Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Time to pay more than lip service to cleaning up airwaves

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A WHOLE lot of folks think it's cute to see young children twerking and singing along to sexually suggestive songs.

They laugh. Maybe post a YouTube video of it.

Not two-time Grammy winner Carvin G. (Ransum) Haggins.

After visiting a beauty salon in the Philly suburbs earlier this spring and watching a two-year-old girl mimicking Beyoncé's provocative dance moves and singing the very adult lyrics to Drunk in Love, Haggins got fed up and launched a grassroots campaign. Its purpose? To force radio stations to clean up the airwaves.

"I'm just coming as a concerned citizen saying, 'We've got to do something about the music. We've got to do something about how the music is getting to the people,'" Haggins, 45, said in a YouTube video.

"There are rappers saying, 'I dropped a molly in a girl's drink,'" Haggins added. "'She didn't even know. I took her home and had my way with her. She didn't even know.' Yo, that's date rape!... There's a child right now with that in his headphones saying that that's the cool thing to do because a rapper said it."

Haggins -- who has worked with Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Justin Timberlake and others -- organized a protest outside the studios of Philadelphia radio station Power 99 FM to protest filthy, violent lyrics in popular music.

We ought to get behind him. Putting filthy, misogynistic lyrics on the airwaves is unacceptable.

Take, for example, what Chris Brown spews in Loyal:

"... When a rich n-- -- want ya / And your n-- -- can't do nothing for ya / These hoes ain't loyal... These hoes ain't loyal / Just got rich / Took a broke n-- -- b---- / I can make a broke b-- -- rich / But I don't f-- with broke b----s."

"What type of lyric is that? What are you saying to our kids? Some kid is going to recite that. My mom ain't a b----. My daughter ain't a b----," Haggins said. "Why is it so free to say that word and disrespect women? And the sad part is women are singing along with these records like that's the thing to do."

The first time I saw those lyrics, they were on a young relative's Instagram page. When confronted, her excuse was that it wasn't her personal commentary but popular rap lyrics she'd heard on the radio and was merely reciting on social media. To her, the fact that Brown sings this mess on the radio makes it OK.

It's easy to see how a young mind could make such a leap, because the United States Federal Communications Commission regulates what comes across the airwaves south of the border.

And adults, older people she's been trained to look up to and respect, put this crap out for public consumption. And it's everywhere.

Take the song Partition by Beyoncé:

" ... Oh he so horny, yeah he want to f-- / He popped all my buttons and he ripped my blouse / He Monica Lewinsky'd all on my gown ..."

"What?!" said Haggins, a father of seven. "I don't want to see somebody's daughter in the car singing that song.

"Like, why is that cool that Beyoncé is telling these girls about how she's having oral sex? Nothing about that's cool. It ain't cool. It ain't sexy. It ain't fly. It's just a lack of creativity... and I feel like right now we're being treated like sex-slave beasts."

He likens commercial radio to drug dealers.

"You are dealing poison to our kids," said Haggins. "Y'all flipping these records back-to-back-to-back.

"You're pumping that poison into the heads of our kids when they're sitting with their headphones on. We need better music. We need better programming."

-- Philadelphia Daily News

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 16, 2014 D3

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