Archive for Thursday, June 19, 2008

Topeka activist decries gangsta rap message

June 19, 2008


Gangsta rap, the hard-core form of hip-hop noted for its often misogynist lyrics, came under fire Wednesday at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, as Topeka-based activist Sonny Scroggins told a group of about 30 young people to tune out rap's negative messages.

"It tears people down, rather than bringing them up," said Scroggins, 57. He listed artists such as Soulja Boy and Lil Wayne, who he said perpetuated negative stereotypes about blacks, while denigrating African-American culture.

"They're making a lot of money, but it's at the expense of all of us," he told a gathering of seventh- through ninth-graders. When asked whether they understood some of the sexually explicit messages in songs like Soulja Boy's "Superman," the majority raised their hands.

Many of the children said they didn't approve of the messages they heard in gangsta rap, but liked to dance to it.

Erin Lindsay, 22, came to the event from Dallas, where her Erin Lindsay Ministries is based. She works with girls to help them understand the importance of being positive role models in their communities.

She said she hoped the young people who gathered on Wednesday would realize that gangsta rap's messages promoted a lifestyle that is demeaning to women and denies them respect.

"It's taking something that's a key part of culture and saying that's something that doesn't need to happen," she said.

Scroggins' speech resonated with two girls, Kelsey Johnson, 13, and Akira Cowden, 14, who petitioned last year to ban gangsta rap at school dances and in public places, such as grocery stores.

"We just don't want it played in public places, where everyone has to listen to it," said Akira, who said some of the lyrics she heard in rap songs were embarrassing and offensive. "It should be an optional thing."

Scroggins, a rapper himself, has tried to get the Kansas House of Representatives to recognize a bill, HB 6013, he wrote last year with State Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia. The bill, condemning the lyrics of gangsta rap songs, went nowhere.

He called the lack of recognition by House leaders "irresponsible."

"It's killing society," Scroggins said.


loki8025 9 years, 10 months ago

Ok and Manson listened to the White Album and decided to try to start a race war BAN THE BEATLES IT'S KILLING OUR SOCIETY

Gabe Hoffman 9 years, 10 months ago

That's right, I forgot. Rap is responsible for individual actions. Just like Bush's decisions are the same one's I would make.It's a genre, a phase. It was Elvis, Rock and Roll, Punk Rock. Now it's rap's turn to be responsible for the upheaval of American culture and youth dissent.

craigers 9 years, 10 months ago

autie, I've seen people wear shaggy pants too!!!

tatchity 9 years, 10 months ago

Interestingly enough, a majority of rap consumers are white. Also, Rock and Roll is bad and Elvis is evil.

Gareth Skarka 9 years, 10 months ago

Ah, Kansas -- bravely striding forward to protect us from controversial music of the previous century.

nobody1793 9 years, 10 months ago

Gangsta bullets can't hurt you when you've sold your soul to the devil of rock 'n roll. Or when you're wearing a white kevlar-lined jumpsuit. Baby.

rocksolid 9 years, 10 months ago

"Topeka behind in the times" This has been reported months ago, as Mr. Scroggins was protesting in the area of 21st and Wanamaker. This is not the same rap as it was in the 80's or early 90's. If you don't want to listen to the music don't . As for the baggy pants I hear cops love the people that wear them they are easier to catch in a foot chase. I drive my kids crazy by listening to same music they do, but I hate it when they scratch my classic rock cds. As for this being a phase rap is a genre that is here to stay as it is now classified as Urban Music.

Haiku_for_You 9 years, 10 months ago

Worst part about rap:Sagging jeans showing boxers.That's the real problem.

Gabe Hoffman 9 years, 10 months ago

I blame:Rap for murderCountry for racismPop for overt teen sexualityAlternative for self pityRock for increased violenceJazz for elitismTalk radio for presumed intelligenceGospel for exclusionAnd the list goes on

grimpeur 9 years, 10 months ago

Autie said: "I'd rather listen to a grain shovel being drug down the driveway."Heh. Now THAT is some fine smack. I'm talking bout a genuine piece of rural midwestern americana. Nice.

