lieve, this is my own personal opinion, cynical manner to expand
his own voice in industry.
Mrs. Collins. Do you agree with that Mr. Harleston?
Mr. Harleston. I really don't have knowledge of Mr.
I can't comment on that. I did just want to add that
Mrs. Collins. Have you seen this Billboard editorial?
Mr. Harleston. Yes, I have.
Mrs. Collins. Have you seen it, Mr. Singleton?
Mr. Singleton. No, I have not.
Mr. Harleston. I just wanted to, if I may, add to the character-
ization of Billboard. It is an important trade publication. But it is
not, nor am I aware of it ever having been, considered the voice of
the industry. It is, as many newspapers and magazines, as the
press, is a forum in which various views are articulated at various
times. The quotations that were lifted from that particular article
in the first panel, that was an editorial, and like most op-ed pieces,
reflects opinion. Certainly, not an industry view or position.
Mr. Singleton. Let me clarify that. Billboard, as an inter-
national magazine, as a Bible of the music industry, was more so
regarded as that because of its reflection of its charts and its sales
projections, not of its editorial content.
Mr. George. To buttress that, it never
Mrs. Collins. Before you do that, how does Billboard, speaking
of charts and all of that, how does it report or how does it chart
Mr. Singleton. It doesn't separate it. There is no category that
says gangsta rap.
Mrs. Collins. And it charts very highly; right?
Mr. Singleton. Madam Chairwoman, Billboard has renovated
its system of charting over the last, what did I say, 2 years. Nel-
Mr. George. Two or three years.
Mr. Singleton. Two or three years. It went on to country music
and on to other formats. The last format that it made these adjust-
ments with were black music in all forms. For a little over a year
now, black music is being monitored and charted totally differently
than Billboard 2 years ago or prior to the change in its system.
That system is a combination of variables and factors that has to '
do with a tremendous amount of technology.
One of the systems has — is called "sound scan", and sound scan i
is like the bar code that we see on items that we buy in the super-
market or on your record. Every record should have the bar code
on it and, of course, it wouldn't surprise me if that record you held
up with the funny parental logo may not have a sound scan on it.
Because people who are totally unprofessional entering in business
don't quite know how to put themselves in the mix and really be
a part of the mainstream.
To make my point about Billboard and sound scan, sound scan
measures — it actually records the over-the-counter consumer sale,
which is a new method of measuring sales in America. That is
factored in exclusively for album sales, but a combination of that
record sale and radio airplay rotation is used for determining activ-
ity on singles for the regular chart, not the rap chart.
The rap singles chart is strictly sales and sound scan over-the-
counter purchases. Yes, rap music charts high because when rap
music is put out, rap music first and foremost, I think I should
clarify and make a statement here, that rap music has always had
a tremendous underground. It was never a major part of the main-
Remember, I mentioned earlier when the Sugar Hill Gang came
along, people were rebelling and rejecting the music and a lot of
people in the industry were not — didn't understand the music, and
it has always been the music of the streets of the community of the
So rap music has such a tremendous underground buzz, that it
doesn't get its marketing thrust always through the traditional
sources. There is a tremendous word-of-mouth, through clubs,
through retail outlets that are not necessarily the mainstream
stores, and for some reason when rap records are put out, there is
a tremendous word-of-mouth, even before the record is put out.
People know when the records are coming out. And that is also
the reason why I encourage that we begin to talk to our kids, be-
cause they have some marketing techniques that I think a lot of
us in corporate America, in companies all over the world, could
learn a lot from them.
Rap music charts high because it has this tremendous instant
consumer base, day one, when the record hits the stores.
Mr. George. Madam Chairwoman, it is an interesting phenome-
non of rap music that the arc of a rap record tends to be zoom the
first week or two, and then zoom down slowly over time, because
it is like a — there is really this tremendous word-of-mouth appeal
of the music. People know before the record comes out, there is a
buzz that goes on for certain artists.
