Pastor fights Hip Hop's "stereotype of women - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pastor fights Hip Hop's "stereotype of women

This past weekend thousands of Mid-Southerners rocked on the river to the sounds of hip hop superstar Nelly. But while his music was heating up the crowd, the debate is also heating up over how he and other rappers portray women in their videos.

"I said it must be your ass, cause it ain't your face... I need a tip drill," says the line in one song. It was that video that mobilized what some are calling the greatest cultural movement of the new century: the fight to change how women are portrayed in the lucrative world of rap music. This scene, too racy to show... has gotten particular attention.

"There is video of Nelly swiping a credit card through a girl's behind, and that is vulgar. That is ridiculous. You see one fully dressed man, with 15 or 20 half naked women trying to get his attention, and what we're saying to women is... You're much more than your behind," said Pastor Adrian Rodgers of the Fullness of Joy Church.

Pastor Adrian Rodgers organized a protest of a recent Nelly concert in Jonesboro. He says the common use of certain language and images has resulted in a generation of women who don't respect themselves.

"I'm just 40... I'm not that old, but when I was growing up, if you called a girl what rhymes with witch, she was ready to kick her shoes off, and scratch your eyes out... Well now, in this generation, they call each other that, they answer to that," said Rodgers.

In fact, the call for change has gone nationwide. In January, Essence magazine launched a campaign called "take back the music." In the first month alone their website got a million hits.

"This is not an attack. This is an act of love. We love the music, and we love the culture, and that's why we have to step in," said Michaela Davis of Essence Magazine. But what about the fact that there's obviously an appetite for this music. Hip hop is a $10-billion a year industry, and record execs say artists and producers are simply giving the public what they want. Pastor Rodgers admits they're making money--but at what cost?

"When he walks around with a band around his head, he's making money when our young boys imitate him, they get kicked out of school," said Rodgers. "When our young ladies think that all they're worth is their body, they end up having babies... They're on welfare... They're living in the project, so while he's making money, what is it doing for the world?"

Nelly's publicist declined Action News 5's requests for an interview, however, he has previously released a statement saying he respects women, and that his videos are about artistic expression.

Meanwhile, you can find out more about Essence Magazine's Take Back the Music campaign by clicking here.

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