Music has been a part of our culture in the United States since its birth. In the past two centuries people have enjoyed listening to music ranging from classical to hip- hop. However, in recent decades the lyrics and images used as an expression of rap and hip-hop have come under scrutiny and these genres have been labeled as sexist.
Musicians have always used music as a way to deliver a message or a belief. If artists are censored, will they lose what drives them the most: their freedom to write and perform what they choose? Music also serves as a reflection of our experiences and the culture in which we live. Does the sexism in hip-hop defy the status quo or reflect it?
Are rappers more likely to objectify and demean women than classic rockers, teen-pop stars, Frank Sinatra or Wagner? If not, why is this type of music singled out? Does the predominance of African-American artists affect our perception?
Are hip-hop lyrics too harsh? Should music be censored? How do women, men, boys and girls reconcile misogynist lyrics in music they enjoy? Is the music industry accountable or is it simply giving us what we want? What are the implications of the fact that white males are the main consumers of rap and hip hop?
Join this week’s Café Society to discuss sexism, racism and music.
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