In response to BET‘s “Hip Hop vs. America” show in which a panel of Black Leaders, journalists, and MCs engaged in a frank discussion about the content of rap lyrics and imagery, Spelman University alumni Moya Bailey and Leana Cabral drafted an open letter to BET‘s CEO, Debra Lee, that will be in the Atlanta Daily Newspaper this week.

Expressing their outrage, the woman claim the show “Once again the voices of young black women were marginalized in preference for a largely older black male voice of authority. Even the women panelists who were present were talked over and addressed less.” 

As for the participating rappers, T.I. and Nelly, the Spelman grads say “…both Nelly and T. I. continued to skirt the issue of their own responsibility. Yes, America is racist and sexist. Yes, America is materialistic but that doesn’t make it right! That doesn’t mean that we as black women should have to negotiate a world that has historical (sic) portrayed us to be less than human and continues to do so in a genre that should counter that stereotype….why is it that the only way T. I. and Nelly can talk about or depict us are bitches and hos? How does framing the conversation as though they are not talking about us make it ok? If you are talking about any women in a derogatory way it’s a problem.”

It seems as if no one is safe from the stinging allegations from Bailey and Cabral, as they go on to name names of some of the top dogs in the label industry: “We understand that to some extent, rappers are the puppets and ideological whipping boys of a largely untargeted white capitalist power structure. We know that Philippe Dauman of Viacom , Doug Morris of Universal Music Group , and Rolf Schmidt-Holtz of Sony/BMG names aren’t often mentioned when we discuss the problematic state of rap music though we do realize and wish to hold them accountable for their own culpability in all of this. Unfortunately Nelly and T.I. missed an opportunity to recognize their own role in supporting and perpetuating misogyny in hip hop on the program. Their role may be that of individuals, but it is still crucially important. It is absurd for these artists not to recognize their complicity. Seduced by financial incentives, these artists are participating in the production and distribution of these images at the expense of all black people.”

This is not the first time Spelman students have voiced their outrage to Debra Lee and her associates.  Last Year, Spelman senior Angela Boudreaux penned a similar open letter, and followed it with a letter-writing campaign encouraging others to voice their disgust and boycott the network.  In the same campaign, Boudreaux praised the TV One network for countering the negative images in Black culture with more diverse and family-friendly content.

Lifetime Television has enlisted Grammy Award-winning R&B singer Mya for its 13th annual “Stop Breast Cancer for Life” campaign.  Mya, personally touched by the cause as her mother is a breast cancer survivor, sings the campaign’s first-ever theme song, “My Bra”.  The song, co-written specifically for Lifetime by  Grammy-winning producer/songwriter James Poyser (whom has also worked with Common, The Roots/Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill). The song is featured in various on-air and online elements of the campaign, including its programming centerpiece, the specially-themed Lifetime Original Movie Matters of Life & Dating, premiering Monday, October 22 at 9PM (ET/PT).

All proceeds from the sale of “My Bra” will go towards breast cancer research.

“Lip Gloss” artist Lil’ Mama is enjoying success. Not only is she happy about her October birthday, but she also shows excitement about a new “movement” she has helped bring to the music world.
 
“It’s major. [But] it don’t get crazy like that. I think if I don’t do it [relaxed], then I’ll take that day and use it in the wrong way. Celebrating the day I was born and being around the people I love will make me happy, seriously,” she said before her early October birthday.
 
But, she also spoke on her music and the birth of what she is calling a movement in the industry.
 
“The birth of hip-pop is more than just pop culture with the dancing and the singing and the rapping and the writing that I do,” she explained to MTV. “It’s that too, but it’s also my way of life.”
 
Is she a one hit wonder? Well, that is to be seen. Her next single, “Life”, will be out soon and that should help us see if she only has one hit or not. She recently spoke on the content of the new song.  
 
“‘Life’ is really a deep joint…I have so many joints on my album, but what makes them a part of the album is that people have a chance to get into you more. And they should get the album to get into you more. A lot of the singles are really fun and something that everybody is gonna love. But I also have faith in my deep records to come out [as singles] and one day I’m gonna see to it that [they do].”

Reported By: Aliya Ewing & Andres Tardio