A much-covered forum at the University of Chicago this past weekend posed the question, "Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?" And the answer is: Of course!
The panel discussion was set up long before shock jock Don Imus was fired in mid-April, but drew a crowd of 400 due to the publicity his firing brought to this issue.
Participants said Imus's firing "led to some music industry navel-gazing, but too little action. ... Others blasted hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons for not doing enough when he called this week for the recording and broadcast industries to ban three words from all so-called clean versions of rap songs."
While we're in the blasting business, let's also blast the young women who appear in hip-hop videos half-dressed, undressed, and overdressed while gyrating and moving in soft-porn rhythm, appearing as if they're about to have sex with the male singers who are berating them.
The crowd criticized the male producers and singers and seemed, by media reports, to have focused on "bleeping out" derogatory words aimed at women. All that's well and fine.
But let's remember that the young women so intent on stardom, money, publicity, and fame who willingly participate in demeaning their own race and gender also give cover to the Imuses of the world. If they stopped, the male producers would have no choice but to stop degrading women.