New Orleans (Nov. 15, 2012) – Calling women “bitches and ho’s” appears to be what it takes to be a successful hip-hop artist in today’s world, panelists agreed during “Hip-Hop and Politics: Our Lives through Spoken Words” forum Oct. 17.
Organized by Jordan Kilson, a junior political science major from Los Angeles, and classmates as part of a special topics class, the panel included Dr. Andre Perry, associate director for educational initiatives at the Loyola Institute; Nilah Ricco, chemist and business owner; Lionel King, policy and research director for the Orleans Public Education Network; Wesley Bayas III, director of Stand for Children; Kevin Griffin, co-founder of 2 cent; and self-described hip-hop feminist Dr. Rashida Govan, director of policy and research for the Orleans Public Education Network, or OPEN.
All the panelists agreed that in today’s hip-hop society, degrading women seems to be the “cool” thing to do.
Govan said she would never support an artist who “blatantly disrespects” her.
William “Deuce” Powell, a junior music industry major from New Orleans and a member of Raw Revolution, took issue with a statement from a panelist that life is full of goals, but being an entertainer isn’t one of them.
Panelist Ricco agreed with Powell, saying, “If you want to be an entertainer, you should be able to be just that.”
Dr. Walter Kimbrough, Dillard University president, spoke about the effect the early days of hip-hop had on his life growing up. He said he wore a “Public Enemy” shirt with with the logo depicting a black man in the crosshairs of a sniper’s rifle, which articulated the group’s message and music.
“This wasn’t just a shirt; it meant something if you had this on,” said Kimbrough.
Kilson said the goal of the program was to “speak to our youth about politics in a way that would appeal to them.” It included performances of poetry by Dillard alum Lawantai Hudson, along with music from rap-group Raw Revolution and artist-performer Bijan Claybrook, a junior music major from Los Angeles. An art exhibit was on display outside the forum.