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updated 4/29/2007 3:33:55 PM ET 2007-04-29T19:33:55

A panel discussion titled “Does Hip-Hop Hate Women?” drew more than 400 people Saturday — a sign that the furor that erupted over Don Imus’ comments isn’t over yet.

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As Imus struggled in vain to keep his job earlier this month, he claimed that rappers routinely “defame and demean black women” and call them “worse names than I ever did.” That led to some music-industry navel-gazing, but too little action, some panelists at the University of Chicago said.

Some criticized music executives failing to make a strong statement against violent and demeaning language in mainstream rap music when they met earlier this month in New York.

Others blasted hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons for not doing enough when he called this week for the recording and broadcast industries to ban three words — “bitch,” “ho” and “nigger” — from all so-called clean versions of rap songs.

“How is no one saying to Russell, ’Yo, we already bleep out those words’?” said Joan Morgan, an author and commentator on hip-hop and feminism.

Others at the event said hip-hop shouldn’t be made a scapegoat for what’s wrong in America.

“We allow this language to go on,” said Amina Norman-Hawkins, a Chicago hip-hop emcee and executive director of the Chicago Hip-Hop Initiative. “As a community, we aren’t responsible for our children. So we don’t teach our little boys how to grow up to be men and respect women. We allow them to learn from the street what’s acceptable.”

Some said Imus’ April 12 firing has provided a new opportunity to galvanize public opinion on the issue.

“Sexism is too convenient within the black community for black men,” said David Ikard, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee. “This issue of Imus came up and I asked the black men in my hip-hop course what were their stakes in it. They were like, ’Well, we don’t really have any stakes in it. It seems trivial.”’

He called on black men to do more to speak up for black women.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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