, Kevin Liles
, Dr. Ben Chavis
, and Russell Simmons
in a continues discussion around Don Imus' racist/misogynistic comments[Side Note: Kevin, boo, you lookin' a little sickly!]
Russell emphasizes that the music does not create the conditions of the world, or celebrate them, but rather it discusses them frankly. "The hip-hop community is a mirror, a reflection of the dirt we overlook—the violence, the misogyny, the sexism. They need to be discussed."
Kevin says he mentors young artists to help them deal with growing up and to see and to communicate differently. "Hip-hop is culture, not color. It's the spirit in which you live your life, by saying, 'I still have a dream. By any means necessary I will make it happen.'"
"Hip-hop artists are not responsible for what Don Imus did. Don Imus was a racist. Don Imus was a sexist, and there's no way that Don Imus can blame hip-hop for what he did," Dr. Chavis says. "That is not to excuse hip-hop. Hip hop is not perfect. We've got to make it better. But we make hip-hop better by making society better, because hip-hop reflects the contradictions of society. There's too much poverty, there's too much injustice, and there's too much bad treatment of women in our society."
Though he loves the music and the culture, Common admits that it has taken a turn. "Hip-hop has been this child that we had. Our elders kind of abandoned the child at a young age and said, 'Okay, we don't really understand this. We don't relate to this,'" he says. "And now as hip-hop has evolved and grown up, our parents are expecting hip-hop to be perfect and to be right."
A group of Spelman University students and former NAACP president Bruce Gordon was also there to give their opinion in the townhall...VISIT OPRAH FOR MORE