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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Friday, May 13, 2005
Take our Music Forward
A lot of honking outside the building. Some yelling, too. I go to the window to see what's going on. Looks like there are about 10 protesters in front of the Major Music Distributor across the street. And at least 3 photographers. Quite a ratio there.

I don't know exactly what the protest is about, but the posters read, "Take our music forward." No idea. There is also the obligatory, "Stop Corporate Racism."

As I gaze wistfully in their directions, two thoughts come to mind:

1.) These people are really sacrificing by giving up their lunch hour to exhort drivers to honk at them.
2.) I wonder if I can hit them with half a tuna sandwich from our balcony?


The protesters are upset about rap music's depiction of certain people. Like most protesters of their ilk, they don't seem to understand how a market works. But, hey, I don't enjoy the stuff they're talking about, either. So more power to 'em - although not for very much longer because they're interfering with my work (hard to concentrate with all the slogan shouting and honking).

The really sad thing is, this is their big protest of the year. And it's 10 people.
You might ask, how does calling women "Ho's" constitute racism? Best I can tell, they are saying that the (white, I suppose) executives are choosing to promote only that type of rap music. So it's not just the market, but the artists themselves bear no responsibility, either.
Also, I thought you'd like to know that at least one person down there is "not a b---h or a ho," but "a proud black woman."

A proud black woman with what is turning out to be a longish lunch hour.
Take Their Music Forward.
Throw your sandwich toward
Those ten goofy protesters,
Before your anger festers.

My advice to you in verse
Is turning for the worse.
I think I'll take a nap
Or protest against rap.
As a rapper, you make a good doctor.
They're still out there. At first I thought they had no chance. But then they brought out the devastating "Hey, hey, ho, ho" chant. Executives should cave any second.
You know, that as a good conservative I can't stomach a boycott. However, I will say that the videos are pretty disgusting. They *all* feature men dressed as hoodlums being dry humped by scantily clad black woman (of a lighter hue than the aforementioned hoodlum). I think these videos are tasteless, bad for children, and demeaning toward women and blacks. If I were a black woman, I'd be pretty pissed.
Oh and also, I heard the Reverend Allison (the instigator of the boycott) on "Larry Elder." He he is Sharpton's lackey in Los Angeles
Gold, Guns, Gals, Great Cars do make up many of these rap videos. Maybe a song offers a good beat I could dance to or clap my hands to, but the visuals and often the message turn out to be Gross Garbage...as do the "singers" behind the music.
Your blog's been thnickafied!! Goto psychotoddler to accept your challenge!
B-n-C - I'm with you regarding rap content. But the craw-sticker here is that instead of calling for an end to the production, distribution, or consumption of such content, they are simply calling for "alternative voices." Or not so simply - they are accusing the music company of racism and censorship (censorship!) because said company won't sign the aforementioned alternative voices.

Surely this is just too complex for my simplistic, conservative mind (is there any other kind?).
The Thnicka man missed! Consider yourself unnnnnnthickafied!

Sorry for the confusion!
Did you ever see the very telling picture of the Iraqui protest - it was taken from a very different angle than all the other pictures - the ones that ended up on the front page of newspapers across the land showing the group of people burning the american flag. This particular picture showed about 40 photographers taking the picture of maybe 15 protesters. It was hysterical.

I am a member of said protest. We are college students. This whole thing started as a class project. There were a lot more than ten people out there, maybe you should have counted more closely. And if you had wanted to know more of what we were about, you could've just asked. However, since you insist on making comments on what you do not know I will you give you some information so that you can make educated insults.

Our Rap Manifesto:

This is not an assault on Black culture.

This is not an assault on rap artists.

This is not an assault on women who choose to appear in rap videos.

THis is an all out consumer assault on mainstream music corporations that are censoring Black artistry by signing and promoting only a certain flavor of rap music.

Mainstream rap portrays Black men as criminals and Black women as over-sexualized objects.

Damaging stereotypes of Black men as violent criminals further divide Black America from the rest of the country.

Damaging stereotypes of Black women as over-sexualized objects sends the message that they exist solely for male pleasure.

These damaging stereotypes work against the developement of healty self-esteem for Black girls and boys.

Rap is a powerful voice for the voiceless, but this voice has been hijacked by corporate America that exploits Blacks through rap in pursuit of the mighty dollar.

As rap fans, we want to take our music forward.

As Americans concerned about the persistent inequality in a country that prides itself on equal worth of all individuals, we demand an end to divisive corporate censorship.

As consumers, we ultimately control the almighty dollar, and we will put our money where our conscience is.


That is what we are all about. I hope you enjoyed my writing. And I hope, in the future, you can take the time to find out what the world is all about. Good luck.
I forgot to add that if you want to know more about our work you can visit our website: www.takeourmusicforward.com
Anonymous - you'll be shocked to know that I was shocked to find out that the protesters were college students.

I linked to your site in the update to my post. That's how I knew what you were doing and could ridicule it.

There were 10 people - I counted - for at least the first hour. I admit there were more as the day grew on - up to about 30. Still not exactly the million man march.

As I hinted in my post, I don't care for the language and imagery used in that kind of rap music, either. Where we differ, I believe, is in our ideas of who's responsible and how the music can change.

Here's who's responsible, in order of less to more:

1.) The music distributors you targeted.

2.) The artists who write and perform the music.

3.) The consumers who buy, request, and listen.

Your most important target, then, should be the consumers. My guess is you are already doing your part by not buying the stuff. I would add that you shouldn't listen to the stations that play it, either - even to the stuff you like (use your iPod for that).

To reach out, you can educate the target market for the material by means that you as young people are uniquely suited to come up with.

I'm not sure what you can do to educate the artists themselves. They surely know what they're doing and why they're doing it. However, maybe your group could nurture new, respectable talent and get a following out there through some sort of web distribution, viral marketing, and all that other stuff that, again, you kids seem to be good at.

That would bring us to the distributors. They're gonna sign, and sell, anything that makes money. What they're not gonna sign is any agreement. Once the artists you support prove to be a draw, however, they will be signed.

So, it is a real stretch to call this racism, especially at the corporate level. If the material is de facto racism, you can blame the artists and listeners, regardless of their actual racial/ethnic backgrounds.

And the idea that this is censorship is wrong, and a little bit silly. It shows that you haven't seriously considered the issue. This is another reason why your protest was ineffective, other than succeeding in getting people to honk and disturb my nearby place of business. (Those people honking more likely than not were simultaneously listening to the latest 50-cent)(Um, he's a rapper or something, right?).

Slogans such as "end corporate racism" and "Stop censorship" make no sense without context. Yes, you had some nice green flyers, but exponentially more people will see your signs than read your flyers. You might have had at least one sign with your URL. As for your group's name, not bad, but a sign with that name makes no sense since no one's heard of you. The phrase makes no sense on its own.

I hope I've given you some constructive criticism here in addition to my sarcasm, which is a personality disorder I am getting treatment for. I am also having an intervention to stop me from ending sentences with prepositions.


PS On the topic of women who shake their thangs all up in your face in those videos - I'll never understand that, just like I'll never understand those who appear in pornos and the like. I can't imagine any little girl ever dreamed of growing up to do these things. As a great man once said, There's always work at the post office.
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