Clear Channel's Promotion of Toxic Music in the Black Community

Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman speaks at a recent event. (Mike Moore/Getty Images for Clear Channel)
Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman speaks at a recent event. (Mike Moore/Getty Images for Clear Channel)

Dr. Boyce Watkins, writing at Your Black World, slams Clear Channel for trafficking toxic and denigrating hip-hop and rap lyrics over its airwaves. He says the company must be confronted in court to put an end to negative messaging in the black community. 

This week, I spoke at a conference hosted by the Center for Church and Prisons in Boston, Massachusetts.  Rev. George Walters- Sleyon brought together a group of people to discuss the prison problem in America, including d**k Gregory, Dr. Umar Johnson, the rapper Jasiri X and others who are on the forefront of the mass incarceration epidemic in America. 

During my speech, I spoke about how hip-hop music, at least what we hear on the radio, has become the gospel of self-destruction.  There is almost nothing about the lifestyle being promoted on most urban radio stations that leads to prosperous or healthy outcomes.  Instead, from the time they are young, black males are fed consistent messages that tell them to stay high, drunk, ignorant, v*****t, broke and incredibly unproductive.  Listen to most songs on the urban station in your city (which is just like the one in the next city over) and within 60 seconds, you will hear some message reminding black men of how to destroy their lives …

With that being said, Clear Channel must be confronted.   They must be confronted in court, to determine whether or not they are violating laws by not playing more localized content.  They must be confronted with various forms of protest in cities that have major urban radio channels.  There must also be a conscious effort by all of us to turn urban radio off in our cars and replace it with something more suitable, like Pandora or other music from our cell phones.

Read Dr. Boyce Watkins' entire piece at Your Black World.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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