Also, one of the phenomenons since sound scan has been intro-
duced, is the fact that one reason that gangsta rap particularly has
come to more of the forefront is that it literally, it really is — the
sound scan — now it really shows up in sales in a tremendous way.
The phenomenon of Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg, particularly,
last year they sold about 8 million records, which is unprecedented
in the history of this music.
Mrs. Collins. We very much appreciate your coming before us
to testify. I know that many of you have come — some of you have
come from very long distances in this inclement weather. It has
been a hardship on your part, and I thank you for appearing before
our subcommittee today.
A colleague of mine, Maxine Waters, has been here for most of
this hearing and we are going to have her come forward at this
You may make room for Ms. Waters, please.
Thank you for testifying before us.
STATEMENT OF MAXINE WATERS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Ms. Waters. Thank you very much, Madam Chairwoman, for ex-
tending the time of this hearing to allow me to share a few of my
thoughts with you.
I am so very pleased that as this hearing has unfolded, that you
have made it absolutely clear that you have a responsibility to
know what is going on in this country and part of the oversight re-
sponsibility for your subcommittee is to respond to criticisms and
concerns that people bring to your attention. But you are one of the
profound protectors of First Amendment rights, and you are not
ooking at this to talk about legislating in any manner, but you
lave provided us with an opportunity for a discussion that America
needs, and I would like to thank you for that.
Additionally, I would like to thank you because you were one of
my colleagues who gave me compliments for the work that I did in
trying to explain to America the pain and the despair and the
hopelessness of our young people following the civil unrest. And
you went ahead to promote within our Caucus my getting recog-
nized for that at the Congressional Black Caucus last year, and I
will never forget that. Because at a time when I was being con-
demned by many in this country, you said what I said and what
I did had value. And, again, I would like to tell you that I will al-
ways appreciate your support for that part of my work that I felt
I needed to do.
You heard today that Los Angeles is rather a special place, and
I guess that is said about us all the time in many ways. But you
heard today that so-called gangsta rap originated in our area, and
you heard some reference to gangs ana to the despair and the prob-
lems of my city. Those references, of course, are absolutely correct.
Much of what happens in that city in south central Los Angeles,
I am very much aware of. I have been very much an observer. I
have been very much interacting with young people over a number
of years, and so I know them. They are, indeed, my children, as
they are your children.
They are our children, and I don't intend to throw them away,
to demean them or to marginalize them, but rather, my respon-
sibility and yours is to try as much as we can to understand and
see what we can do, given that we have been given this oppor-
tunity to serve, to transform them. And to do that, I think we must
embrace them. We must listen. We must try and understand, and
we must be able to articulate to America what they, too, are trying
to articulate. That scene in Chicago with 19 people and those chil-
dren fighting for food with the dog, those children who were cold,
those children who were uncared for, are really typical of what is
going on in far too many places in America. And somehow we pre-
tend it is not happening or it is somebody else's concern, and some-
how these children are going to live in these situations and grow
up to be wholesome adults who won't be angry, who won't cause
us some problems.
Who do you think those children are? What do you think they
are going to be doing a few years from now? If they are not angry,
it is going to be because they are so crazy they don't know to be
If they are not hostile, it is going to be because they are so im-
paired that they cannot act out their hostility, so I can't use a more
graphic picture than that of the children who were discovered in
the apartment in Chicago who were hungry, who were uncared for,
who were sick, who were basically victims of a society that is
wracked with drugs and other kinds of problems that are causing
our children to live in situations that we never dreamed.
And so I have a profound respect for the talented ones who know
that they are talented despite the fact they would never be identi-
fied, they would never be chosen by the industry, as we know it,
to share that talent. As a matter of fact, these children went into
their garages and their basements and they created this music.
They created this art form.
The same industry that we are asking and we are talking to of-
tentimes didn't want them. They did not embrace them. They did
not want their music. They were kept off of television. They were
not produced, and they persisted, and they sold the music on the
street comers and out of their cars. And so as someone said, they
didn't care whether radio took them or not, because whether or not
radio plays them or not, they can still make money, and lots of
money, and distribute it in ways that are foreign to the industry.
