Rapper feels added heat from foes of
Women object: Student ire moves Nelly to cancel
BY YOLANDA JONES: Scripps Howard News Service: May 31
Women gyrating sensually in next to nothing is
not new to the World of music videos. Neither are the complaints.
But the debate still rages every time a video or a concert
pushes the sexual themes a bit further.
Students at Spelman College, a
black women's college in Atlanta, have taken a stand, and this time rapper Nelly
is under attack.
Nelly was to have
gone to the campus for a bone-marrow drive. When students found out they
protested because of his unrated "Tip Drill" video that shows the rapper
swiping a credit card through a woman's rear end and women in skimpy bikinis
running through, a huge mansion.
The students complained about
the sexual portrayal of women in the video and the misogynistic lyrics. In hip-hop slang the term "tip" refers
to a penis and "tip drill" usually is a reference to an unattractive woman with
a nice body useful to a man only for sex, or a woman who will do anything for
The students launched phone campaigns and petition
drives over the growing number of X-rated rap videos on cable and the
Nelly canceled his appearance.
Michaelyn Oby, 18,
a student at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tenn., said she's glad the women
at Spelman, spoke out.
Our generation has grown up immune to a lot,
but I'd say Nelly really crossed the boundary, with this video," she said. "I
mean, he had a right to make it with freedom of speech and all, but the women at
Spelman also had a right to exercise their freedom of speech and protest
Misogyny in rock
and hip-hop has been around for years on MTV and BET, which airs unrated
videos such as Nelly's on BET Uncut late at night.
According to a 1999
study by Girls Inc., the average American girl uses some type of communications
medium - television, computers or radio - for more than five hours per day, and
1 in 5 girls say they are negatively influenced by characters they see on
That is why Girls Inc., whose motto is "to teach girls to
be strong, smart and bold," launched its national program called "Girls Get the
Message" to help them sort through the media messages.
Even so, it's
the artists who should be held accountable if what they produce is objectionable
not the entire hip-hop industry, said Wendy Day, who heads the Rap Coalition, an
artist advocacy group that tries to educate rappers about the hip-hop
"Don't get me wrong, I love what the women at Spelman are
doing and I love rappers, but when you're wrong, you're wrong and some of them
(rappers) are wrong. But tell them that. I wage my war with an artist one on
one," Day said.
She said that despite rappers like Nelly, there are
also ones like Mos Def and Talib Kweli, whose themes are more