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Oprah Responds To Hip-Hop Criticism


bigted

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Oprah Responds to Hip-Hop Criticism

By Chris Richburg and Clarence Burke Jr.

Date: 5/12/2006 06:15 PM

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is speaking out about the recent criticism she has received from the Hip-Hop community.

In the past few weeks, rappers Ludacris and 50 Cent have openly condemned Winfrey, who appeared on Ed Lover's Power 105.1 radio show yesterday (May 11) to defend her side of the story.

"I listen to some Hip-Hop. I've been accused of not liking Hip-Hop and that's just not true," she said. "I got a little 50 [Cent] in my iPod. I really do. I like 'In Da Club.' Have you heard the beat to 'In Da Club'? Love that, love Jay-Z, love Kanye, love Mary J. Mary J. is one of my friends."

The backlash against Winfrey sparked last year after Ludacris appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to promote his co-starring role in the film Crash.

While discussing the movie's racial subject matter with the other cast members, Winfrey interrogated Ludacris about his notoriously raunchy lyrics.

The rapper addressed the incident in the May issue of GQ Magazine, stating that Winfrey edited his comments out of the show.

He also revealed that he wasn't invited to appear on the show initially, and that he felt Winfrey's questioning was inappropriate considering the fact that he appeared on the show as an actor.

"What I got was that by having rappers on her show, she feels like she is empowering in them. It was like being at someone's house who doesn't really want you there," Ludacris told GQ. "I don't see why Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle, who I am huge fans of, it's OK for them to go on Oprah. They speak the same language as I do, but they do it through comedy, so I guess that's acceptable to her."

Winfrey said she and Ludacris continued their conversation after the show, as she attempted to explain why she put the rapper in the hot seat.

"I said 'Look Ludacris, you are so smart. You are one of the brilliant guys. I used to have the Klan on and the skinheads on and I looked out in the audience and I saw contact being made between the guys in the audience and the stage and they were like, 'Yeah get her, get her, get her, Bud,'" she said. "At that moment, I was doing nobody any good [by] putting those people on because I realized that that platform was being seen and heard by a lot of people who weren't as smart as I am.

"My idea was, I want y'all to know that this is what's going on," Winfrey continued. "And I said to Ludacris, 'A lot of people who listen to your music aren't as smart as you are. So they take some of that stuff literally when you are just writing it for entertainment purposes.'"

Ludacris isn't the only rapper who has claimed to be offended by Winfrey's actions, however.

50 Cent told the Associated Press that rappers are a rarity on her show.

"I think she caters to older white women." 50 said, adding that "Oprah's audience is my audience's parents. So, I could care less about Oprah or her show. I'm actually better off having friction with her."

While Winfrey expressed her love of Hip-Hop to Ed Lover, she also decried the misogyny prevalent in the music and stressed that there are many different aspects of Hip-Hop.

The media mogul said she personally felt the worldwide impact of rap during an encounter with a security guard for African political leader Nelson Mandela.

According to Winfrey, the guard greeted her group by saying "Hello n***as."

Winfrey explained to Ed Lover that the guard thought it was the norm because they watched videos and listened to rap music.

Lover later told Winfrey that he would never use the word 'b***h' again.

Hip-Hop's power is undeniable, Winfrey acknowledged, as she noted the music's growing influence years ago, as well as the accompanying responsibility.

"Years and years ago, Quincy Jones and I had this conversation about the evolution of Hip-Hop and what it really means to our culture," Winfrey said. "Hip-Hop is like jazz and gospel music, evolved from the people, a form of protest, a form of expression so you can't deny that, nor would I try. But I do believe there needs to be awareness of who we are, how we got here and what that means about staying here."

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Thanx 4 posting that. I side with Oprah on this. Ludacris and 50 Cent are in a position where they could make a difference in young people's lives. But they don't...they make watered down music with crappy lyrics that often glorify the wrong things in life. I don't respect them or their music. I know there are some Ludacris fans here...so don't take what i say 2 seriously. But if Oprah didn't invite him...he didn't need 2 be there. And Ludacris saying he waz there as an actor is really stupid. 2 say she only should have talked to about his acting is rediculous. Oprah is smart and does her part 2 change peoples lives. Ludacris...and especially 50 Cent are a waste 2 society.

