Rev. Al Sharpton organized rallies in more than 20 cities in the U.S. on Tuesday (August 7) demanding that rappers cease use of the “N-word” and degrading lyrics in their music.
Calling it the “Day of Outrage,” Sharpton’s National Action Network led protests in New York; Los Angeles; Detroit; Chicago; Houston; Richmond, Va.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and other cities.
Sharpton himself was in Detroit for the day’s rallies. “I’m here in Motown in Detroit as a symbol of when music was not denigrating and was entertaining,” Sharpton said.
Legislation proposed in New York state calls for $3 billion in pension fund investments to be redirected away from music companies that distribute rap music with the offending lyrics, he said.
“Every record company has what they call a lyrics committee, where they screen lyrics to make sure they’re not against police, or gays, or Jews. Well how come they’re clearing lyrics against blacks and women?” Sharpton asked.
“We’re talking about Viacom, Time Warner, Vivendi,” three major music companies that he says would be pressured to clean up their musicians’ lyrics if threatened by the withdrawal of government-run pension fund investments, according to Reuters. “The opposition has tried to use the argument of free speech, but they don’t have the freedom to use peoples’ pension funds against their own will and interest.”
The Reverend asserted that if record companies don’t censor their hip hop lyrics, state governments should divest pension funds from the record labels.