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Hip-Hop Fridays: Does The Music Industry The Grammy Awards and MTV Have One Standard For Offending Homosexuals And Another For Everyone Else?


Yesterday's LA Times article, "Eminem's Grammy Nod Strikes a Blow for, and to, the Critics" does an excellent job of depicting the blatant hypocrisy emanating from some of Hip-Hop's worst "critics" as well as from within and without the National Academy Of Recording Arts And Sciences.

Every year since I can remember the event, the Grammys have nominated songs and albums in the "Rap", "Heavy Metal", "Alternative" categories that promote misogyny, racism, sexism, murders, theft, rape, incest, and well…even cruelty to animals.

The Grammys have given awards to songs with foul language which refer to Black people as "niggers", Black and White women as "bitches" and "whores" and which refer to Asians, Jews and Latinos in very derogatory terms.

I have never seen an outrage coming from inside of the music establishment, from either MTV, the Grammys or the various interest groups over the awards that have gone to heavy metal groups which have received awards for albums which contain derogatory references to Black people and other ethnic groups.

Nor have I seen it for the various Grammy nominations every year which are given to rap groups which disrespect Black women and Black men.

I have, of course, seen the efforts of Blacks like C. Delores Tucker and some Black preachers who have been outraged over such lyrical content, in rap music.

But I have never openly seen the industry question or oppose one of its own, like is the case with Eminem, on the grounds of offensive lyrics. Usually such attacks come from outside the music community.

There are reports that there was weeping and crying at the internal meetings of the Grammy Special Selection Meeting when Eminem's lyrics were played and discussed.

I wonder how much weeping and crying went on when the murders of young Black men are described and played out on rap songs/albums which were nominated for Grammys in previous years.

We doubt if the "special selection committee" generated enough concern to produce even a couple of tears.

Strangely, when it comes to the disrespect of Women, Blacks, Jews, Asians and other ethnic groups, - MTV and other members of the music industry establishment rush to defend the right of the artist to express themselves.

They cleverly frame the argument into an issue of free speech and censorship.

But not when it comes to lyrical content that disrespects or offends homosexuals.

I very clearly noticed this during the broadcast of last year's MTV awards when, throughout the program, MTV ran commercials admonishing people not to use the word "faggot" in reference to Gay people - emphasizing that words have power. They directly linked the use of this word to the physical abuse that many homosexuals unjustifiably receive every year.

They ran the commercials to counteract the negative publicity they received for nominating Eminem for Music video awards and for having him perform at the event. The implication was that somehow Eminem's lyrics could be associated with inspiring hate-crimes.

As I sat back and watched the commercial I was irritated, not because I don't agree that homosexuals shouldn't be verbally abused or physically beaten.

I do believe that it is wrong to verbally or physically mistreat any person who is gay or lesbian. That is despicable.

But I was irritated because I never saw MTV air any commercials, during their biggest ratings night of the year, warning people to not use the word "nigger" against Blacks or "bitches" and "whores" against women.

And certainly, there is a demonstrated track record of how those words have led to physical violence.

It was as if I was being lectured on morality by a network which parades naked Black and White Women on its screens, hardly bleeps out curse words and derogatory references in its videos and which promotes drug and alcohol use and abuse.

But when it comes to lyrical content offensive to homosexuals, MTV becomes self-righteous and sanctimonious.

And so, in the year 2001, because a white rapper who sells 5 million records (primarily to White suburbia) has come along who says things which are offensive to homosexuals, the music industry establishment is now having consternation over lyrical content and is having an internal debate over whether Eminem should win the Grammy award and what message it would send.

And MTV is going to run special commercials and have a moment of silence next week to show its opposition to hate-crimes.

Not suprisingly, the emphasis will be on Matthew Shepard, the homosexual who was beaten to death.

[we have just learned that MTV will be showing a made for MTV movie about Matthew Shepard; we don't recall any such special movie features for James Byrd, Jr.- a black victim of a hate-crime]

Interesting how the numerous Blacks killed every year in the inner city and White women raped at the Woodstock concert and the Puerto Rican and Black women sexually harassed and possibly raped at the Puerto Rican Day parade hasn't garnered any "moments of silence" from MTV.

In all of my years in the music industry, in private and public forums, I heard Blacks dissed, Jews dissed, Women dissed, and Latinos dissed with little to no reaction.

The only group of people that everyone in the music industry was nervous to do the same with was the homosexual community.

It is as if one is conditioned in the entertainment community to "hate" other groups - even their own, but homosexuals are exempt.

Why not one standard for all offended parties?

I find it interesting that in all of the hoopla over Eminem's album no one has mentioned the fact that he does not once, to my knowledge, use the word "nigger" in reference to Black people.

But of course, who cares about that? Albums with songs with that word in it win Grammy awards every year.


Cedric Muhammad

Friday, January 5, 2001

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