Crossfire 9 years, 10 months ago

Gang-steer cRap smells like Cow-sh.. to me.I prefer California Chipmunk Punk Rap

Confrontation 9 years, 10 months ago

Sagging jeans are much better than tight Levi's on cowboys. Concealing "the goods" is better. This might be a good thing for cowboys, considering I've heard that they have such a limited supply of goods.

cheer67 9 years, 10 months ago

I listen to rap, and I'm white... but I don't listen to the uneditted version of songs. I mostly hear it on the radio, and then once a friend has the uneditted and I hear that it's like, wow thank God for all the noises they put in there. Cuss words just ruin songs. Haiku, I totally agree, the sagging pants are the problem! Why are there people who are like 100lbs wearing size 40 jeans and an XXXL shirt???? I personally like to walk normally, not with my legs spread out trying to keep my pants up, that's what belts are for.

geniusmannumber1 9 years, 10 months ago

Come on, white people who don't listen to rap. This is your chance to make your opinion heard!

fu7il3 9 years, 10 months ago

"Sagging jeans are much better than tight Levi's on cowboys. Concealing "the goods" is better. This might be a good thing for cowboys, considering I've heard that they have such a limited supply of goods."Not sure how they are concealing the goods when the goods are hanging over the waistband.

Haiku_Cuckoo 9 years, 10 months ago

Hats off to Sonny Scroggins for his efforts in this area! People like Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King spent their lives trying to eradicate the "N" word. Meanwhile, many of today's rappers do everything they can to make that hateful word mainstream and acceptable to today's society. What a slap in the face to those civil rights leaders of old.

TopJayhawk 9 years, 10 months ago

Hockmano.. I don't really disagree with you. But if there is no harm in the music, why do you "make sure that your son only hears the edited version?" Sounds like the proof is in the pudding to me.

RomanNose 9 years, 10 months ago

Blamin' my farts on the catI can't let the ladies think I'm wiggity-wack

Third_Wave 9 years, 10 months ago

Maybe I'm totally off here but doesn't gangster rap refer to early rap from individuals such as NWA, the Geto Boys, and Ice-T. Rap as an expression of social problems within a specific culture is fine by me. I think there was a lot of that going on with the aforementioned groups (not that I'm an expert). I think the problem now is an industry that is incredibly irresponsible with who gets to put out top 40 songs and what the content of those songs are. There's no constructive social dialog going on within top 40 rap and hip hop these days. Save a few select and not so popular artists, you essentially here a lot of rap music that is counter-productive to what gangster rap was about, explaining real life lower-class african american culture in very poor urban settings. Crank that soulja boy has nothing to do with this theme, and therefor, in my mind, is completely worthless in musical or artistic value. The problem with rap is that the majority of people buying it are white people, who aren't effected by the fact that top 40 rap doesn't actual inform anyone about the problems African American culture faces, but since it is what sells, the industry and country has turned a blind eye to a very low form of music that doesn't bring anything to the table but curse words, the exploitation of women, and everything that is negative about a morally decaying urban society. Of course it DOES have a good beat to dance to. If it didn't, it wouldn't sell, sorry for those of you who think it's noise, but it turns out that the kids like to shake their groove thing to it or it wouldn't exist.The fact that as a culture as a whole, somehow we allow our top 40 radio stations to play such mindless filth isn't the artists or industries fault, but the country's as a whole. It doesn't seem like it's hurting anything and maybe it isn't. But what does it say about us, that we continue to allow such a signifier of artistic, moral, and social decay to dominate our air waves.Check out the lyrics to "Hip-Hop Saved My Life" and "Dumb it Down" by Lupe Fiasco.

hockmano 9 years, 10 months ago

Lets get down to the basics.All races and people from different economic and educational backgrounds listen to rap.Its not only the guys standing on the corner with the sagging pants and the $100 sneakers.I was born white, am currently white and will always be white.About the time I was in junior high,rap started coming of age.That was back in the '80's.I have always listened to rap and will continue to listen to rap.I have never smoked, been arrested, (or done anything illegal besides getting a speeding ticket), in my entire life. QUIT STEREOTYPING! I have a young son so I make sure that only the edited versions are played when he is around.They said the same negative things about rock and roll when Elvis came out.Grow up people.If you don't like it, don't listen to it.But, people have the right to listen to whatever they like.It's the parents job to censor what their kids are listening to, not the state's.If Fred Phelps can spew his hate in public, then let the rappers alone!

jonas 9 years, 10 months ago

What were you doing, Duplenty, quoting rap songs?

jonas 9 years, 10 months ago

Marion: "The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots onHe took a face from the ancient gallery, And he walked on down the hall."

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