Unification News For April 1996


"Gangsta" rap-degrading?

by Richard Panzer-Westwood, NJ

C. Delores Tucker commanded a responsive audience with a stately and elegant presence at the February 1996 WFWP conference in Philadelphia. She spoke on the topic of "gangsta rap." Mrs. Tucker, who worked with Dr. Martin Luther King in the Civil Rights struggle against segregation, now sees the gangsta rap culture as a new threat to be confronted.

She said, "We want to get this music out of the reach of children. Gangsta rap is porno rap. It glorifies irresponsible sex, drugs, gang rape and violence and is not for children." Due in large part to the efforts of Mrs. Tucker, who chairs the National Political Congress of Black Women, and former Education Secretary William Bennett, Time Warner dropped Death Row and Interscope, labels which produced records by "gangsta" rappers 2Pac Shakur, Snoop Doggy Dogg and others in 1995.

She told about the time when she heard a six-year-old grandniece say, "I want to be a mother f-- gangsta." She arranged to send this six- year-old to live with relatives in a small town in the Bahamas, but the little girl quickly became isolated because she carried the "gangsta" music, lyrics and culture with her and none of the families in the town wanted to have their children infected with "this filth."

A young woman said after the talk, "I listen to gangsta rap, but I come from a close family and am not influenced by it, so what's so bad about it?" Mrs. Tucker responded that others maybe more influenced by it, especially if they come from a difficult home situation. She pointed out that music which glorifies gang rape, calls women "bitches" and "hoes" is dehumanizing (to put it mildly).

Mrs. Tucker has also initiated a campaign against Tower Records, a national chain which distributes the music. "This is not just a national phenomenon," she says. "This is an international problem. People all around the world now believe that black people talk and act the way they see us in these videos and hear us on these CDs. All over the world our image is being shaped in ways which will make it that much easier for us to be marginalized as a people and even destroyed, if we don't wake up."

She recounted how a young rap artist with a positive message went to the West Coast and was told by producers they had no interest in promoting her kind of "clean" message. She became the gangsta rapper called Boss and carries two guns now as part of her act.

Mrs. Tucker also shared a letter from a 20-year-old prisoner who wrote: "I began listening to rap about three years ago, and it's a big part of me being in jail right now, facing 25 years to life.... Ice Cube and a lot of other rappers made it sound so good and look so real (that) I would drink and smoke drugs (just) like on the video.... My hood girls-whom God made to please me and multiply the earth with respect-became hoes and bitches. What's so bad is that they accepted it.... Because of a lack of knowledge, we begin to think this is the only way we can be somebody. I mean, everyone wants to be somebody. And after all this, look at where I ended!

"Something I really wonder about is whether Ice Cube has or plans on having kids. I would really like to know.... Or wait till you see the (video) about Bonnie and Clyde! Wait until the women start killing like Yo-Yo in the Bonnie and Clyde theme. And guess what they will call them? Gangsta bitches. Now, it's bad enough that men describe you (women) this way, but now you (women) have accepted it."

Kittura Dior, an attractive African American artist in her 20s, commented: "In many ways I'm pretty liberal and don't like anyone telling me what to do, but this gangsta rap is sickening and destructive to women. The words you think and speak do have an effect, especially on certain people. There's already so much violence and negativity out there, why would you want to add to it? I support this campaign against it."

If you would like to support Mrs. Tucker's campaign or just want more information, contact:

National Political Congress of Black Women
2556 Virginia Ave. NW
P.O. Box 196
Washington, DC 20037
or call 1-800-225-8511

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