Congress members urge hip-hop to self-regulate
By The Associated Press,
|Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
NEW YORK Members of Congress urged representatives of the hip-hop entertainment industry yesterday to better regulate the sex and violence in their records before Washington beats them to it.
"We do not know the hip-hop generation. We do not know the hip-hop industry. We feel that those who know themselves and those that know the industry can regulate it better," said Rep. Earl Hilliard, D-Ala., during the first day of the Hip-Hop Summit in New York.
The Recording Industry Association of America voluntarily puts parental advisory stickers on CDs it deems inappropriate for children. But Hilliard said: "We need to go to the next level and go beyond that."
He suggested a rating system similar to the movie industry's.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., recently introduced legislation that would give the Federal Trade Commission the authority under its false and deceptive advertising laws to act against entertainment companies that market "unsuitable" material to children.
The congressmen warned they could place more stringent restrictions on the industry.
"Washington can regulate you out of business if you do not have your act together," said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
Summit sponsor and rap mogul Russell Simmons said the purpose of the two-day conference was to address problems facing the hip-hop industry and to spur it to enact positive reforms.
"The theme of the summit is taking back responsibility," Simmons said in a sonicnet.com report. "We're preparing a list of things of how we plan to police ourselves in terms of how we market music."
Simmons plans to hold a news conference tomorrow announcing the initiatives developed during the summit, sonicnet.com reported.
Among the artists, music executives and lawmakers present for the first day of the conference was Luther "Luke" Campbell, whose raunchy lyrics during his 2 Live Crew days in the late 1980s and early '90s spawned a debate over free speech.
Campbell said he was disappointed by Lieberman's criticism of rap.
"We've got somebody, Lieberman, that we supported seriously in the election, as black people, and he's the one that's mainly attacking us. To me, that's really a slap in the face," Campbell said. "To now try and take food off our table and try and deaden our industry and try and put a whole lot of black people out of work, that's serious to me."
A spokesman for the former vice presidential candidate declined to comment.
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