TRENTON – Senate President Pro Tem Shirley K. Turner, today urged national African-American leaders and corporate America to condemn rap music performers who use sexist lyrics in their songs as “degrading to women, demeaning to the positions men should be filling in family life and disappointing as role models for young people.”
Senator Turner, D-Mercer, who is an African American, said the professional demise of talk radio host Don Imus for sexist and racist remarks about players on the Rutgers Women Basketball Team “must lead to a wholesale purge from popular culture of references to women as ‘ho’s’ and ‘bitches.’”
“I find it hypocritical of African American leaders and corporate America to condemn Don Imus for his admitted failure to respect the outstanding young women of the Rutgers team, but to tolerate and to profit from the same degrading references used by some rap performers,” said Senator Turner, who also is Chair of the Senate Education Committee.
The Democratic Senator said she would not allow her children to play offensive rap music at home and she called on parents everywhere to demand that their children refer to women with respect.
“We have to make it clear that we won’t tolerate such degrading references to women whether they’re coming from a white talk radio host or a black rap performer,” said Senator Turner. “This issue has to move us to withhold our support from companies making literally billions of dollars annually from a music industry which is tolerating hatred, verbal abuse to women and blatant sexism.”
Meanwhile, Senator Turner applauded the “dignity, intelligence and self respect” demonstrated by members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team as well as by their coach, Vivian Stringer.
“The community of Rutgers University has turned a negative into a positive by letting these women speak out for themselves and effectively rebut the insults of Imus,” Senator Turner said. “
Senator Turner made it clear that she is not against all rap music, but only those performers who insist on degrading women and using racial and ethnic slurs.
“As an African-American parent, grandparent, educator and state Senator, I think we should now send word to those in the rap music industry who continue to degrade women that, “It’s over for you too,’” Senator Turner said.