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> Attack The Rap, young women fight rap's misogyny
Moremi
post Mar 9 2004, 01:27 PM
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Attack the rap
Sick of being called ho's and bitches, a group of young women in Boston has set up a new radio station to fight rap's misogyny.
By Diane Taylor Monday March 8, 2004

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In the poor Boston neighbourhood where 18-year-old Stephanie Alves grew up, words such as bitch and ho are part of everyday male conversation. This slang is not used to pass judgment on a woman engaged in a particular activity but to describe any female.

Rap has been criticised for its negative portrayal of women right from the start. Artists such as Snoop Doggy Dogg and Ja Rule have attracted particular criticism - both were charged for use of indecent language back in 2001 at the SunFest festival in Jamaica. Lyrics such as "Game is the topic/ And what's between your legs is the product/ Use it properly/ And you'll make dollars bitch," from Ja Rule's Bitch Betta Have My Money, continue to incense women.

As Alves puts it, some rap music has tapped into feelings of male powerlessness as a result of poverty, racism and fractured families and made it not only fashionable but also empowering for young men to demean women in this way. "At school guys go around saying things like, 'She gave it up to me in two weeks, she's a ho'," says Alves. "They disrespect women; all that matters to them are the guns and sex and money that feature in so much rap music."

Scantily clad 24/7 sexual availability is the gold standard for womanhood. And yet this is the same quality that earns women the derogatory labels, viewed at worst as lowlife sluts and at best as fashion accessories. "Things got so bad that even the girls were going around calling each other bitch and ho," says Alves.

So Alves got together with a group of like-minded girls and young women in Dorchester, a Boston suburb with high levels of crime and deprivation, with the idea of setting up the first radio station dedicated to countering the negative way women are portrayed in rap. They approached a local headteacher, Larry Mayes, who recalls, "They came to me and said: 'We have a serious problem, we're tired of being referred to as bitches and ho's and we want to do something about it."

"The criticism of the way rap music portrays women is nothing new," says Alves. But instead of just talking about the problem we decided to take positive action."

The mayor of Boston loved the idea. "When we went to him he jumped out of his chair he was so enthusiastic," says Mayes. "He promised to get the most powerful women working in media in Boston to be advisers to the girls - and he did."

Private funding was secured and a couple of weeks ago, broadcasting from a women's centre in Dorchester, the radio station hit the airwaves. A sign pinned to the studio door reads: "Only positive attitudes beyond this point."

For now, the station, called Radio Log, is on air on weekday afternoons in the Dorchester area but Alves hopes that both the amount of time the station is on air and the area it covers will expand. Eight teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 18 are involved. Over the next few months more will be recruited and trained. The girls are African-American and Hispanic and they hope to get white and Asian girls involved too.

To promote an alternative, positive image of young American womanhood, they play a range of carefully vetted music - rap, hip-hop, reggae, soul and country - along with interviews and phone-ins open to both sexes to discuss music, relationships and burning issues of the day.

"We don't ban particular artists but select music on the basis of the lyrics," says Alves. "For example someone like Ashanti has some music that reflects women positively and some that reflects women negatively. We don't play the negative stuff." Artists who have so far made it on to the playlist include Mary Mary, Alicia Keyes, Faith Evans, Usher, Boyz-II-Men and B2K. Banned are certain songs by artists including Snoop Doggy Dogg, Lil Kim, Juvenile and Tupac Shakur.

Choosing which music is on the playlist and which is off can lead to animated discussions. "There are lots of grey areas," says Alves. "We like to play love songs but so many of them have derogatory references to women when sex is mentioned so we have to be careful."

Female African-American rapper Ife Oshun is sympathetic to their cause. "What sort of personal values do little girls in our hip-hop nation develop when they are constantly bombarded with images of their future selves as little more than rump shakers? What do our little boys learn when a disproportionate number of rap videos portray their sisters, mothers, future wives and future daughters as little more than eye candy?" says Oshun.

In the UK, young women are feeling just as bruised by the fantasy world of their male peers and are now looking to emulate their American peers. Gemma Gibson, 22, from west London, is trying to get funding to set up a similar radio station here. She is involved with Yes Studios, a music charity that gives socially-excluded young people hands-on experience in all aspects of music production.

"I've always loved singing and I think it's time to show young people there is another perspective out there. Gun culture in London is so big at the moment and I'm tired of guys calling us just a piece of ass. Music is so influential and it's made this stuff very fashionable, but now it's time for a different fashion."

Back in Boston, Radio Log has so far received nothing but praise. "I haven't had any negative comments from guys about it but they know better than to speak in a disrespectful way around me," says Alves. While there are no plans to take on the offensive male rappers directly, Alves hopes that word will reach them via the radio station of the errors of their ways.

She is optimistic that the rap that has led popular culture for the past 25 years is going to change. "We've been hearing about sex and drugs and money for so long. How much more is there to say? Surely now is the time for something new and positive to take over."

http://media.guardian.co.uk/radio/story/0,...1164397,00.html


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NoiseUnited
post Mar 9 2004, 01:39 PM
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Thats really cool, especially of the mayor of Boston. I hope the radio station looks up some Jean Grae.
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Underground
post Mar 9 2004, 01:47 PM
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what do people think about the fact that Zack screams out stuff like;
Muther fucker!!!

that is not terribly nice....


