In her new book, All That is Bitter, and Sweet, actress Ashley Judd strongly questioned the use of particular rappers in public charity events used to bring awareness to important issues. She slammed the YouthAIDS organization and MTV's 'Staying Alive' concerts for inviting Snoop Dogg and Diddy to perform at their events.
"Along with other performers, YouthAIDS was supported by Rap and Hip Hop artists like Snoop Dogg and P. Diddy to spread the message…um, who? Those names were a red flag."
She went on to state her opinion on Hip Hop culture, asserting that the genre promotes misogyny and violence against women.
"As far as I'm concerned, most Rap and Hip Hop music--with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as 'ho's'--is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny. I believe that the social construction of gender--the cultural beliefs and practices that divide the sexes and institutionalize and normalize the unequal treatment of girls and women, privilege the interest of boys and men, and, most nefariously, incessantly sexualize girls and women--is the root cause of poverty and suffering around the world."
Judd recently visited the Jimmy Fallon show to promote her book. The late night show, of course, features Hip Hop group The Roots as the house band. After her appearance, Roots drummer ?uestlove addressed Judd's comments via Twitter.
hmmm. at least i got my answer as to why ash judd didn't give us so much as a nod on her last visit. im a criminal: http://bit.ly/gfeFhF
(UPDATE: 04/12): After ?uestlove's initial responses to Judd's comments, Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder also took to Twitter to voice their sentiments about the issue. Amidst the outcry, Judd took to Russell Simmons' GlobalGrind.com early on Monday to apologize for her statements, saying that while some of her words were taken out of context, she is at fault for the generalizations she made.
"The outcry regarding my remarks, 2 paragraphs out of my 400+ page book, regarding hip hop and rap, has been astounding as it is out of context…The general theme [now] is to express my gratitude for a chance to learn, to be corrected where I was wrong, to make amends, and hold firm and strong on the original intention and context of points I made, with a commitment to try to do so less clumsily and with more sensitivity in the future."
She added, "I so regret that my indictment of rape culture as a whole has been interpreted as me blaming rap and hip hop exclusively. That was absolutely not my intention, and I so regret it has had that effect on some people. "
Judd finished by saying her eyes had been opened to a distinction between Rap and Hip Hop, and she'd also been introduced to new music. "Thank you to fans of both [Rap and Hip Hop] who have introduced me to artists whose lyrics embody activism and progressive values. I am glad to have more beats for my playlists. I celebrate the music, its meaning, and those who love it."
Read her entire entry here.