By Carter Maness
Veteran comedian and entertainer Steve Harvey recently weighed-in on the state and influence of hip-hop on society in an interview with MTV News. Saying he respects the genre for its artistry and business potential, Harvey said it was time to take stock of how rappers treat women in their lyrics. We think Lupe Fiasco would agree with this.
Harvey praised hip-hop for its ability to bring people, particularly African-American males, from poverty to riches. “Hip-hop is a beautiful thing,” he said. “I think that the music genre itself has created more millionaires than any other music genre before it, especially in our community.”
But with success comes responsibility. According to Harvey, the amount of young listeners learning about the world from MCs like Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Ludacris and Lil Wayne is so staggering that there’s an increased need to be careful and enlightened with lyrics. “I think that we as the African-American men in hip-hop, we have a greater responsibly because we have the ears of so many millions of our young people,” he said. “And they listenin’.”
For Harvey, it’s not about the curse words or crass humor. He places himself in the “top 5” on those fronts as a comedian. It’s about degradation of women. Harvey points out that rap is the only genre that regularly puts down women, and he thinks artists need to step-up and change course.
“We got to stop the disrespect of our women in our music,” he said. “We the only ones that do it. Japanese people don’t do it. Rock ’n’ rollers don’t do it. Jewish people don’t do it. You know, Latino men don’t do it. Cubans don’t do it they music. Mexicans don’t do it in they music. I ain’t ever heard no Swedish group do it. Why we so hateful towards ourself, towards our sisters?”
He concluded with a strong argument, saying that if rappers would just flip what they were saying and apply it to their daughters, sisters and mothers, they would understand the hurtful implications of degrading and hateful language towards women.