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Actually, I side with Oprah too... and at the same tyme, I think Ludacris is a very talented artist. What he and other artists FAIL to understand, it Oprah's view on him being more 'responsible' in the position that he is. In my own opinion, the Rap Society (have u) as a whole, should start taking it upon themselves to stand out by making a difference in what they put out there. There is absolute no balance in the messages they put out there 'lyrically'... but as u say AJ, glorify things, that really impact on our younger generations, in a dreadful way.

dam...

They dont understand how MUCH they impact in such a negative way, they can be key factors to open up eyes of ppl that look up to them. theres alot of young guys that dont have positive role models, and they think all that CRAP some rappers spittin, is TRUTH and they way of life they should live, tho it may be just 'lyrics' they dont have the mentality to seperate 'lyrics' from truths which they may feel their 'idols' or role models speak thru their music.

some kids live out what they learn, and its sad to see so many young lives wasted, going thru life aimlessly without a clue of the true keys to success in life... so sad... I may be a single mom.. but il bust them TAILS ,... to keep my sons on the right path... yet try to intervene with shedding some light, in the best way possible coming from a woman, also trying to fill the role as 'dad'... not by choice but just circumstances...

i wish rappers would be more responsible, and think how they can make a difference... Theyre smart enough to become rich and famous, but if they're too narrowminded to comprehend Oprah's message for our youth... that makes them look like real dumb aZZes... :word:

ok im thru venting...

peace,

cookie

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I can understand Oprah's statement about rappers having more responsibility with their lyrics. I think we all agree on that point but(and I can't believe I'm saying this) 50 has a point.

If Oprah is a fan of hip-hop as she claims, how come she doesn't use her power(i.e. her show, her magazine and her production company) to put the shine on rappers who do have responsible and socially conscious music.

Have you seen Talib Kweli on Oprah? Mos Def? Common? Since she's such good friends with Will then why doesn't she have him on the show? She can talk about how much she "loves" hip-hop but actions speak louder than words for me. To have those type of rappers on her show would do so much good for the younger generation. Oprah might want to think about that while she's making her criticisms.

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To me, it sounds like she likes Hip-Hop, but that it doesn't have much 2 offer her. Which i can relate 2. Oprah has had FP on the show a few times. I have a video i taped back from 1993 where she had on TLC, Kris Kross, and Marky Mark + The Funky Bunch. She had each of them perform 2 songs (great performances from each group) and did lots of interviewing. U could tell she waz a big fan of the music...especially TLC's. U would see her in the audience singing along 2 the lyrics.

Oprah has a strict opinion on what she thinks is acceptable. She has alot of deserved power, and if she chooses 2 overlook a discusting person like 50 Cent...then so be it. Why put someone u don't repect out there and help their career?!? If Ludacris doesn't wanna be called out, then maybe he should make good music. If he get offended by what she said, then he has 2 agree with what she is saying 2 an extent.

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I think Ludacris got offended only because she put his tail on the spot nationwide. period. He knows that her point was strait target,... but he's got his lil street cred that he's tryna protect,..so ppl wont say hes going soft.

LUDACRIS!!! uZ a smart mane, but thas about as STUPID ya get bru. 4 real. .. tho im a ludacris fan,... cuz hes got madd talent, just dont digg all of his lyrical content...

Whatever happened when younger dudes would actually sit down and LISTEN to a few insightful seeds of wisdom that an older MORE accomplished woman is sharing? If some rappers would be brave enough to step out of that vicious 'cycle' of trying to top the next with his hard ill lyrics, thinkin they spittin 'fire',... yet burning the gap between reality and their lyrics? Rap even hiphop today has no representation of its grass roots, which is also unbelivably soul, and most rappers paint lyrical pictures that does not capture anything remotely representative of our 'roots'. All he had to do was just at least try to meet her half way and understand her point...

cookie

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Ok....Oprah put out her opinion regarding hip-hop and its negative and positive aspects and I think I respect Oprah for giving props to hip-hop. But if I remember correctly she edited out Ludacris' defense to his music in her show, unless she apologizes that was wack.

