This post is designed to spark conversation around the image and impact of hip hop. Comments may be used during an upcoming workshop on the role public administrators play (can play) in hip hop culture.
Hip hop needs a PR manager. It needs someone to tell the haters, like Oprah and Barack Obama, that for all the negative stories there are plenty of good stories. Stories like how hip hop motivated young African Americans to vote during the 2000 election. Stories like Russell Simmons Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. Stories that showcase the political and social consciousness of the culture represented in music like Public Enemy’s Fight the Power and dead prez’s Let’s Get Free.
Hip hop needs someone to stand up for the messages and content in the music that reflect the struggles of the people. Hip hop needs someone to say that the music and culture help followers escape the harsh realities of everyday life. It needs someone to tell the world that it’s a lifestyle that has a following of ambitious women and men that positively contribute to society. It needs someone to speak of its history, which is deeply rooted in West African rhythms and African American music.
Hip hop needs a PR manager. A manager that will tell its story - the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
If it can find this person then the haters would understand that the music, culture, lifestyle called hip hop speaks to the changes that need to be made in America. They would understand how hip hop could help be a catalyst for change. They would understand that they need to embrace hip hop because it is here to stay.
Can hip hop count on you?
Take a look at this. Jeff Chang asserts that hip hop is getting a bad name because of the commercialization of the culture. I agree and would add:
- There is no excuse for bad music.
- Hip hop is bigger than music. We must evaluate hip hop as a culture, a lifestyle, not just as music.
- We can teach and learn from it. We can teach young boys what not to do and young girls how not to allow themselves to be treated. We can learn what is killing our communties and develop strategies to combat the problem.
Hip-hop may have found a PR Manager...or at least someone to stand up and speak some truth. Check it out.
The distinguished Cornel West has joined the discussion.
Thanks to the Smithsonian for giving hip-hop a chance, a voice, a rightful place in American history.
As I was reading my Daily Dog PR Biz report on the overwhelming increase of beverages on the market from the two leading Cola giants I ran across this:
“This spring, for example, Coke will launch Diet Coke Plus , a no-calorie drink fortified with vitamins and minerals such as B12 and zinc. This fall, Pepsi will roll out Tava , a caffeine-free, calorie-free drink with added vitamins including B3, B6 and E. As an image booster, Coke now refers to drinks as healthier-sounding "sparkling," rather than "carbonated," in press releases, earnings reports and other communications.”
I was bothered by the bolded statement because to me it implies that we, public relations professionals, have made conscious decisions to mislead people. That’s unethical. And we are all about ethical behavior, right?
After sitting on my soapbox I started thinking about my day-to-day activities. I too am guilty of trying to make things appear good. What does this say about me, our profession, and the professionals that represent it? Are we truly being ethical and can we truly say that we are not spin doctors?
I know in my heart that our motives are true and not laced with malice, but really…sparkling instead of carbonated for a healthier sound? We preach honesty at every turn so why not be honest about all aspects of the product?
What do you think?
The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court refused to disturb an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that sided with Philip Morris USA regarding light cigarettes. In a fraud class-action lawsuit the Court ruled that it was okay for Philip Morris to characterize cigarettes as light even though they were more toxic than regular cigarettes. The smokers that filed the claim said the term light inferred that the cigarettes were better than regular cigarettes and Morris should be held liable for any health-related issues because they didn't tell them that the light cigarettes weren't any healthier.
This move, to some, paints Philip Morris USA as the bad company. Why wouldn't they agree to pay the suit? Others say that the smokers knew the risks of cigarettes, light or not.
If you were PR counsel for Morris, how would you respond to this? Would you advise the company to let it die? Would you tell them to issue a statement? If so, what would it say? Would you work with them to send information to their shareholders? Would you advise that they now need to start putting a label on their light cigarettes? Or would you do all of the above (or something not listed)?
Let me know what you think.