In a recent National Action Network panel discussion on the entertainment industry, two young women had some tough questions for Radio One CEO Alfred C. Liggins III.
During the discussion, Mr. Liggins explained how Radio One came under fire from the community for replacing a gospel station with an all-news network in Houston, Texas, while continuing to broadcast their popular hip hop station. Although Liggins says he wishes he could have kept all of the stations, he has to worry about the company’s bottom line, and hip hop sells.
“I had to explain to them that there is a segment of the population that wants this music—your kids, the young adunts in your family,” Liggins told the crowd.
Liggins explained his decision, by noting that the hip hop station was “the number one station in the market,” and the company makes a lot of money from it.
After hearing Mr. Liggins’ comments, two young ladies—one 12, the other 17—pressed him to justify his position.
The 17-year-old challenged, “You said your radio station plays rap music because it makes money, but drug dealers sell drugs, does that necessarily make it right?”
The other young lady continued, “Rap music makes negative stereotypes in our communities, so we just want to know would you rather play music that degrades us and dumbs our African American people down just to make money?”
Mr. Liggins explained his position by saying that hip hop has created a great deal of economic stimulus for the black community, however he feels the media is to blame for elevating musical artists and entertainers as the most successful members of the African American community.
While many agree with these young ladies’ position, the majority continue to place the blame for the popularity of the negative images in hip hop on consumers. However, imagine if companies took responsibility for the work of their artists and refused to play songs that degrade and disrespect much of its buying audience.
What do you think?