Censorship Of Music Essay Research Paper CENSORSHIP

Censorship Of Music Essay, Research Paper

CENSORSHIP In today’s society, all types of music artists are expressing their views, opinions and feelings in their songs about what they see and what they know. This is on of the great things about this country, the freedom to express yourself. It is not fair, nor is it constitutional that music should be censored in anyway. It is not only rap music trying to be censored it is in all types of music. They are taking away their rights and it isn’t fair. As reported in the New York Times. “Wall-Mart CD standards are Changing Pop Music”, Wal-Mart and other large department stores sell CD’s by your favorite artists which are not what your favorite artists originally created. Some retailers refuse to carry CDs with “Parental Advisory Stickers”, a few also go as far as to make it known to labels and artists that if the CD comes to their shelves with a “dirty” word, a “controversial” cover, or an “explicit” lyric it will not be allowed on the shelves. Some of the artists include Nirvana, Beck, John Mellencamp and the list goes on. (Internet ultratnet) The most recent case involving Wal-Mart and censorship, was the new Sheryl Crow album. A song on the album which lashes the company for selling guns that end up in the wrong hands as caused the company to ban the album in stores. (Schruers 64) Delores Tucker, William Bennett, Senator Joseph Lieberman, and Senator Sam Nunn held a press conference in Washington D.C. The message: censor obscene music and censor “pro-drug lyrics”. These censors announced their plan to pressure major record companies to discontinue production of what they called “obscene” music and music which contains ” blatantly pro-drug lyrics. All of the CDs targeted as “obscene” already carry RIAA Parental Advisory Labels. Parents are already provided with the information they need if they choose to monitor their children’s musical selections. Discontinuing production of this music takes the freedom of expression away form everyone- musicians and fans of every age. (Internet ultranet) The increasing controversy surrounding rap music, with its rough-edged lyrics about sex and violence, has prompted two very different responses from black oriented radio stations in New York and Los Angeles. Two stations WBLS New York and KACE in Los Angeles, have announced they wont play the roughest and most offensive songs. A third station WPWR opted for a different route, saying it would lose credibility with its audience if it banned music that reflects the language of urban life. “We’ve got to speak their language” if the message of the record is “Don’t call me a bitch” we have got to allow the artist to get the message across. And sometimes it is necessary for the artists to use language that grabs peoples attention. Inner City Broadcasting one of the largest black owned broadcasting firms in the country, announced that its stations will not play music that is profane or advocates violence, particularly against women or homosexuals. They announced they would not air songs with the word’s “bitch” and “ho” to refer to women. What we are doing, as responsible broadcasters who are licensed to serve our listeners, is simply exercising our best judgment, said Pierre Sutton, Chairmen of Inner City. (Viles 90)What bothers me is that they censor the music because they are saying these words are portraying bad ideas, but they are just singing about what is all around us and what we see. It is not like saying theses lyrics are anything new. A person or a child is going to hear them regardless of any song with so called profanity in them. The people singing are just telling the truth. I think a child has a better chance of hearing profanity in there own home or school then by hearing it in a song. The recent Gangsta rap hearings on Capitol Hill bore all the elements of 1985’s dramatic Parents Music Resource Center debate-heated testimony talk of labeling explicit lyrics and plenty of music biz attention. Led by Illinois Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, the Senate Juvenile Justice subcommittee met last month and launched the first of what some predicted would be several hearings to explore the effects of hard-core rap on America’s youth. “The music industry has to take responsibility to make certain that children are not exposed to this stuff” said Moseley-Braun. Rep. Maxine Waters, whose district includes part of South Central Los Angeles, home to many gangsta rappers, said that these young people referring to these rappers are being denied the opportunity to say who they are. They have a message, and they are forcing America to listen”. (Smith 22) You also may remember when hard-core rapper Ice-T wrote the song cop killer. He was just singing what he felt towards cops. He did not mean that we should all go out and start killing cops, (Light 20) I personally thought the song was very rude and not very intelligent, but at the same time I don’t think he should have been censored for it. Although there is many groups being censored there many organizations fighting against censorship. Randy Lee Payton and John Woods co-founders of Rock Out Censorship and it’s newspaper, the ROC, call their group” a national grass-roots anti- censorship organization”. Woods and Payton started their organization in 1989 and took up the battle against the industry-watchdog group Parents Music Resource Center. What started as a local organization soon branched out. ROC now has chapters in 19 states, as well as in England and Canada, and ROC has a circulation of 15,000 papers. By setting up tables at rock shows, ROC has gathered a data base of almost 45,000 names, and it is still growing. Now ROC is fighting bills like HB 2982, sponsored by Pennsylvania state legislator T.J. Ronney, a Democrat which would criminalize the sale of labeled records to minors. “The biggest difference between now and 1989″, says Payton,” is now we find ourselves fighting these supposed liberals. It is was a lot more fun when we were fighting these religious kooks. These other people are supposed to be on our side.” (Weisel 50. Another “Freedom Fighter” aganist music censorship is 71 year old Mary Morello, Mother of the guitarist Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine. Who act has also had their share of censorship. Morello is the founder of Parents for Rock and Rap, an anti-censorship organization that she runs from her home. She started the group to opppose the Parents Music Resource Center,(just like the founders of ROC) an organization co-founed by Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gor. That group was largely responsible for the parental advisory labels used on tapes and CDs with expilicit sexual or violoent lyrics. The label also pressures record companies, radio stations and music stores to stop playing or selling recordings considered detrimental to children. ” Individuals and groups are attempting to take away our first 1st Amendment rights”, she says. ” The purpose of music is to be enjoyed, not censored. Young people should be able to listen to any type of music they like, regardless of their age. I always tell them that if you want to keep listening to the music that you enjoy, starting today you have to learn to fight back. If you don’t fight for your own freedom, no one is going to give it to you”. (Internet xnet). Morello believes and I agree, speech and expression are being shackled in the U.S., and she puts much of the blame on the current political climate. ” Cenosorship is coming down now harder then it has before. ” she says. ” Look at the Congress we have, trying to take funds away from the National Endowment for the arts, trying to kill public television. They must be living in the Dark Ages.” (Internet xnet). After reaserching music censorship and supporting anti-censorship organizations, I realize that there is much wrok to be done to get free speech. There will always be someone or some group to stand aganist what you believe. I think the only way to really gain full freedom of speech is to fight and not give up. I think that the more people realize that rights are being violated, the more people will support the anit-censorship groups. I believe that people who do support these groups should really get involved. It is the only way we can win. Bibliography Bibliography Internet. http://www.ultranet.com/~crowleyn/alerts.html Internet http://www.xnet.com/~paigeone/noevil/morello.html Light, Alan. Rolling Stone, “Word form the Home Front” May 27, 1993 p20 Schruers, Fred. Rolling Stone, “She really only wants to be with you” November 14,1996 p64 Smith, Danyel. Rolling Stone, “House of Pain, the fight against gansta rap hits Capitol Hill” April 7, 1994 p 22. Thigpen, David. Rolling Stone ” Musicland stores refuse to sell some titles to minors” September 16, 1993, p13 Viles, Peter. Broadcasting and Cable, “Three stations, two responses to rap” December13, 1993 p90 Weisel, Al. Rolling Stone, “Freedom Rock” October 20, 1994 p50


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