Controversial Three 6 Mafia Banned from Memphis Music Festival

Don Imus was recently fired for making comments that were both racist and sexist. Now it seems that the media frenzy that surrounded the Imus controversy has trickled down to a local issue in Memphis, TN. The annual Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival is coming up in a few weeks. The list of artists that will be performing is a regular who’s who of music from the past and present. The controversy has come up regarding the performance of rap group Three 6 Mafia at this festival.

Wendi Thomas is a columnist for the Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis. She has made it very clear how she feels about the degrading comments made about women in the rap music industry. she has written thirteen articles alone on this topic over the past three years. The most recent article calls for the Memphis In May Board to recall the invitation to Three 6 Mafia for this year’s music festival. The board refused to pull Three 6 Mafia from the line up. Why would they pull them from the line up? That would cost them too much money to make a statement of that magnitude! But then again, should they make that statement?

Rap group Three 6 Mafia’s music is filled with lyrics that are extremely offensive in many ways. However, they won an Oscar for their song “It’s Hard Out here For a Pimp” from the movie “Hustle & Flow.” While this group performed on the Oscar stage they had scantilly clad women prancing around them dancing in a vulgar manor while they sang about making money off of them while they work the streets. I will not sit here and fill this article with filthy lyrics, however, I do want to give you just a few examples of the filth that this group makes money singing. Songs talking about men climaxing in the mouth of a woman. Songs telling women very explicitly what they want done to them or what they will do to a woman in a sexual situation. Many times in their lyrics they call women by names that I would consider degrading and offensive.

Sure the lyrics are nasty; but what does this mean to me, and to all the people in the Memphis area, or the people in the world for that matter? In my eyes, it means absolutely nothing. Just like what Don Imus said meant nothing to me. don Imus has a right to say what ever he wishes, just as Three 6 Mafia has every right to sing about whatever they choose. This is America and we have the Freedom of Speech. I feel that the firing of Don Imus was totally uncalled for. So what, he said some offensive things! Thousands of people do that every day! Howard Stern, rap musicians, the Television show “Girlfriends”, and even the cartoon “South Park” just to name a few offenders. My solution, I do not choose to listen to these radio shows, or musicians. I also choose not to watch those television shows. That is another benefit from living in the United States of America, I have rights to choose what I listen to, watch, or believe in.

Why on earth should someone making offensive comments or singing offensive songs be cause for national or international uproar? I do not think it should. We are all individuals, different in our own way from every one else. We know who we are and if someone says something offensive about your race, sex, nationality, religion, or background then you have the right to be offended and take it up with the person who made you feel offended. Does this give you the right to cause that person to lose his job, or to cause them physical harm, or to go out of your way to make their life miserable? No it doesn’t. The college students that were offended by Don Imus are no less offended by what he said because he was fired for making the comments. People, including women, are still buying Three 6 Mafia CDs and concert tickets.

Just because something is offensive to you does not mean they had no right to say it. they had every right to say it, and you have every right to say something back. Welcome to the free world, enjoy it, love it. Speak, sing, pray, I know I do.


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Sincerely, James

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Dr. K. L. Register

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