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Published:January 8th, 2008 09:31 EST

Hip Hop vs. America?

By Cherod Johnson


For quite some time now, BET has been completely scrutinized and often blamed for contributing to as well as promoting hip-hop music videos that many white and black Americans as a whole consider demeaning.

As a result, last year BET implemented a three-part panel discussion to address the controversial issues that surround Hip Hop, known as Hip-Hop vs. America. " Because of the intense blame that is often placed on rappers and even BET, the goal of the panel discussion was to help rappers and scrutinizers forge a relationship where they can come to a common ground on how they can reshape or alter the language and images so that rappers can still rap, without demeaning others.

Ashley Pledger, a black female from Cleveland, Ohio believe that Don Imus incident called for BET to implement the series Hip Hop vs. America " to look at the good and bad in hip hop that intellectuals and even the public believe caused Imus to feel it was okay to say nappy-headed hoes, " since many rappers make hit singles off demeaning women.

Therefore, BET thought it was their job to explore its faults and the impact that rap music and videos have on Americans as a whole, whether they`re white or black.

According to Raysean Autry, People are using BET as a scapegoat for America`s problems. "

Yet, when one would have thought that because Hip Hop vs. America " consisted of well-known panelists coming from a widespread spectrum of individuals including, rappers, intellectuals, music producers and single mothers, the discussion would have been focused more on trying to resolve the animosity and conflict. But the discussion turned into a debate that resembled an intense wrestling match aimed at who will take home the title, thus resolving nothing.

It seem like each panelist was not respecting one another`s opinion because they were so biased on what they believed that they didn`t even care to hear what the next person had to say. " Brittany Johnson, a black female student at Columbus State Community College. I was very disappointed in T.I because when Michael Eric Dyson was talking about how videos are often demeaning to African American women, T.I was laughing and I felt very offended because it seem like he was not taking the discussion serious. "

However, since the discussion turned more into a debate where panelists seem to turn on each other, trying their best to defend their stance, instead of respecting each other`s opinions and trying to resolve the problem, the question is then:

Who should be blamed?

Rapper T.I stated that because it starts in the home, that the parents should be held accountable for their children actions because they are responsible for allowing their children to watch hip-hop videos that are on T.V.

Nelly also complied with T.I that parents should be monitoring what their children watch, it is not truly their fault if people`s children aspire to act or dress like the artist they see in the videos.

While, Michael Eric Dyson states that because rappers produce and make millions off the music that are not only degrading to women but to blacks as a whole, they should bear some sort of responsibility.

Anglea Donaldson, a student at Bowling Green State University states, Because rappers contribute to the making of these videos that are disrespectful to many people and since there are many parents that do allow their children to watch these types of videos or even listen to the music, both parents and rappers should be held responsible. "

Al Sharpton later states in the show that the discussion in many ways may have confirmed the idea that African Americans are truly looked at as a group and not as individuals. Many people may link his idea to the whole notion of African Americans being looked at as a group and not as individuals.

Sharpton states, "We should not approach this discussion wondering what white America think about us, but rather what we think about ourselves. " The whole notion of how we are embarrassing the race to whites, the real core of that is white supremacy like they have some rule over defending what is good or bad. "