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Wednesday, September 5, 2007

September 25, 2007 - Congress to Hold Hearings on Negative Portrayals Of Black Women in Media ( LUNCH UPDATE)

Congress finally got around to noticing the systematic dehumanization of Black women in popular culture and they are going to hold hearings about it. The hearing is currently titled, "From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degradation." Once again, we have to send don Imus a fruit basket and a bottle of Champelle, he is like the gift that keeps on giving. Too bad Congress required a crusty old coot to get hearings like this.....but I digress.

Hearing, not yet officially announced and tentatively skedded for Sept. 25, will focus primarily on hip-hop lyrics and videos, which critics have frequently derided for explicit misogyny aimed largely at black women. Variety

This was what they were talking about when I used to participate in a weekly conference call with womens' and civil rights groups ( the ones mentioned in the article)..... BACK in July. This is a serious case of better late than never. It is going down on September 25, 2007. Folks contact the members of the committee, BOTH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRAT with "examples" . It is the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. Ironically., it may be the Democrats with their noted ties to the entertainment industry that may be most reluctant to call these people on their crap(according to my sources).

Witnesses include toppers Philippe Dauman of Viacom, Doug Morris of Universal Music Group and Edgar Bronfman Jr. of Warner Music Group.
These are not lackeys like Debra Lee and Reginald Hudlin. These are the big boys and girls that are going to be on the hot seat. Seriously, those who have been waiting and watching to nail their azzes to the wall, this is your moment, you might not get another one.

For those of you not familiar with the corporatocracy, Viacom owns BET, MTV and VH1 home of the terrible trilogy, Flavor of Love, I love NY and Charm School. In other words this one man is responsible for putting Black folks back about 500 years, by HIMSELF! Like I said, you might not get another opportunity like this to have the Viacom CEO make an accounting for his actions. They probably won't make them testify under oath, but this should be very interesting.

Some folks have asked how they can get involved in the comments section. I have a couple of e-mails out asking how to go about doing that.

UPDATE: I spoke to TWO different committee staffers. The staffer working on the hearings for Congressman Rush's office, didn't respond to my e-mail and isn't taking my calls, but y'all know iI can hunt down the 411. So I went another direction folks over on the minority side of the committee and a staffer for the full committee ( The House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Chaired by Rep. Dingle out of IL) were extremely helpful and gave a ton of important info to those wanting to attend.

If you want to be a witness, according to the full committee staffer it looks like a long shot as the Chair probably already has a list of invitees, but you can always try by contacting Bobby Rush's office. Christian Fjeld is the staffer that was working on this when last I heard about this, his email is Christian.Fjeld@mail.house.gov. I sent him an email for alternative contact info, but he "stepped away from his desk" which is office speak for "I don't want to take your call." So email him to your heart's content. Right now, the only known witness is Master P ( WTF???)I sat in on some of the early discussions about the hearings back in July and am aware of the source of some of the potential witnesses, but it never hurts to try. You have until September 25th. God Luck with that!

Although Representative Rush's office was unhelpful in getting you guys any additional information on the hearings, undaunted, I called the full committee and also accidentally got transferred to the minority members' office ie THE REPUBLICANS at some point and they were MORE THAN HAPPY to tell ALL. Surprisingly so. So here is the 411.

The date is not firm YET but pretty much so. Both my sources said that the date was not definitely set in stone. The September 25th date could change. In fact the staffer for the full committee was surprised that it had been reported in Variety, he said to keep checking the full committee's website. He also said I could call him anytime and he would give us an update on where we are in the process. They have to give at least 72 hours notice, but there should be more than that so those of you considering traveling to DC might want to hold off about a week before booking a ticket.

Seating During the Hearings
The seating is on a first come first serve basis. Depending on which room they select, the room will either hold 75 or 150 people. Based on their past experience, they are saying get there atleast 2 hours early to guarantee a seat. This would be in the Rayburn Building. now one of them told me that you can't bring a camera,b ut you CAN bring a laptop. That makes no sense, but I will do additional research on that.

I suggest folks go up there two hours early as a group an chill out. I'll maybe even produce a special bright pink T-shirt for the occasion. They said folks could line up at the door. ROAD TRIP! So get on the horn and let ere' body know! This is like Hailey's Comet. An opportunity like this comes around once every 75 years or so. Those of you who have been ticked off with Viacom, this is your moment.

While there is only on Chair of the subcommittee, there are tons of other members who get to ask questions as well. You might get frozen out by Rush's office, but there is nothing to stop you from contacting other members of the Committe e and you might actually get more assistance from the Republicans ( weird, but apparently true). They don't have a dog in this fight.

I'll keep you updated, y'all do the same.