--------------------
There's a natural mystic blowing through the air;
If you listen carefully now you will hear.
It could be the first trumpet, might as well be the last:
Many more will have to die,
Many more will have to cry - don't ask me why.

Bob Marley
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Moremi
post Mar 9 2004, 01:56 PM
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Are you serious rolleyes.gif
Zack isn't a misogynist. He doesn't degrade women in his music. Please, get real!


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Underground
post Mar 9 2004, 02:01 PM
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you misunderstand me.
i know zack is nothing at all like ja rule or snoop dogg etc etc
in fact his respect for women is obviously huge



i was just curious as to peoples thoughts on that particular expression


--------------------
There's a natural mystic blowing through the air;
If you listen carefully now you will hear.
It could be the first trumpet, might as well be the last:
Many more will have to die,
Many more will have to cry - don't ask me why.

Bob Marley
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Moremi
post Mar 9 2004, 02:13 PM
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Are you asking if that expression is sexist?
From my understanding of it, it's not huh.gif These girls are more concerned with words and behavior that is clearly used to degrade women: bitch, hoe, slut, etc.
"Mother fucker", that expression is so old, does anyone really know what it means or where it comes from? It's a neutral expression.


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\o/
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rage baby
post Mar 9 2004, 02:29 PM
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flip this capital eclipse
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listen to some peaches....she talks about father fuckers so i say its pretty much fair game
and no i dont think these expressions are sexist


--------------------
They use the flag to control us
Brainwash us to be their patrotic slaves
Programs our minds by controlling what we learn
The only difference from the nazis is that
Someone tried to stop them
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
The government says they're working for us
Just as long as we increase their pay
But the minute they get into office we're a has-been
A yesterday
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
The red stands for the blood of all the people
We've slain
The white for this racist, bigoted foundation
The blue for your arayan eyes -- all empty
Empty because you're taught to bow down to the man
"Fly that flag, that flag of freedom"
"Do what you can for your country"
Go and fight their wars for them
"They're not following in our footsteps,
KILL THEM!"
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
They call that being a patriot
I just call it ignorant
If you don't fight to make things better
Then you're the one betraying the country
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
RED WHITE AND BRAINWASHED
~anti-flag
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nerve
post Mar 9 2004, 02:34 PM
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QUOTE (rage baby @ Mar 9 2004, 10:29 PM)
father fuckers

it sounds stupid
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jdizzle
post Mar 9 2004, 02:38 PM
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Sweet. This is really cool to hear. I'm all about the conscious hip hop and respecting women is a bigtime priority in my life. Women are the seed of the earth and for how many years they didn't have rights...that is disrespectful. To this day there are many women out there that don't get paid enough or are paid unfairly, don't get treated properly or with respect, and are held to some kind of moral standard that the men in that culture can't even hold up to.

Word to this post. Fantastic information. I love it.

Peace.

J Dizzle
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Moremi
post Mar 9 2004, 02:39 PM
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Think I'm going to find out more about Ifè Oshun. Sounds like she has a postive message and I'm lovin her name!


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Moremi
post Mar 9 2004, 02:41 PM
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QUOTE (jdizzle @ Mar 9 2004, 06:38 PM)
Sweet. This is really cool to hear. I'm all about the conscious hip hop and respecting women is a bigtime priority in my life. Women are the seed of the earth and for how many years they didn't have rights...that is disrespectful. To this day there are many women out there that don't get paid enough or are paid unfairly, don't get treated properly or with respect, and are held to some kind of moral standard that the men in that culture can't even hold up to.

Word to this post. Fantastic information. I love it.

Peace.

J Dizzle

Awesome clap2.gif


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zapatista
post Mar 9 2004, 02:41 PM
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är du också likgiltig?
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I say, more power to them.. It's nice to see people standing up for something... that kind of language has been used in music for to long.
QUOTE
"We don't ban particular artists but select music on the basis of the lyrics," says Alves. "For example someone like Ashanti has some music that reflects women positively and some that reflects women negatively. We don't play the negative stuff."

I like that.. positivity!


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Hey we got the PMA. Hey we got the PMA.
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nerve
post Mar 9 2004, 02:45 PM
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QUOTE (Moremi @ Mar 9 2004, 09:27 PM)
...Tupac Shakur.

that guy is a damn hypocrite
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Moremi
post Mar 9 2004, 02:53 PM
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Tupac had some mixed messages in his music, no doubt. But I applaud him for the positive stuff and I don't think of him as a hypocrite, just someone who was struggling with his experiences. If he had lived longer, I think he would have overcome a lot of that stuff.


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nerve
post Mar 9 2004, 02:57 PM
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QUOTE (Moremi @ Mar 9 2004, 10:53 PM)
Tupac had some mixed messages in his music, no doubt. But I applaud him for the positive stuff and I don't think of him as a hypocrite, just someone who was struggling with his experiences. If he had lived longer, I think he would have overcome a lot of that stuff.

He use to sing about murdereing n shit, then he's all like the black community needs to unite. I'm like shut the fuck up you stupid idiot.
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