#RageAgainstTheRatchet

In May, Carvin Haggins, mega song-writer and producer, decided to hold a rally at Power 99FM’s radio station.  He kept his word.  He is bothered by the explicit music available on free radio and wanted to make a statement.  Actually, he didn’t want to make a statement.  Instead, he wanted to make Power99 take note of his issue and to take responsibility for how the music it plays impacts Philadelphia’s young urban community.

Apparently, some other people agreed with him.  Along with Carvin, they demanded music that it isn’t so raunchy and explicit.   They asked why music  that is so sexually charged is acceptable for urban stations; however, when those same songs are played on pop stations, cleaner versions are played.  They called for cleaner lyrics during the time when young kids are likely to listen, like on the way to school.  He also called for a shift in perspective so that image of the black community can begin to take on other images and qualities besides sex, money, and violence.

I appreciated his perspective…….but, I’m over 30.  Now, take a look at the pictures from the rally.  Do you see what I see?  Most of the attendees look to be at least 25, if not older.  Yes, I admit that I took pictures from one side of the street and didn’t try to capture every face in the crowd; however, I think there is some questions to be asked:

1)  What does “ratchet” mean?  I mean what is ratchet to me is music to others!  Check out this video: 

2)  What’s the difference between “keeping-it-100” and the music that is often called ratchet?

3)  What’s the difference between what rappers do today and what Barry White’sLove Serenade and Betty Wright’sTonight is the Night did back in the day?

4)  So what that some people don’t like it and held a rally!  Is there going to be any follow up?

5)  What power do we have as a community, regardless of age, to influence the media, whether its music or tv? 

While I was at the rally, I enjoyed some wonderful conversations with people who I did know.  We shared some of the same opinions.  But if the young people, who are buying the music and driving the industry don’t care, is a change gonna come?

Although we’ll have to stay tuned to see if that Saturday morning demonstration will have a lasting impact, I’d like to hear from you.  Do you think the music is too explicit?

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