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Cleaning up the rap music sewer

Published April 29, 2007 12:00 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The following editorial appeared in the New York Daily News on Wednesday:

The public uproar that got Don Imus fired from the radio may have made an impression on recording industry execs who have profited by turning their part of the music business into the cultural equivalent of an open sewer.

The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is calling on record companies and TV and radio stations to ''voluntarily remove/bleep/delete the misogynistic words 'b---h' and 'ho' and the racially offensive'' N-word.

Coming from an organization whose board includes rap impresarios Russell Simmons, Sean ''Diddy'' Combs and Damon Dash - men who grew rich popularizing all three words - a call for minimal standards of decency represents welcome progress.

''The words 'b---h' and 'ho' are utterly derogatory and disrespectful,'' the group said, adding that the N-word reflects ''pain, suffering (and a) history of racial oppression.''

Well, yes, as has been obvious to everyone outside the recording industry for a long time. And just as clear is that hip-hop's glamorization of the ''stop snitching'' credo of never cooperating with police is as obscene as any four-letter word. So there's work to be done. It will be up to Simmons, Combs, Dash and many others to elevate the cultural tone and messages of their music. Finally, they appear to be on the right track.