties, we had the mythical welfare queen with 5 kids by 5 different sperm donors and a Cadillac, which led to acceptance of "welfare reform". Even ball players, who are not even trying to be sexy while pulling down rebounds with sweat pouring off of their faces, are still called "h*s", with d*cks nowhere in sight.<br><br>
Even in personal life, and I am speaking entirely for myself, I know that I have to go over and beyond to protect myself. In the Navy, it was awful and I prefer to keep the happenings to myself, and yes some of the advances were color-based and my "shipmates" weren't beyond letting me know that. Nowadays, I keep a baton in my car. Illegal, yes. Random men following me to my car wanting some of my "sweet brown sugar"? REAL.<br><br>
This issue is just so multi-faceted. I am going to recommend another book called "Naked". It's a collection of essays on the experiences of several black women in this last few years of this decade. Even though, I respect what Russell did, and I am glad dialogue started, it just gives me the thought the we are starting a math problem in the middle instead of the beginning. Solvable, but I bet the answer will make more sense if we start at the beginning? I don't know...</div>
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Sista, what you said really sums up so many of my own feelings. So many wonderful points in your post, I just have to say that Monster's Ball was the first movie I ever went to see that I almost walked out, when I saw the sex scenes with Halle I cried, I could not beleive that a talented Black woman needed to do that and when she won a Oscar I as not pleased. Frankly it just reinforced the myth of Black woman has hyper sexual beings.. sorry I digress.<br><br>
Like Kajira I also don't NIP much, for pretty much the same reasons. Sigh...<br><br>
The point about country music is dead one, a couple years ago I bought a Johnny Cash CD and many of lyrics were just as charged as rap lyrics but nobody says jack...<br><br>
Glad to see Rusell doing some thing positive, though I admittedly am not a fan of mainstream rap/hip-hop.<br><br>
Shay
 
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