Leaving Girls Exposed to Hip-Hop's Sins

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By Donna Britt
Friday, October 28, 2005

Awa Nur, 18, loves rap music's seductive rhythms and irresistible beats.

So why does hip-hop scare the hell out of her?

The Herndon High school senior recounts picking up her little brother, Abdi, after a seventh-grade school dance. She was appalled that many of his 12-year-old female classmates were dressed -- or undressed -- like grown women.

"They were scandalous ," Awa says of seventh- and eighth-graders in "skirts that barely covered their butt cheeks." Younger and younger girls, she says, "are moving faster and faster to become sex symbols."

Pushing them is the music she loves: hip-hop. Forget Britney. In Awa's neighborhood, "Girls are much more influenced by Lil' Kim."

Her fears remind me of a "Rock the Vote" summit last year in which hip-hop celebrities exhorted young people to vote. Most impressive was Roc-A-Fella Records's insightful former co-chief Damon Dash, who tenderly cradled his beautiful, preschool-aged daughter on his lap.

Standing to answer a question, Dash lowered his doll-like daughter to the floor. Instinctively, he did what protective dads everywhere do:

Adjusted her dress to make sure it covered her underpants.

The gesture spoke volumes: One of hip-hop's most powerful employers, the producer of endless footage of near-naked video gyrators, feels that female modesty matters. Clearly, Dash felt at least one young lady deserves protecting: his.

I loved it.

But what of the millions of little girls -- like many of the 60-plus percent of black girls whose mommies are unmarried -- whose daddies cannot or won't protect them?

Many Americans like me -- middle-class, busy, eternally distracted -- would rather not think about such girls. Sadly, one who was devoted to them just left us: C. Delores Tucker, who died Oct. 2. Among the first to publicly decry rap's misogyny, Tucker received death threats for her concern.


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© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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