Imus Controversy May Be a Catalyst for Change

The controversy surrounding the comments and subsequent firing of shock jock Don Imus has been grabbing all of the headlines as of late. Initially, it seemed the controversy was primarily focused on whether or not the comments were racially charged. More recently, however, the focus has been placed more on how Imus’ comments are a reflection of society’s poor perception of women.

As a result of the controversy surrounding Imus’ comments, many groups and leaders have been mobilized and have found that their cause of fighting for women’s rights has suddenly gained more attention. More specifically, those fighting against what has been referred to as gangsta rap are taking advantage of the situation in order to get their message heard.

Upon his firing, Imus claimed that the lyrics in rap songs have called black women “worse names than I ever did.” Many agree with Imus’ statement, including the Reverend Al Sharpton, who has now made it one of his personal goals to help uplift the status of women.

“We will not stop until we make it clear that no one should denigrate women. We must deal with the fact that ho and the b-word are words that are wrong from anybody’s lips.”

Defenders of rap music, however, maintain that the music is a poetic expression that tells a story of the lives of the rap artist. They go on to say that the music should not be criticized. Rather, the critics should work to improve the lives of those growing up in the same hopeless and violent lifestyle as many gangsta rappers had to endure.

Rappers themselves defend their music, claiming there is a difference between the women they talk about in their songs versus educated women. According to rapper Snoop Dogg, “(Rappers) are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We’re talking about hos that’s in the ‘hood that ain’t doing – that’s trying to get a n- for his money.”

Whether music is to blame or not, what remains true is that women still are not viewed equally by many members of society. As a result, many people – both male and female –are working collectively to bring about a change.

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