IN CRIMINALIZING RAP, THEY CRIMINALIZE REBELLION

By: Danny Alexander


KANSAS CITY, Missouri--Over the month of December, the ruling class renewed its war against rap - no doubt in an effort to gain support for increased censorship and the new crime bill.

First, Newsweek magazine ran a Willie Horton-style cover of rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg. Then, both ABC and NBC television weighed in with evening news stories, blaming rap for black-on-black crime and sexism. Finally, President Clinton took time in one of his weekly addresses to praise radio stations that refuse to play gangsta rap.

All the media coverage misled viewers by concluding that rap music had grown so violent that "respectable" black leadership (such as Jesse Jackson and record-burner Calvin Butts) no longer plans to make excuses for it.

In reality, traditional black leadership has been fighting a war against rap for years. Here in Kansas City, Mayor Emmanuel Cleaver and community leaders like Alvin Brooks of the Ad Hoc Group Against Crime have been banning rap shows and leading efforts to rally the community against rap music since at least 1989.

The truth is, for over a year now, gangsta rappers have been the only mainstream artists championing the Los Angeles Rebellion. The very artists who now face prison time - Tupac Shakur, Flavor Flav and Snoop Dogg - have been publicly questioning society's definition of guilt and innocence, and glorifying not violence primarily, but the viewpoint of the street.

That's why, in an attempt to kill the message of the rebellion forever, those in power must blame rap music for the sickness this system has created. And that's why we must support this music that speaks more truth about this system in three minutes at a time than our major media and politicians have done all year.

Danny Alexander is a contributing editor for Rock & Rap Confidential, he is active with the Kansas City Music Alliance, and is the Kansas Representative for R.O.C. The above article previously appeared in The People's Tribune and is reprinted here with permission from all parties concerned.

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