June 29, 2007

Rap industry legends Kurtis Blow and Eric B. have joined the NAACP in eliminating the use of derogatory terms and images aimed at and used by African Americans. The pair will act as pallbearers and be among entertainers, intellectuals and community leaders as the NAACP hosts a funeral for N-word during the 98th NAACP Annual Convention taking place in Detroit July 7-12.

“The N-Word is the most vicious of all racial insults and the most well known example of racist language and self-hatred by African Americans,” said NAACP Chief Operating Officer Nelson B. Rivers III. “The NAACP believes the time has come to celebrate the end of its wretched, destructive life. There is international interest in this powerful and symbolic action and we are calling on others of goodwill to march with us against this word that hurts and diminishes us everyday.”

On Monday July 9, NAACP delegates and supporters will march from COBO Hall to Hart Plaza where burial services for the N-word will take place.

“We need to transform the minds of our people,” said rap pioneer and emcee Kurtis Blow. “By reforming our minds we will change society. By changing the way you think of yourself, you will change the way others think of you.”

“This is not just about burying the N-word,” said deejay Eric B., who along with rap partner Rakim generated a string of hits in the ‘80s and ‘90s. “This is more importantly about burying the attitude and behaviors that cause you to act like or be called that word. It’s time to take a stand.”

The N-word funeral is a dramatic awareness-raising tool that is a part of NAACP STOP Campaign -- an initiative of the NAACP Youth & College Division – that seeks to “stop” demeaning African American images in the media, particularly with respect to the portrayal of African American women.

“We must recognize the need for balance within the African American community in regards to what we deem acceptable in music, film, and other media,” said NAACP Youth & College Division Director Stefanie L. Brown. ”Images reflected in songs and music videos that show half-dressed African American women being objectified or demeaned by men, or young African American men as thugs must STOP. These kinds of images promote hurtful and false stereotypes of young African Americans.”

 The targets of the STOP Campaign are the record and television industries, recording artists and the African American community. For more details on the campaign that includes a personal pledge, go online to: www.naacp.org.

The NAACP commends others who have already taken a principled stand on these issues. For example, in late April Roberts Broadcasting Companies implemented a new policy designed to ban the airing of all music and content that degrades women and/or is violent, racist or sexist in nature at its TV and radio stations. Master P and his son Romeo are breaking from the pack and starting Take A Stand Records. The label will feature only those artists who have pledged to be role models, with proceeds going toward scholarship funds for underprivileged kids.

The NAACP has been at the forefront of the battle against negative stereotypes of African Americans starting with protest of D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” in 1915. It was the late C. Delores Tucker, an NAACP Special Contribution Fund Trustee, and others in the 1990s that picketed and sued to remove sexually explicit lyrics from rap and hip-hop tracks, citing a concern that the lyrics were misogynistic and threatened the moral foundation of the African American community.

Additionally, the NAACP’s Hollywood bureau was created to increase diversity in television and was established to monitor and regulate the entertainment industry. The annual NAACP Image Awards are produced to acknowledge the contributions of talented minorities who are often overlooked in their own industries. 

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization.  Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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