Group aims to stop violent, explicit misogynistic lyrics on radio
By MARY MITCHELL November 2, 2013 2:26PM
Updated: December 4, 2013 6:38AM
A small band of activists is going up against a couple of Goliaths.
Calling it the “Clear the Airwaves Project,” protesters are trying to stop two local radio stations from playing music with violent, misogynist and explicitly sexual lyrics.
They are trying to do that by bringing attention to the fact that some of the biggest advertisers on the stations that play violent rap are black-owned McDonald’s restaurants.
For the past several months, protesters have gathered outside a black-owned McDonald’s on the South Side with protest signs warning patrons that their children are being poisoned by a steady diet of soft porn and violence.
“We feel that the music being played on the radio is influencing our children and is detrimental and should be for adults only,” said Kwabena Rasuli, founder of the campaign.
“This is music that encourages girls to be strippers and young men to kill each other, to pop mollies or Ecstasy pills, and to be unrealistically materialistic,” Rasuli said.
“In about 90 percent of the songs, they drop the n-bombs and in about 80 percent, they are calling our sisters the b-word.”
He began his crusade outside of WPWX-FM (92.3) in Hammond, Ind., five years ago. Rasuli accused the Hammond station, along with WGCI-FM (107.5), of playing music so “vile” it should not be on the radio.
I reached out to Crawford Broadcasting, owner of WPWX-FM, but no one returned my phone calls. Representatives for the Black McDonald’s Operators Association declined to comment on this issue.
In a written statement, Angela Ingram, vice president of communications for Clear Channel, said WGCI “is always open to having dialogue with members of the community and listening to their concerns.”
On Saturday, protesters will be back outside of the McDonald’s at 65th and Stony Island, the first black-owned McDonald’s in the nation.
Dwight Taylor, founder of Concerned Citizens Against Violence in Gary, said he joined the protest effort because he believes that the music is having a detrimental impact on young people.
“If any child hears these lyrics 24/7 — lyrics about carrying guns, shooting n’s and calling women b’s — this has to be psychologically damaging to them,” Taylor said.
“It is irresponsible, when you consider how many murders there are in Gary and in Chicago. The black individuals that are supporting putting this music on the radio, obviously their families have not been affected by the crimes,” Taylor added.
No study has found a cause-and-effect link between violent rap videos and the increased homicides and violence among youth.
But common sense should tell us that it is not healthy emotionally for young people to be rocking out to songs about shooting people.
“I am not a psychologist, but any responsible black person would have to assume these lyrics are contributing to the mentality of our young people,” Taylor said.
For those who argue that it is the parents’ responsibility to monitor what their children are listening to on the radio, Aaron Ireland, an educator and mentor, sheds light on why that doesn’t always work.
“There is no lock button on the radio. There are parental locks on Internet, and parental locks on the TV, but nothing on the radio,” he pointed out.
“A lot of times our children are listening to pornographic music with a mindless materialistic content, drugs and murder. I don’t aim to censor the artist. I just aim to make it harder for kids to access the music,” said Ireland, founder of Lifting Ourselves Through US, known as LOTUS, a nonprofit mentoring organization.
“We would like to begin some discourse so we can re-establish what is right, so we can then point our community in that direction,” he said
That isn’t too much to ask.