Years before Flava Flav drooled over his harem on Vh1’s reality program “Flava of Love,” that gold-toothed grin spat rhymes with hip-hop’s political poet laureate Chuck D.
“Revolutionary Generation” from Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet demands women be respected. 20 years later, Flav makes his living sharing a house with half-naked women on national television.
Tonight, Tulane University’s Department of English will present a panel discussion and question-and-answer session to determine just what exactly the constant battering of misogynistic images and lyrics on our eyes and ears can and have done in our hip-hop-adoring world.
“There’s always been a misogynistic role in music,” says DJ Soul Sister, a New Orleans DJ and promoter and guest panelist. “ My issue with the culture is with the marketing — people who aim the music at younger and younger audiences.”
How about in cell phone ring tones, or video games?
“These products are aimed at the middle-school,” Soul Sister says. “There’s just more interest in money than there is in the community.”
Sex has been a part of hip-hop even before 2 Live Crew’s widely publicized bout with the American Family Association. Various groups and the outspoken public have labeled rappers as misogynists and thrown advisories and censorships left and right. But we’re still listening
Maybe it’s the current image of Flav that drove the final nail into the conscious voice of hip-hop, giving the hip-hop industry a fail-proof marketing cesspool hocking sex the way T and A sells Coors Light. There’s no fighting of a power. Even Flav as to admit: at Public Enemy’s reuniting performance in Chicago this summer, he just couldn’t resist plugging his show.
The panel will begin the discussion at 5 p.m. Other panelists include rapper Joe Blakk, LSU Director of African & American Diaspora Studies Angeletta KM Gourdine, Duke University professor Mark Anthony Neal, Tulane philosophy senior Benjamin Brubaker, former WYLD DJ Charles Belonge, and two seniors from Warren Easton High School. Shayne Lee will moderate.