The NAACP 'Wrong' Image Awards

Mar 01, 2011, 18:22 ET from Enough Is Enough Campaign for Corporate Responsibility in Entertainment

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 20-year campaign to challenge offensive lyrics and derogatory images in urban contemporary music will encounter a monumental setback this Friday, March 4, 2011 during the NAACP's 42nd Annual Image Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and airing on Fox.  The nation's oldest civil rights organization has nominated several hip hop artists (Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Diddy Dirty Money, Kanye West, and B.O.B.) whose adult and sexually explicit lyrics have shocked advocates fighting for decency in the music industry.   The Enough Is Enough Campaign for Corporate Responsibility in Entertainment is among several organizations that has taken a hard stance against the glorification of lyrical content that promotes violence, demeans and sexually objectives women, promotes drug use and criminal activity, and refers to today's youth as pimps and gangster.  Even more troubling to observers is the fact that the NAACP ceremonially buried the "N" word in July 2007, and yet, many of its Image Award nominees unashamedly use the "N" word and other derogatory and offensive language in their music.

According to Rev. Delman Coates, Organizer of the Enough Is Enough Campaign for Corporate Responsibility in Entertainment, and Senior Pastor of the Mt. Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton, MD., this year's Image Award nominations are a travesty and reflect a lack of leadership on such an important cultural issue.  According to Rev. Coates, "We were led to believe that the NAACP's 2007 funeral for the 'N' word was intended to represent a broader stance against the glorification of offensive themes and lyrics in today's popular music, themes that are contrary to the principles and values of the civil rights movement.  It is unconscionable that the NAACP would sully its brand, squander its legacy, and take such a stand contrary to the aspirations and dreams of the mainstream of the African-American community."

According to the NAACP, the Image Awards is a "multi-cultural awards show celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors."  Despite the commercial success of the nominees in the recording category, it is inconceivable how the NAACP substantiates and justifies such nominations in light of its history, mission, and youth programs.  Says Rev. Coates, "There are serious issues here with these nominations in light of the stated mission of this program.  These nominations represent a lack of vision and a flawed process that must be evaluated and changed.  This Friday's awards show also taints the brands of all of the corporate sponsors associated with this program.  While artists are free to produce their own art, it is not acceptable for public corporations and established civil right organizations to sanction the kinds of lyrics promoted by some of these artists.  The NAACP should be ashamed for not using this platform to profile the numerous positive hip hop/R&B artists that are out there today.  These are the wrong images for a civil rights organization to nominate and endorse." 

The Enough Is Enough Campaign for Corporate Responsibility in Entertainment is (1) calling for the NAACP to publicly explain how the lyrical content of the nominated artists is consistent with its mission and that of the Image Awards show, (2) calling for corporate sponsors of the NAACP Image Awards (FedEX, Well Fargo, Walgreens, Chrysler, UAW, Bank of America, Southwest Airlines, Ford Motor Company, AT&T, etc.) to explain why they are sponsoring a program that endorses such lyrical content, (3) calling on all citizens to contact the NAACP and awards show sponsors to express their outrage about these nominations, and (4) calling on other civil rights organizations and leaders to take a public stance against the NAACP's endorsement of such lyrical content.

SOURCE Enough Is Enough Campaign for Corporate Responsibility in Entertainment