The current image of rap music and rap music videos is cause for concern among Black youth, according to the Black Youth Project, a survey spearheaded under the direction of Dr. Cathy Cohen of the University of Chicago.
The survey involved 1590 Black, White and Hispanic young people ages 15-25 from around the country.
Survey findings released yesterday (Feb. 1) reveal that 72 percent of Black youth agree rap videos contain too many sexual references.
The majority of participants agreed that rap music videos portray Black women and Black men in bad and offensive ways.
Sixty-six percent of Black women are more likely than White women (55%) and Hispanic women
(53%) to agree that they are portrayed in a demeaning light in rap videos.
Although 57 percent of Black men feel that rap videos portray Black women in bad and offensive ways, 44 percent of them disagree that the
videos portray Black men in bad and offensive ways.
The results of the survey provide solid evidence concerning the impact of rap on young people, according to Dr. Cathy Cohen, one of the
organizers of the survey.
“This study shows us that young people are actually discerning viewers who have thoughtful insights about cultural representation,” she
explained. “Instead of condemning young Black people for watching rap videos, we might encourage music and television companies to provide a
broader range of images for young Black people, who say that what they’re seeing now is overly sexual and demeans women. This audience
deserves to be paid attention to as consumers.”
The survey also offered a peak into listening habits, as 58 percent of Black youth said they listen to rap music every day, compared to 45 percent of Hispanic youth and 23 percent of White youth.
The study also found that three percent of Black youth admit to never listening to rap music.
The feelings towards the excess of rap’s sexual side was manifested in a desire for other sides of the genre to be expressed, as 41 percent of Black youth stated that rap videos should be more political.
In addition to cultural views, the survey polled youth on sex, sex education, gender roles, government and politics and discrimination.