YOUNG VOICES: Music censorship is desperately needed

2013-12-09T00:00:00Z 2014-02-05T21:41:06Z YOUNG VOICES: Music censorship is desperately neededBy Brytnie Jones nwitimes.com
December 09, 2013 12:00 am  • 

We all listen to music whether it’s while working out, cooking, cleaning, watching television or driving, and I’m sure we've all heard music that we felt was inappropriate, especially for radio or television.

President Barack Obama once said, “The thing about hip-hop today is it's smart, it's insightful. The way they can communicate a complex message in a very short space is remarkable.”

As a little girl raised up in a household where my father ate, slept and breathed hip hop, I listen to today’s music and wonder: Where hip hop is going?

Rappers and singers like Nas, Talib Kweli, Escape, Lauryn Hill, Tupac, Jay-Z and TLC all had a voice they were using to highlight the everyday struggles of society. They were using their metaphors to make a point and to hopefully relate to the public. Everyone says 1990s music was the best music, and they couldn't have been more right, because for the past decade, music has altered from music with meaning to music with no purpose.

There once was a time when music had a positive message, it was something that you could learn from. Songs like, Tupac’s “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life,” Ludacris’s “Runaway Love” or Lauryn Hill’s “Ex-factor” had a way of making you feel the oppression, violence and discrimination the lyrics so eloquently illustrated.

Rap and R&B was conscious and political, and it made you sit back and think about what the artists were talking about. The thing about music back then was that the music was very well censored because of any foul or derogatory language that might have influenced behaviors of underage listeners. Music censorship happened throughout the 20th century because of the Radio Act of 1927 that Congress enacted to control any obscene, indecent or profane content that was being broadcast.

Now all of a sudden music has become senseless babble with no purpose at all. It has become music that glorifies sex, drugs, violence, money, partying and alcohol. Foul and derogatory language has begun to fly through the airwaves stripping children of their innocence, and it is time that it stops.

A lot of people feel that music censorship is a violation of freedom of speech, but I’m here to say music censorship is not a violation of freedom of speech, but an active voice to shield offensive and influencing behavior from children and other individuals. Censorship in music is in place to prevent disrespect, promote political correctness, restrain vulgarity and obscenity, and shield the morals of society.

Most important, censorship is used to prevent children and teens from learning things that could harm them and others. Children and teens are very impressionable and anything that they hear can very well influence their behaviors, perceptions and opinions in one-way or another. Real hip hop that contained meaning and cared about the listeners has gone missing. Now it’s time for us to find it again!

Brytnie Jones, of Gary, is a freshman at Earlham College. The opinions are the writer's.

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