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Lyrics Influence Fans This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Why do people choose the music they listen to? Ifconfronted with this question, music lovers would offer many answers. Some wouldsay they enjoy the sounds of the instruments. Others might want a beat or rhythmthey can dance to. Still others would mention a respect for the artist and anappreciation of the lyrics.

It is obvious that lyrics can affect theirlisteners. The politically-charged lyrics of Bob Dylan's songs in the 1960s, forexample, inspired a generation of activists to fight forcauses.

Unfortunately, sometimes the influence of lyrics on listeners isharmful. A recent example is the impact of the controversial content of Eminem's"The Marshall Mathers LP." Many songs on the rapper's album containovertly violent and homophobic lyrics: "You f----ts keep egging meon/Till I have you at knifepoint/Then you beg me to stop." This is just oneof many examples of the violence and intolerance Eminem voices in thebest-selling hip-hop record of the year.

Will everyone who listens to hisrecord go out and stab a gay person? Probably not. The effect of these lyrics hasmore to do with the danger of supporting hateful opinions.

At a timewhen gay hate crimes are on the rise, I believe Eminem encourages intolerance.Fans who respect him, including the four million people who bought his record,are listening to and perhaps singing along with his words of hate. Whilederogatory words seem to be in the vocabulary of too many adolescents already,these lyrics desensitize impressionable youth to issues of gay tolerance.

I'm not saying Eminem's lyrics will brainwash the heterosexual American youthinto committing hate crimes; people have minds of their own. But, consideringalbum's immense popularity, the mere repetition of the lyrics is bound to have anegative effect on the listener's view of homosexuality.

During aninterview with Rolling Stone magazine, Eminem was asked if he would ever use the"N" word on a record. His response: "... I do black music, so outof respect, why would I put that word in my vocabulary?" This hypocriticalanswer shows his utter disrespect for the gay population.

Eminem goes onto say (about his tour with rapper Dr. Dre): "I feel that we are makingracism less and less and less. As far as gay people, that's their business.Truthfully, I don't care."

This kind of indifference to an importantissue is extremely dangerous. As he promotes the elimination of one type ofdiscrimination, Eminem encourages another. While the "N" word stays outof his vocabulary and lyrics, he is helping make the word "f----t"socially acceptable.

Just as musicians can use their influence to fightfor worthy causes, they also have the power to undermine causes if they send anegative message. Whether they accept it or not, they have a responsibility tomake sure their messages promote unity rather than separation inflicted byhatred.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

JustForHate said...
Nov. 18, 2014 at 9:02 am
You do relise that magority of rappers use the word f***t. When they say it they do not mean "gay person." When they use it, they use it as an insult yes, but not to gays. Also, Eminem does not care if people are different, he tolerates everyone, as long as they are not an compleat a**. He even proclaims that he accepts everyone.
 
thatindiangirll said...
Jan. 25, 2011 at 9:05 am
I think this is terrible what Eminem does.
 
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