Simmons, tired of hearing lawmakers
diss Hip-Hop music, attended a meeting held by
the Senate Government Affairs Committee yesterday.
The meeting, which also included various representatives
from different Genre's of the entertainment field
including the RIAA's Hillary Rosen and MPAA's
requested a seat on one of the panels testifying
before the committee, but was denied the seat
by committee chairman, Sen. Joseph Lieberman.
Lieberman said several times during the hearing
he hadn't been able to accommodate Simmons because
the final lineup of witnesses had already been
determined, yet video game industry representative
Doug Lowenstein, was added as a witness late Tuesday.
Simmons sat through 5 hours of testimony and then
of the songs you find offensive are actually reflections
of a reality that needs to be expressed," he said.
Lawmakers continuously brought up the often graphic
nature of Hip-Hop, and Rosen had entered into
the record some comments that Simmons had prepared.
Simmons accused lawmakers of racial and cultural
of us feel that these hearings are really about
us, and it would be better in our view to hear
from us and speak to us directly before you pass
judgment and deny our fundamental rights," Simmons
said. He continued by saying that Lawmakers and
critics of Hip-Hop miss the message behind the
profanity-laced lyrics, yet those same lyrics
can also have a positive effect. "The plight
of kids who live in Compton now is a lot clearer
to the kids who live in Beverly Hills," he told
Senators objected to the thought that the meetings
contained racial overtones. "The notion that this
is racially targeted is not only invalid, but
it hurts those of us who are trying to protect
the First Amendment rights of artists," said Sen.
Fred Thompson, an actor and the committee's senior
Republican. Simmons clarified that he wasn't trying
to pull the race card during the meeting.
saying that there's a lack of understanding and
cultural references," he said. "There's a lack
of appreciation of the cultural forces. They're
more fearful of the black kids that came out of