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First of all the thing is that I agree with a lot that Oprah says too but she named Jay-Z as one of her favorite rappers when she puts down Ludacris for his violent music and that comes off as hypocritical 'cause Jay-Z says b*** and raps about violence just as much as Ludacris does, they do have songs with messages though, if you listen to their albums it's not like all they do is rap about guns and sluts, they tell stories too, it ain't no different than Dr. Dre, he puts messages in his raps even though he makes songs about guns and sluts in between, it's just like a movie that has violence but it also has a story, it's not just violence, there's a plot to it, that makes what she said lose some credability, she could of said Common or Talib Kweli though if she really wanted music with substance, she probably don't even listen to hip-hop either, just naming some of the more popular rappers so she won't face no drama from the hip-hop media, she probably just named whatever platinum artist came to mind, come on now Oprah, now Ludacris should've been a bigger man and handled this behind closed doors, crying to the media about the way Oprah treated him on the show does not show maturity, the funny thing is that Luda's trying to hold on to street cred as being a tought guy but the majority of his audience is kids from the suburbs, lol, if he can't face criticism then he's not really mature either, instead of complaining about what Oprah said maybe he should make music with more substance, it wouldn't hurt to cut one song off of his album about his sexapades and add a song about how we should improve the community, and 50 Cent had nothing to do with this, Oprah didn't bring up his name at all, he should've kept his mouth shut, I don't think he was defending Ludacris, he just said something for attention again, he needs somebody to beef with for his next album, he has a serious attitude problem, that's why he's losing his fanbase with the G-Unit projects flopping on the charts and nobody seeing his movie...

If you really love hip-hop you know that not every rapper is violent, there's a lot of positive rappers that don't get played on the radio, somebody with Oprah's power could help them get exposure, put a positive rapper on her show that's getting no exposure right now, hip-hop could be more powerful with more positive influences out there on television and the radio but you can't say that they're bringing the youth down, it's entertainment, kids might see violent movies too, parents have to raise their kids, I mean if we had more responsible mothers like 3cookies then there'd be less problems with our youth, something's wrong if an entertainer has to raise your child....

Edited by bigted
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You cant blame music for crazy kids. Chris Rock said it before, I say it now. I grew up listening to Ja Rule, Biggie etc. I dont think I went wrong. The kids who do bad stuff have other problems, that dont have to do with the music.

What Oprah did with Luda was redicoulus to me. But well, I still respect her. This whole issue is redicioulus, let it die.

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I definitely agree with TopDawg on this one. If anything, she's not exposed to the Hip Hop she'd more than likely support in this day and age. Will would've been perfect on Oprah for his "Tell Me Why" release. (but that never happened)Dave Chappelle would've been good being back on and talking about his Block Party movie (which featured a mass of quality music) That's one of the many things that's cool about Dave. It really was "Chappelle's Show", and he did what he wanted, said what he wanted, put who he wanted on the show. How often out of Oprah's day does she think about Hip Hop? Probably not enough to search online for something she won't see on tv. She just doesn't know, I think. And even if she didn't like Hip Hop, what would be wrong with that? She can maybe rightfully say "I don't like Hip Hop nowadays." And there is an audience out there who would understand her point.

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Oprah doesn't have to like hip-hop either if she don't want to, that's her choice, but she should learn a lil' bit about it before she goes criticising, it's just like when Bill O'Reilly criticised the hip-hop community for making violent and sexual music just because he had problems with Ludacris advertising Pepsi, Ludacris doesn't represent the whole hip-hop community, there's Common, Mos Def, Talib, Little Brother, KRS-ONE, Rakim, etc. who don't make violent and sexual music but Bill O'Reilly wouldn't know 'cause they're not on TV that much or at all in some cases, you can't go by BET or MTV just to find hip-hop, that's like if President Bush makes a stupid statement and other countries might look on and think that all Americans think like that but that's not true either, one person doesn't reflect everybody, everybody's different, hip-hop is diverse as music gets, every artist is individual, btw Kanye West was on Oprah performing "Hey Mama" when his album came out....

Wasn't the crime rate high 20 years ago when Run-Dmc was the highest selling rap artists or 15 years ago when MC Hammer was on top wasn't there drugs and violence then too? It doesn't matter how clean the music is there is always gonna be violence, you can't blame 50 Cent for the crime rate just 'cause he puts it in his music, even if Hammer came back the crime rate would be the same as it is now, I think kids are just more entertained by violence than anything else, a lot of them find rappers who don't rap about violence corny and that's why Will and Common are not as popular to them as 50 Cent and Eminem is to them,Now those who don't fit into that commercial audience respect Will and Common more than 50 and Eminem 'cause those who have love for the rap/hiphop game want more substance, there just seems to be not enough rap/hiphopheads to make a change right now though, that needs to change, it has to be cool to rap about something else than violence in order for their to be a change of the playlists on radio...

