REJECT INAPPROPRIATE MESSAGES AND VIOLENCE IN RAP & HIP-HOP
Author Jason Irby continues his effort to bring awareness to the controversial stances taken by sports leagues regarding promoting violent and inappropriate music.
Irby’s latest event encouraging youth to make wise choices is the Awareness, Wellness and Choices Fair to Stop Violence. This event will take place on September 20, 2014, at 217 North Main Street in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
The fair is in support of Irby’s latest book in the Love Within Life Series: So You Want to Stop Violence? Arkansas Senator Stephanie Flowers, whose office is the location for the event, believes in the man behind the cause.
“When he puts his mind and effort in it, he gets things done,” she said. “I admire him for that and feel fortunate to know him. He makes things happen. He has that energy. He’s going to accomplish what he sets out to do. The event will be a positive thing. We will see a difference because of it,” says Senator Flowers.
Irby’s event comes at a time when the National Football League (NFL) is in the spotlight for its handling of football players’ violent behavior off-the-field.
The indefinite suspension of Ray Rice for a violent altercation with his then fiancé underscores the violent imagery and experience of professional sports. Improper behaviors have become more prevalent today and stand in stark contrast to the family-friendly entertainment these sports organizations seek to provide as well as the league’s personal conduct policy.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has recently come under fire for his initial two-game suspension of Ray Rice. Goodell attempted to pacify the critics by revealing a harsher penalty plan for domestic violence incidents. The plan, which was implemented after the Rice decision, calls for a six-game suspension for first-time offenders, and a lifetime ban for second offenses.
In a statement issued to all thirty-two NFL teams, Goodell admitted his initial action regarding the Rice decision was inapt. “I didn’t get it right,” stated Goodell. However, it was only after TMZ released the video recording of Rice striking his fiancé that Rice was suspended indefinitely from the league.
The NFL only acquiesced to the pressure of the public after a collective and steady outcry from the public.
The passivity that the NFL displayed in enforcing punishment is the same attitude the league has towards the promotional use of violent and inappropriate music.
Irby continues his effort to bring attention to the issue with his second event this year.
The first event took place on June 14t,h at the William F. Laman Library in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
The event featured presentations by several community leaders, including representatives from the North Little Rock Police Department, North Little Rock Fire Department, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
“Even something as innocent as the music the played during the 2014 NBA playoffs may cause patrons and parents to pause if you hear the unedited version. A song called “Timber” by popular reggaeton and hip-hop artist Pitbull featuring Ke$sha includes the line ‘let’s make a night you won’t remember’. In other words, let’s get so intoxicated and wasted that you will not recall the evening. The lyrics are different for the NFL version, but the message is there for the youth to hear on the radio. The problem with the message is the way that it is juxtaposed with the message of having a family and youth atmosphere that the sports leagues endorse. The NBA Cares and the NFL PLAY 60 programs respectively tout the leagues as being a positive influence on the community and as a source promoting the benefits of physical exercise for youths. How can those same leagues encourage youth to party so hard that they don’t remember? In other words, live a lifestyle of get high, get wild, get wasted,” Irby said.
Irby also cites the NFL draft music as an example of what the league uses for promotion. The music is just one of the ways that youth try to identify with their favorite sports teams and players.
“The NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA and other sport leagues are respected and supported, that is why they should take the next step in assuring fans and supporters that they can be trusted to uphold standards and integrity by rejecting the use of inappropriate hip-hop songs that disrespect women and disregards social policy standards ,” Irby said.
Popular players like Minnesota Viking Adrian Peterson, who missed playing time after facing child abuse charges, Carolina Panther Greg Hardy who is appealing a conviction with two counts of domestic assault against his girlfriend, or San Francisco 49er Ray McDonald who is being investigated for an incident with his pregnant girlfriend.
The common theme in all of these separate issues is the violence that the players have shown in each situation. It is the effect of this violence that Irby wants to highlight as he encourages youth to be aware of alternative choices. With his book and efforts, the author endorses wellness as an option for the youth.
While some fans continue to wear suspended players’ jerseys to NFL games, Irby wants to urge youth to make positive choices.
Choices not found in some messages given in hip-hop music or made by some professional athletes.