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Bernie Hayes
We should remember that African-American music played an important role in the Civil Rights Movement. Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna’ Come” and Curtis Mayfield’s “Keep on Pushing,” “We’re a Winner” and “People Get Ready” were songs that were labeled “Soul.”

Motown, Stax, Atlantic, Hi and other labels created a musical tradition that grew more valuable and exceptional with time. It started what is now referred to as “Southern Soul.” Subsequently, in the mid-1980s, the music industry was shaken up with the birth of gangster rap.

The late C. Delores Tucker, founder/chair of the National Political Congress of Black Women, conducted a passionate national campaign against obscenities in rap music, in 1993 calling it “pornographic filth” and saying it was demeaning and offensive to Black women.

Tucker passed out leaflets with lyrics from gangsta rap CDs and urged people to read them aloud, picketed stores that sold the music, handed out petitions and demanded congressional hearings.

Can you imagine that today many record companies that target the “Southern Soul” or African-American market will not accept some recordings unless they are filled with lewd or suggestive lyrics?

Soul music led to Hip-Hop, R&B and Old School, so why must it be disrespectful? Disrespect can exhibit itself in all sorts of ways in the music business, and to disrespect an entire genre is to act in an insulting way toward the African-American community.


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