A coalition of women's groups and civil rights organizations plans a protest today at the annual shareholders meeting of Viacom over sexually explicit lyrics in rap and hip hop music videos played on the company's cable channels MTV and BET. "Imus was a wake up call for us," Melanie Campbell of the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation was quoted as saying on BlackAmericaWeb.com, the web portal run by syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner.
According to BlackAmericaWeb, both Janice Mathis, southern regional director of Rainbow PUSH, and E. Faye Williams, executive director of the National Congress of Black Women, are Viacom shareholders, so they may attempt to address the annual meeting at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City. Various sororities, the YWCA and the National Organization for Women are among the groups in the coalition protesting today against the song lyrics.
TVBR observation: The comment that got Don Imus taken off radio and TV has reinvigorated activists who want to hold corporate bosses to account for rap and hip hop lyrics that are indecent and/or denigrate women. We recall the protests that C. Delores Tucker, then head of the National Congress of Black Women, led in the early 1990s in Washington, DC to try to draw congressional attention to the issue. And today's protests may bring a flashback to when Tucker bought shares of Time Warner so she could stand up at the company's annual shareholders meeting to read aloud some of the offensive lyrics from songs the company was selling. Time Warner no longer owns a record label, although it doesn't appear that Tucker's protests had much to do with the decision to sell that business. C. Delores Tucker died two years ago, but it appears that new life has been breathed into the cause she cared so much about. Whether her successors in the crusade will have any more success than she did remains to be seen.