It's just like how violent video games are the most popular, it won't really make them bad people though if parents tell them it's only entertainment, those who go to violence go because nobody raises them so they don't know anything, it's better for kids to sit around and play video games or listen to music at night then it is for them to run the streets where there might drug dealers hanging in the allies, they'd get into more trouble that way....

Edited by bigted
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To me, it sounds like she likes Hip-Hop, but that it doesn't have much 2 offer her.
I think that this is exactly it... She likes hip hop, but it's obviously not her thing. While she may enjoy listening to it when she hears it, she probably wouldn't listen to it of her own free will.

Actually, I side with Oprah too... and at the same tyme, I think Ludacris is a very talented artist. What he and other artists FAIL to understand, it Oprah's view on him being more 'responsible' in the position that he is. In my own opinion, the Rap Society (have u) as a whole, should start taking it upon themselves to stand out by making a difference in what they put out there. There is absolute no balance in the messages they put out there 'lyrically'... but as u say AJ, glorify things, that really impact on our younger generations, in a dreadful way.

dam...

They dont understand how MUCH they impact in such a negative way, they can be key factors to open up eyes of ppl that look up to them. theres alot of young guys that dont have positive role models, and they think all that CRAP some rappers spittin, is TRUTH and they way of life they should live, tho it may be just 'lyrics' they dont have the mentality to seperate 'lyrics' from truths which they may feel their 'idols' or role models speak thru their music.

some kids live out what they learn, and its sad to see so many young lives wasted, going thru life aimlessly without a clue of the true keys to success in life... so sad... I may be a single mom.. but il bust them TAILS ,... to keep my sons on the right path... yet try to intervene with shedding some light, in the best way possible coming from a woman, also trying to fill the role as 'dad'... not by choice but just circumstances...

i wish rappers would be more responsible, and think how they can make a difference... Theyre smart enough to become rich and famous, but if they're too narrowminded to comprehend Oprah's message for our youth... that makes them look like real dumb aZZes... :word:

ok im thru venting...

peace,

cookie

Word... Cookies said everything that I would have said...

I think Ludacris got offended only because she put his tail on the spot nationwide. period. He knows that her point was strait target,... but he's got his lil street cred that he's tryna protect,..so ppl wont say hes going soft.

LUDACRIS!!! uZ a smart mane, but thas about as STUPID ya get bru. 4 real. .. tho im a ludacris fan,... cuz hes got madd talent, just dont digg all of his lyrical content...

Whatever happened when younger dudes would actually sit down and LISTEN to a few insightful seeds of wisdom that an older MORE accomplished woman is sharing? If some rappers would be brave enough to step out of that vicious 'cycle' of trying to top the next with his hard ill lyrics, thinkin they spittin 'fire',... yet burning the gap between reality and their lyrics? Rap even hiphop today has no representation of its grass roots, which is also unbelivably soul, and most rappers paint lyrical pictures that does not capture anything remotely representative of our 'roots'. All he had to do was just at least try to meet her half way and understand her point...

cookie

...twice, lol.

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Guest VAsFinestRenagade

well 50 beef with her is dat she said every women between 35 and 55 to support the Games beef, she is usin the same thing rap uses contreversy cuz it sells. am i wrong?

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i don't have too much of an opinion on this since i don't watch a whole lot of Oprah and i don't listen to a whole lot of Ludacris. i think it's ok if she called out Ludacris for his lyrical content about women if that offended her personally. i think going into the violence thing might be going a little far. i agreed with this quote from Ted:

If you really love hip-hop you know that not every rapper is violent, there's a lot of positive rappers that don't get played on the radio, somebody with Oprah's power could help them get exposure, put a positive rapper on her show that's getting no exposure right now, hip-hop could be more powerful with more positive influences out there on television and the radio but you can't say that they're bringing the youth down, it's entertainment, kids might see violent movies too, parents have to raise their kids, I mean if we had more responsible mothers like 3cookies then there'd be less problems with our youth, something's wrong if an entertainer has to raise your child....

studies have showed that most kids aren't influenced by violent messages in music. i know i listen some of that music and i listen to my morals and values first before i listen to what the artist is saying. i mean, if the kids do something because of what an artist says it's because they had bad parenting or have had emotional problems in their lives or they have something mentally wrong with them. unfortunately, bad parenting and emotional problems seem to be increasing among teens these days compared to 20 years ago. in my opinion tho, any kid that commits and act of violence because of a rapper's words should get help because it's not normal.

don't get me twisted either, i don't support all that fake stuff in artists albums, but they are entertainers and thats just part of it and today its all about the money and thats what sells.

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