Radio 1 shows 'partly to blame for murders'

The Telegraph
January 10, 2003
By Nicola Woolcick

Every time a black youth is shot dead in Britain the producers of BBC Radio 1's ragga and hip-hop shows should share some of the guilt, a leading figure in the black music industry says today.

Neil Fraser, who works under the name Mad Professor and runs Ariwa Sounds, a reggae label, claims such music glorifies guns, homophobia, misogyny and illegal drugs.

Gangsta rap and hip-hop should be censored because they encourage gun crime, he says and accuses the BBC of acting irresponsibly by promoting artists who "encourage a general ignorant aggro within the black community".

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today, he writes: "The producers of BBC Radio 1's ragga and hip-hop shows should share some of the guilt every time a black youth dies from a gun in Britain."

He said gun crime had started within the black community and could not be solved by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, who earlier this week attacked rappers for glamorising firearms violence.

Mr Blunkett, who described some rap lyrics as "appalling", ruled out censoring the music but said producers needed to be "talked to" so they knew what was acceptable.

But Mr Fraser said: "I really believe censorship would help to challenge the culture and attitudes prevalent in black music. There's just been a general erosion of standards, which started slipping about 10 years ago. For example, one of the most successful music labels in the US last year was Murder Inc.

"I've been pulling people up about it but they think you're old-fashioned or out of touch and say it's what the next generation want to hear.

"A lot of people have come into the industry who care more about the money. It's been invaded by hoodlums - people posing as DJs, managers and producers who have no real experience. It's become linked with the drugs industry."

Mr Fraser, who has four children aged between 13 and 22, added: "There used to be a lot of positive black images out there but music like that played on Radio 1's hip-hop show is not entertainment. The lyrics are all about violence and shooting.

"A lot of this mentality, such as derogatory attitudes towards women, has come from America. The videos which go with the music are just as bad.

"What we're hearing now is the catalyst for something that could destroy at least two generations of black youth."