Lonnae O’Neal Parker seems confused as she argued on NPR’s Talk of the Nation that older hip-hop was good for her to listen to while the recent stuff has “gone too far” and thus keeps it from her daughter (be advised that the audio in that segment contains objectionable elements). But she does say one insightful thing about hip-hop,
“We don’t want to be hyper-sexualized, but we don’t want to be de-sexualized either. Black music comes from a tradition where songs were sexy, stretching back to the post-emancipation music of the blues. So we don’t want to be erased. LL was sexy in places. He wasn’t . . . you know, he called women cuties and honies, you know–
“Once she gets going,
it’s hard to make the hottie stop.”
Things like that. Not only is there much less creativity and subtlety about, you know, the sexuality that they are talking about, it’s also all they’re talking about. LL just had a range of stuff.”
In her Washington Post article she explains,
After I could no longer nod my head to the misogyny or keep time to the vapid materialism of another rap song. After I could no longer sacrifice my self-esteem or that of my two daughters on an altar of dope beats and tight rhymes.
Later in the same piece, Lonnae says,
“My husband, Ralph, and I try to tell Sydney that rap music used to be fun. It used to call girls by prettier names. We were ladies and cuties, honeys and hotties, and we all just felt like one nation under the groove. Sydney, I tell her, I want you to have all the creativity, all the bite, all the rhythms of black rhyme, but I can’t let you internalize toxic messages, no matter how cool some millionaire black rappers tell you they are.”
Notice how she connects the rhythm with the “rhyme.” It is hard to imagine why so many deny that music communicates. I have often heard the idea mocked by my contemporaries that music can communicate erotic themes in any way whatsoever. Lonnae O’Neal Parker seems to have no problem admitting that. At the same time, she has nothing to lose.