Friday, April 8, 2011

Here we go again...

I like Ashley Judd, really I do. I respect her work as an actress, her love of college basketball and all of her humanitarian works. I truly believe she is a good person. I also believe her statements on hip-hop are completely wrong and off-base. If you haven’t heard by now in her new book she claims “most rap and hip-hop music – with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as 'ho’s' – is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.” I can’t sit here and pretend that some of the rap lyrics out there are in fact misogynistic and in some cases just downright disgusting. To paint all of hip hop as that however is just downright foolish.

Ms. Judd has starred as a woman who lies to police to hide her husband’s illegal activities (Heat), a promiscuous police detective (Twisted), and as a drug and alcohol addicted criminal (Normal Life). Now just from these selected roles she has chosen I could say that all actresses are all slutty, devoid of morals and have no respect for the law. Is that true? Maybe in a few isolated cases but surely not most actresses, that’s recognizing that in any group there are some that make the entire group look bad. See what I did there?

This reminds me of a statement by Jay-Z in his book Decoded:
“It’s all white noise to them till they hear a ‘bitch’ or a ‘nigga’ and then they run off yelling ‘See!’ and feel vindicated in their narrow conception of what the music is all about. But that would be like listening to Maya Angelou and ignoring everything until you heard her drop a line about drinking or sleeping with someone’s husband and then dismissing her as an alcoholic adulterer.”

Some of the people I have talked with on this give Ms. Judd a pass due to the fact she was a victim of sexual abuse. The news of that truly saddens me, no one deserves to go through that, but her cowardly attackers probably weren’t listening to Whodini, they weren’t inspired by the works of DJ Kool Herc, they were sick and twisted individuals.

I would ask Ms. Judd to take the time to actually learn about hip-hop before she makes broad statements. I have listened to hip-hop music all my life and have been deeply affected by its culture. It’s rich, diverse, and highly rewarding to those that give it a chance. If you don’t like the music, the style of dress or any other part of hip-hop that’s fine, respect the culture though. It’s just common decency.
P. Diddy and Snoop Dogg didn’t start misogynism in music. Have they capitalized on it? You bet. But how come artists like the Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash among others get respect yet when talks of disrespect in music begin it’s always “rap this, rap that.” There is a cause of misogynism, but it’s not hip-hop. I’ll end with a few artists Ms. Judd may want to listen to, they may change her tune.

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