Adding to earlier calls to censor the words “bitch,” “ho” and “n*gger” from rap music, the Reverend Al Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN) will lead the “March For Decency” on May 3 in New York. The march is planning to stop at the offices of all the major music labels (Sony BMG, Universal, Warner Music Group), followed by a rally at Columbus Circle.
“We aren’t marching against artists — we are marching against record companies to ban these words completely,” says Tamika Mallory, who is leading the NAN’s decency initiative. “It’s nice that Russell Simmons asked for these words to be bleeped out, but if we start from the top and ban them, then we won’t have to answer questions at the bottom.”
Councilwoman Darlene Mealy of Brooklyn’s 41st District will join Sharpton and Mallory at the march, as will the late James Brown’s daughters. Later in the day, a special ceremony will be held at the Apollo Theater in Harlem to commemorate what would have been Brown’s 74th birthday.
“James Brown always said we needed to clean up our music,” says Mallory. “This was something he always talked about in his life and so it made sense for this march to take place on this day.”