Did a quick Q/A with BlackWeb2.0 founder Angela Benton for my FastCompany Blog. I’ve always thought the site had an interesting and wide perspective of what’s going on, and has an interesting edit focus that’s a cross between tech and culture.
You couldn’t miss the story at Yahoo — Russell Simmons now advocates leaving some words out of the Hip Hop vernacular. So I guess we should thank Imus for all this.
Hip Hop has been billed as street poetry or the authentic voice from the ‘hood. But moguls like Jay Z, Sean Combs, and Dr. Dre live pretty far from the ‘hood, but still mine the same territory as guys hawking mix-tapes — they use the same language to maintain credibility with the core audience. Or so the story goes.
So Simmons public break with that is positive but…I mean it’s positive to perhaps let kids know that there is some credible adult in the Hip Hop world that thinks…err…says it’s not the right way to speak. As with everything associated with the whole Imus affair, the idea of policing thought and then speech is ultimately a no-win — does the market decide by not tuning in or do we legislate speech? It looks slippery at best, with a lot of people jockeying to be seen as showing up on the right side of the fence.