By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is home to a rapidly growing grassroots movement to tackle vulgar lyrics in hip hop music.
A Grammy award winning songwriter is leading the effort, starting with urban radio stations right here in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia-bred producer Carvin Haggins began his career as a hip-hop artist and then worked in urban radio.
Mentored by DJ Jazzy Jeff, he’s collaborated with superstars like Will Smith and Justin Timberlake.
But as an artist, father and citizen, he says he feels compelled to speak out against the lyrics broadcast over the air on local urban radio.
He believes these lyrics are having a negative impact on the African American community.
“It’s degrading it’s, disrespectful, it’s misogyny,” Haggins says, “it promotes gun violence, it promotes drug abuse, it promotes suicide and our kids are listening to this 24 hours a day.”
So Haggins took action, launching the website “www.RageAgainsttheRatchet.com” calling out Philadelphia’s urban radio stations for playing risque lyrics.
“Radio is the gatekeeper, they are the ones that bring the music directly to the people,” says Haggins, “if they promote it long enough, if they play it long enough, people will take it. They are going to have to change what they are giving or go out of business.”
Over the past few weeks, Haggins started an online petition and now they are taking their protest to the streets.
“We protested in front of Power 99 this weekend and we are extending this protest to every radio station in Philadelphia and we are going to every urban radio station in the US,” says Haggins, “I need them to be more responsible.”
Haggins acknowledges that urban radio stations mute curse words and most vulgar language, but says when the lyrics themselves are vulgar the message still seeps through.
“For example, in Beyonce’s song “Partition” she says– ‘driver close the partition please…you don’t want to see Yonce on her knees..mascara messed up, lipstick smudged, he’s so horney that he wants to (bleep),'” he says, “really, you don’t think kids know what that means?? This is Black music right now, urban music.”
Parents, young people and many from the public have come out to protest and are logging on to support Haggins’ message and he expects more will join in.
“I’ve got a lot of feedback from the kids who want the music to change, parents who want the music to change,” he says.
So far, Haggins says he has met with or is scheduling meeting with programming directors for several urban stations in Philadelphia.
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