While channel surfing a few days ago, I came across an advertisement for a three part townhallesque debate to be broadcast on BET (of all venues) starting this Tuesday. First off, for a discussion on hip hop to take place on BET is akin to conversing on the virtues of sinning while vacationing in Hades. I'm also inclined to think that although the conversation will undoubtedly be entertaining, ultimately it will be an exercise in futility-radio/tv programmers, sponsors and corporate CEOs are conspicuously absent from this tete-a-tete. Without holding the aforementioned entities accountable, what is the overall purpose of such a meeting? At this juncture, proclamatory statements and filibustering are just not enough to instill balance, honor and respect into a landscape that is currently bereft of such ideals. Let's take a look at an excerpt from a CNNMoney.com article regarding the upcoming debate:
This three-part special features a passionate, lively and opinionated debate that tackles many sensitive issues, including: hip-hop's relationship with criminality and the streets, snitching, police profiling and brutality; the images of Black women in hip-hop; and the embarrassment, pride and confusion Blacks feel over hip-hop's public airing of the community's "dirty laundry."
"The battle over hip-hop lyrics, images and values is the flashpoint of conflict and debate between almost every division within our community -- between men and women, younger and older generations, between economic classes and educational backgrounds," said Reginald Hudlin, President of Entertainment, BET. "Our special relationships with the most important thinkers, icons and leaders in our community allow BET to deliver the most complete exploration of this topic on television. This is the first of many Town Halls that BET will convene to address the most pressing issues facing our community."
"Generational gaps within the African American community have never been more prevalent when it comes to the hip-hop community," said Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, executive producer, BET News. "The issues may ring familiar -- sexism, violent lyrics, degrading words and images -- but this time the debate is different given hip-hop's complicated relationship with corporate America. This is why it was so important for BET to provide a forum for each voice to shed light on every angle of this issue."
Hip-hop recording artists Nelly, T.I., Mike Jones, MC Lyte, Master P and the legendary Chuck D; top journalists Keith Boykin, Diane Weathers, Jeff Chang, Farai Chideya, Kim Osorio and New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch; filmmaker and cultural critic Nelson George; Judge Mablean Ephraim; former video vixens Melyssa Ford and Karrine Steffans; music executive Valeisha Butterfield; music video director Benny Boom; ministers Conrad Tillard, Pastor A. R. Bernard; professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson; and Reverend Al Sharpton lead the lists of outspoken panelists who take the stage and share their point of view on hip-hop. Other influential voices heard on the show include hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons, professor Cornel West and writer and activist Kevin Powell.
For more of the CNNMoney.com article, click below:
BET NEWS Presents HIP HOP vs. AMERICA