Censoring music is nothing new, but the extent of the restrictions has always been a topic of debate. As music has evolved throughout the decades the need for restriction has changed. From banning rock and roll in the 1950s due to Elvis Presley being too “sexual” -to modern day rap with its violent themes, music has been censored because people believe it is “dangerous” for the minds of children. But what about the rest of society? Why should the rest of the country have to endure strict music restrictions because parents do not monitor what their children are listening and watching?
In all fairness, some censorship is needed. For instance, the stickers that are found on album covers or the bleeping out of profanity on the radio. As long as the limitations do not interfere with an artist’s freedom of expression or the people’s enjoyment, then a healthy amount of censorship is tolerable. When it goes beyond that, then it becomes a problem.
Excessive music censorship limits the artist’s freedom to express their ideas and thoughts. When a song is censored, the message is often lost in the act of making the lyrics safe for children, similar to Kidz Bop.
Neil Strauss, writer from the NY Times, explains in his article, “…Eminem’s “My Fault” turns his song about “fatally overdosing a girl with psychedelic mushrooms and makes it PG by changing the lyrics to how he slipped normal mushrooms onto his friends’ pizza triggering an allergic reaction.”
Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” was censored for his use of the N-word. By changing one word it affected the chorus and the original rhymes no longer work.
“Reclaiming offensive language takes away its power…,” Rae Alexandra, writer on archives.sfweekly.com, said.
Artists sacrifice their message to please the masses which rarely improves the song. Although you do not agree with what the artist is trying to say, we have to respect that they are putting themselves out there and they have every right to speak, or should I say sing, their mind.
Charis E. Kubrin, NY Times writer, said, “Increased monitoring and restriction could have a potentially deleterious impact on artistic expression.”
Unnecessary censorship is only damaging society rather than improving it.
Restricting music gives the impression that we are not mature or responsible enough to manage and understand our own music. Yes, there are people out there that don’t quite understand that the lyrics of the song are exaggerated, but most understand the idea and just listen for their own enjoyment.
“People have the right to listen to what they want”
The main reason people advocate for censorship of music and music videos is that there are too many young children that are being introduced to drugs, violence, profanity, and sex through the lyrics of many songs of this generation.
A pro for restrictions will be that children on YouTube won’t be able to access provocative music videos that their developing minds are too naive to understand. They won’t be exposed to the harsh language and controversial topics of many songs today.
But this isn’t the artist’s fault, it isn’t even the producer’s fault. Parents are the ones giving their kids the opportunity to listen to explicit material. An artist’s freedom of expression shouldn’t be punished on the behalf of irresponsible parents.
Younger children shouldn’t be introduced to music with any explicit material. On the other hand, teenagers have the right to listen to whatever music they want to, if it is either top 40 pop or gangster rap. The only thing they need to understand is that the lyrics of these songs have real meaning behind them and know that the lyrics are exaggerated.
“Children should not hear explicit lyrics in music playing in public places; it is not good for their development,” Niceslvestre, writer on newsactivist.com, said. “Although, we should be able to buy the explicit songs that we want and continue to see the warning labels on the albums.”
Music can influence adults and children and some music tends to glorify racism, curse words, the mistreatment of women, drugs, and violence but this doesn’t mean that we should be too strict on censorship as if we were in a totalitarian state. Music is made to be enjoyed not censored.
Staff Writer Itzel Gallardo