Kids Speak out against the Music Industry’s Negative Influence on Youth

By Sebastien Elkouby

In the last few weeks, everyone from CNN and the Huffington Post to popular rappers and grassroots activists has had something to say about the recent Rick Ross controversy.  Many have voiced their outrage at Rick Ross’ violent and misogynist lyrics, including Reebok which terminated their endorsement deal, while a handful of idiots have made asses of themselves by attempting to defend the rapper’s right to make light of rape.

Unfortunately, amidst heated public dialogue, the voices of the ones we ultimately claim to be advocating for have been left out. As concerned adults, we’ve used countless media outlets to talk about the rap industry’s negative influence on young people but have somehow forgotten to include their voices in the discussion.

To provide balance, I interviewed students from the Global Awareness through Hip Hop Culture program to give them the opportunity to share their thoughts regarding Rick Ross, rap music and the mainstream music industry’s role in promoting negative messages and images.

Don’t let the industry fool you into thinking that what they market is a simple case of supply and demand. Don’t let the industry mislead you into thinking that they’re just giving rap fans the kind of music they want. There’s another side to the story and my students were more than happy to speak out. Here’s what they had to say.

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Sebastien Elkouby is a Hip Hop Culture historian and award-winning educator. He is part of a national collective set up to hold the music industry accountable for promoting negative content. Check out his educational program, Global Awareness Through Hip Hop Culture and his blog, Contact him at [email protected] or on Twitter @SebIsHipHop.