The Mayor of London,
England criticized rap music on Wednesday (Nov. 2), where a campaign to educate
school children about the dangers of guns was launched.
Ken Livingstone stated that crime rates in England has risen
to record levels and offered stinging criticism of rap music.
"Gun crime, knife crime – they are the only crime categories
that continue to rise,” Livingstone stated. “With role models like
rap groups there is almost an inevitability about that and people in the public
eye should consider the role models they set.”
Livingstone said some rappers promoted the idea that carrying
weapons – such as knives and guns – was fashionable, leading to a surge in violence.
Ironically last week, Carl Morgan, a producer for the popular
rap collective So Solid Crew, was sentenced to life in prison for shooting a
man to death in a quarrel over a woman.
So Solid Crew member Megaman is also on trial for allegedly
encouraging Morgan to shoot Colin Scarlett to death.
In another unrelated case, So Solid Crew member Romeo and an
associate are on trial for allegedly slashing a man’s face last Nov. during
an attack at the Cirque club, formerly the Hippodrome, located in Leicester
Both have denied charges of wounding with intent to cause grievous
bodily harm. The trial continues.
In March of 2005, American rapper 50 Cent caused a major outcry
in England as well, when Reebok’s “I Am What I Am” campaign came under fire in the U.K.
Television ads featured 50 Cent counting to nine – the number of times he was allegedly shot in 2000 – while the print ads featured
the rapper with finger print records.
Reebok issued a statement during the flap saying “Reebok
does not condone every action, choice or view expressed by the athletes and
entertainers who wear our products."
In April of 2005, the company caved in to pressure from various
England based watch groups and pulled the ads from television after numerous
rap artists swinging around with a gun or knife… the consequences of their
behavior is a kid lying dead in the street. We have to get to kids before bad
role models do," Livingstone said. "It is an American thing, but it
is starting to spill over into our media, our television, our films."