Censorship, Race, and Rap Music

Explain how and why race was a factor in censoring rap music, but not country music, in the early 1990s and beyond. Analyse at least one musical example (and video) from each side of the coin to prove your points.
• Consider issues of race throughout popular music history, issues of expression and activism in art, and concerns regarding glorification of violence and misogyny in rap.
• Then compare the PMRC hearings to the Payola hearings of the late 1950s. What themes are similar? What had changed by the 1990s?
• Finally, consider these questions, and offer your own educated response: who should decide what we can and cannot listen to? Who should decide what kids can and cannot listen to? Is censorship of art (in this case, popular music) ever okay – why or why not?

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