A PUBLIC CHALLENGE ON THE ISSUE OF RAP MUSIC - "The conspiracy to destroy rap will be met with a frontal assault."

By: Julian L. Shabazz, National Chairman, Awesome Records

COLUMBIA, South Carolina--Since 1979, the art form known as rap music has been under attack. From its inception it was denounced as "not real music," "just a fad," and "violent," etc. The art form has never received positive coverage in the mainstream (white) media, partly because many didn't expect it to last, but mostly because it was created and made popular by Black youth.

Within the past few years, the attack against rap has escalated. Almost every story appearing in the major media about rap has been negative. Artists like Public Enemy, The 2 Live Crew, NWA, Ice T, Sister Souljah, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Sir Mix-A-Lot and Professor Griff, etc., have all been victims of slanderous and misleading portrayals. Presently, the attack is centered around what's known as "gangsta rap." Several major newspapers, magazines and television networks have done very derogatory and sensational cover stories on rap. The intent of this is to give the public the misconception that their children are being poisoned by violent, uneducated, oversexed, out of control Black rappers. These misrepresentations can only be interpreted as deliberate, loaded with racism, and at least bordering on conspiracy to destroy the art form and its protagonists - Black youth.

When controversial white subjects are covered by the mass media, usually both sides are presented. Then scholars, scientists, or some authority in the field is consulted to show the validity or invalidity of the subject. This is not the case with rap, where the presentation is always one-sided and no Black scholars, scientists, or authorities in the field are consulted. As the author of the book, The United States vs. Hip-Hop, I am very, very disturbed by this. There are many credible Black scholars who've written on the subject. Not to mention the numerous Black writers for newspapers and magazines around the country. None of us are ever called by the mass media to give our analyses on the subject. This is wrong and obviously intentional. I can no longer sit idly by and watch our Black rappers being so viciously beaten up by the white media. I challenge any television network, radio station, magazine, newspaper, etc., to call me the next time they do a piece on rap music. Further, I challenge all opponents of the art form to a public debate on the issues. These venomous attacks on rap artists in general and Black youth in particular will no longer go unaddressed. The conspiracy to destroy rap will be met with a frontal assault. Those media and individuals without ulterior motives should prove their sincerity and accept the challenge.

Anyone wishing to respond or comment on this very important challenge raised by Julian Shabazz can write or call: AWESOME RECORDS, 3834 Rosewood Dr. #2, Columbia SC 29205, (803) 787-6008. This article previously appeared in THE PEOPLE'S TRIBUNE, and is reprinted here with permission from all parties concerned.

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