Posted: Jul 24, 2007 6:08 am
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Rev. Al Sharpton, who has challenged the entertainment industry on denigrating lyrics, on Monday supported a state senator's idea to pull public investments from companies that won't clean up their act.
Holding the entertainment industry accountable will be a primary goal of the newest chapter of Sharpton's National Action Network, said the activist minister.
"We just want to have more responsible entertainment where we're not using language that's offensive to anybody."
"The idea of divesting New York State taxpayers' money from record companies that have a double standard when it comes to language is something that will be a priority," said Sharpton, who led the drive to have Don Imus fired from his syndicated radio show for calling the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos."
In April, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said the recording and broadcast industries should consistently ban three racial and sexist epithets from all so-called clean versions of rap songs and the airwaves. Expressing concern about the "growing public outrage" over the use of such words in rap lyrics, Simmons said the words "bitch," "ho" and "nigger" should be considered "extreme curse words."
"I remember many years ago when I would come to Buffalo, we dreamed of days of black empowerment," Sharpton said. "Now we have to make sure the conduct of our black citizens complements that achievement."
The Buffalo-Niagara Falls chapter is the 36th branch of NAN, which Sharpton founded to protect civil rights for minorities.