Violence In Music

Much like the forbidden apple, parental advisory labels attached to CD cases only serve to make records more attractive to youngsters. “Rap music is poisonous in terms of its influence on children,” student Brian W. Simon said during Haraya’s forum on Tuesday.

At “Murder Music: How has violence in Hip-Hop affected African-American culture?” students gathered in the U.C. lounge to discuss the impact of music on today’s youth. All agreed that rap and hip-hop are influential. “Hip-hop is art-art is self-expression and is meant to influence people,” said Clark Jones a St. John’s student who attended the forum.

Whether this type of music has a positive or negative effect was, and still is, debatable.

Hip-hop and rap music has become an extensive art form producing millions of sales each year. Rappers are well-known for their explicit lyrics and their individualistic styles.

There is a disparity between the facade rappers hide behind and the reality faced by their listening audience. Is an adolescent capable of distinguishing music lyrics from reality?

“I know how to separate myself from those lyrics and my life, but some people don’t-especially the young kids,” said student Durron Newman. Many issues surfaced such as accountability and responsibility. “It is not the rapper’s responsibility to educate someone else’s child,” said Wordley Ligonde, treasurer of Student Government, Inc.

The group seemed to come to the consensus that it’s important to teach proper morals and values to the youth. Many thought that the responsibility belongs to the parents, yet others said it is everyone’s responsibility. “Each and every person has a responsibility, whether it be the rapper or the parent,” Emmalene Ross said.

Many students said that the lyrics serve a purpose as rappers tell of their life struggles and the negativity that they have triumphantly endured. After that message is out, many students said rappers should also incorporate a positive aspect to their lyrics. Some suggested that rappers should rap more about progress rather than regression. “After three hours of story telling, learning about their lives – what’s next? Teach me something! Lets get to something higher,” said Yahve Alcine, Haitian Society president.

As the media continues to sway the minds of youth through television, cinema or music, questions arose as to what can be done about it. One suggestion was to boycott the music industry. A practical suggestion was to get out into the community and educate the youth of tomorrow. Serving as a mentor, tutor or even as a role model to siblings can be a beginning.

“It is what you instill in yourself, what you instill in those that are following behind you and what they instill in others,” said Joseph Poole, executive manager of the Storm Card office.