The Rev. Al Sharpton, upset about violence in rap music, asked the Federal Cmmunications Commission on Thursday to punish artists and radio stations connected with violent acts. Artists connected to such acts should be denied airplay on radio and television for 90 days, he told reporters after meeting with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and two other commissioners. He also urged the agency to fine and review the licenses of radio stations "that encourage a pattern of this, including allowing employees to do on-the-air inciting ofviolence." continuedRev. Sharpton perhaps needs a reminder that violent acts are committed by individuals, not industries, and it is those individuals who commit violent acts against the person or property of another who must be held accountable for their own actions. And there are laws that make this the social norm. What Rev. Sharpton is suggesting is that additional sanctions be levied against those committing violent acts if they are also part of the rap music industry. This sounds like one group being treated differently than another, AKA discriminatory policy.
Rev. Sharpton also appeared on Nightline Friday night expressing disgust in the rap industry for producing records for convicted criminals currently serving time, like C-Murder who is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Rev. Sharpton's criticism is that those artists are glorifying the "thug life" and that glorification is confirmed by soaring record sales.
Well, I thought the convicted were prohibited by law from profiting from their crimes. If these rappers are indeed profiting from their crimes through music then the law should be applied to them to. Problem solved.
What Rev. Sharpton needs to realize is that rap music is protected by the Constitutional right to free speech. And if rappers want to glorify a life of violence in their music they certainly have that right. And I have the right to listen to that music. Only when the violence moves from glorified in music to a reality in the streets can individual artists be held accountable for their actions.