Modern music is seen and heard as too explicit for audiences. This is not true however since, the sing has a, some of the songs are life lessons or realizations about how the artist sees themselves or how others see them and it’s a way to express themselves.
Censoring music would lead to the artist who wrote it not be able to tell her fans what happened in her past, or how they wish to be perceived. By censoring the lyrics, you lose the meaning that the artist wanted us to see. Monifah was a victim of the censorship. According to Anderson Jones’s “Invisible Lover,” “When Monifah’s video for her new single ‘I Can Tell’ debuted on Black Entertainment Television’s Midnight Love show …But her video faded into another song her friend noticed that the last few images were missing” (p.93). This led to the singer going to the company to confront them about the mistake, however it was not a mistake they purposely faded into another song for which they though was a good reason. The video was going to have a twist ending that suggested that her boyfriend was cheating on her with a man. This however was not seen by the audience and Monifah was furious. She later then said “‘When other videos are raunchy, they blur it, they don’t edit it,’ Monifah says. ‘So why you got to cut my shit off?'” (Anderson 93). BET said that the reason they cut it short was due to the fact that the commercial break was coming up and that they had no issue with the content of the video. Monifah did not believe them however, she thought about how the other artist had women dancing inappropriately with violence also included in the video she saw nothing wrong with her video. Similarly, lesbian pop artist Me’Shell NdegeOcello had the same problem when her video “Leviticus: Faggot” was released. BET would not air the video for reasons unknown. Anderson then stated, “Although the network was never specific, she suspects BET made that decision because her song pointedly addressed homophobia.” This made Me’Shell upset on how they only support their image and they do not promote diversity within the black community. Me’Shell then says, ‘They’re not there to promote diversity Black people are known to be the most homophobic group ever, and I can only hope and wish that BET would be open-minded and realistic.'” The censorship left the fans wondering what the song was trying to convey and left them in confusion.
Censorship will also lead to artist not be able to convey their message but should be allowed since they have the freedom of speech. The Bill of Rights tell us that we have to freedom of speech and the law is still in place meaning by censoring words or phrases of they are not respecting their freedom of speech. The Bill of Rights states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therefore: or abridging the freedom of speech…” This means by altering only a bit from the original content would be censorship and would be against the law. The censorship of certain words or phrases led to the artist either giving in to the censorship or refusing to censor it. This happened to Jerry Lee and Elvis Presley during the time of the bang of rock and roll. “In 1957, the record producer was promoting Jerry Lee Lewis’ song, ‘Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.’ A record distributor wanted Phillips to delete the word “it” from the “shake it, baby” refrain. Phillips refused. (American Journalism Review)” Similarly, Elvis Presley was censored for his “erotic” hip movements. While Elvis was on the show one of the producers from “The Ed Sullivan Show” refused to show Elvis from the waist down. “He noted that it was an Elvis appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” — one where producers refused to show the singer below his waist — that gave many young Americans their first taste of censorship. (American Journalism Review)” After a while they stopped censoring his hips since that was what made him popular with the fans and he was seen as an American idol. Showing that the censorship ended up going away since he grew famous for his hip shakes. Some celebrities however were not even allowed to broadcast their songs due to sensitive topics. Jill Sobule was one of these people with her song “I Kissed a Girl” she was unable to air it due to the lesbian theme that it would be giving the viewers. “For Jill Sobule, censorship came as her single, “I Kissed a Girl,” struggled to find air time in some markets because of its lesbian theme” (American Journalism Review). Rappers also have a hard time with the censorship since they have explicit language so to the radio companies it’s a must to censor the words. Majority of rappers end up releasing two of the same songs one with the explicit language and one for the radio. Connie Benesch wrote “The Good, The Bad and The Censored” to show how the rappers have to adjust to the censorship. “The idea, of course, is to remove raunchy words deemed unfit to be heard by the public, especially children. So record companies sometimes release two different versions of the same song–the “clean,” or radio, form and the original, or “street,” one with explicit lyrics intact.” They are forced to have two versions so they can air one of the songs on the radio.
While censorship to parents and teachers seems to relieve stress the video and the lyrics can still be found on the Internet which is not that hard to find if the child was really trying to find the song so censoring the song would be meaningless if the child can find it eventually. By censoring the lyrics, you make the children more curious on why their censoring it and want them to find out why. Sir Mix-A-Lot had said that he makes his censorship obvious so that they know they are not getting the explicit version. Sir Mix-A-Lot said, “”I just try to make it real obvious by saying ‘Shut the bleep up.’ They know they’re not getting the real deal. If you’re telling a story about the streets and you don’t use the language of the streets, it’s not credible to kids. That’s why the clean versions don’t really sell. They just make the kids want to buy the true stuff. (Benesch)” Children like the censored music it interreges them to look up the uncensored version and want to buy the uncut version. The irony that they come out with a clean one yet majority of the people end up buying the explicit for their true enjoyment. Sir Mix-A-Lot says, “‘We find that the consumers don’t really want the clean versions. They absolutely want it the way it was originally done.'(Benesch)” Then why censor the music? If people end up buying the explicit CD what’s the point of making the artist rewrite the whole song with censorship and put their time and money on it if in the end the explicit version gets bought. This makes censorship unnecessary and a waste a time to do.
The opportunities become smaller by censoring artist’s music. They might not be able to talk about past problems they had, the struggles they faced to get where they are now, and they should be allowed to since they have the right to freedom of speech. Most artist now are struggling to create sings that will be appropriate for all audiences. This will lead to less deep meaningful topics and will lead to fans liking them less and less which will lead to the down fall for artists everywhere in the country. We should let artist have the freedom to choose which words to choose to express themselves.