Let me just share something with you because I am moved to do
I was reading some lyrics to a popular hit song and it almost
made me cry, and I would like to share it with you: As I look up
at the sky, my mind starts tripping. A tear drops from my eye. My
body temperature falls. I am shaking and they break in tr5dng to
save the dog. Pumping on my chest and I am screaming, I stop
breathing, I see demons. Dear God. I wonder, can you save me. My
boo-boo is about to have my baby and I think it is too late for pray-
ing. A voice spoke to me and it slowly started saying, bring your
lifestyle to me and I will make it better. How long will I live? Eter-
nal life and forever. I will make your life a lot better than you can
imagine, or you can dream of. So relax your soul. Let me take con-
trol. Close your eyes, my son.
This writer. Snoop Doggy Dogg, and his peers have been charged
with glorifying criminal behavior, denigrating women, in fact, caus-
ing the horrifying reality of our society today. But if we stop to
think, we know very well what Snoop, Ice Cube, Ice T, Dr. Dre,
Queen Latifah, Yo Yo, address in their art, and there is no question
about it. They are artists.
They painted the world with their words and their music as they
see it, as they feel it, as they live it, watch it and hear it. They
feel pain. They long for hope. They despair of change. They long
for meaning. Humans have always created art to express their
pain, hope and despair of change. We all remember the cherished
spirituals which grew out of the blood and tears of our ancestors
here in America as they suffered on the white man's plantations.
Yes, many good people are genuinely offended and others are
deeply concerned about rap music, and all have the right to oppose
the music and to express their opinions. And there are a few who
would defend the right to free speech with a greater fervor than
mine, but let's take a closer look at what has been said and think
about the consequences.
First the words. Some are concerned about the image of the black
community which is painted in words such as were described here
today. I will spell them rather than say them. "H-0, B-I-T-C-H"
and others. I must confess, I am not as offended as some have de-
scribed, or insulted when I hear cuss words and they find their way
into the arts. And I do respect, I really do respect that some might
feel genuinely offended and demeaned by such words.
But I grew up in St. Louis in the hood, in the ghetto, as many
of us did. I didn't first hear these words when Snoop said them.
I didn't first hear these words when it came out of so-called
gangsta rap music. I heard these words oftentimes by adults, by
those who held in highest esteem in the church on Sunday morn-
ing. But as they talked on the street, in the alleys, as they stood
on the comers, as they were in living rooms such as mine, I heard
these words, and so I am not quite offended.
I don't say to people, you should use them. I don't encourage
them, but we had better stop pretending like we are hearing them
for the first time.
But I am truly far more bothered and grieved by the painful
landscape revealed by these songs which tell story after story about
young black men losing their fight simply to survive in our rich Na-
Second, the message. Liberals and conservatives alike express a
concern that rap music causes violence, because the fear of crime
and violence has spread its way out of the ghettos and into every
single community in America today.
Liberals sometimes are looking for a solution and are beginning
to think that there might be a connection between art and violence.
If we ban music about the violent reality of our community, will
that end the violence?
Let's not kid ourselves. There are those who have a political
agenda in seeking to distract people from other issues. Sometimes
our friends, the conservatives, are having a field day. They have al-
ways believed blacks cause most of the crime in America. After all,
they say, look at the inordinately high number of blacks in prisons
and on death row. Now their evil propaganda stands virtusdly un-
opposed in today's public debate over rap music.
Let's not lose sight of what our real problem is. It is not the
words being used. It is the reality they are rapping about. For dec-
ades, you and I and so many others have talked about the lives and
the hopes of our people, the pain and the hopelessness, the depriva-
tion and abuse. Rap music is communicating that message like we
never have. It is, indeed, as was described, the CNN of the commu-
nity causing people from every sector, including black leadership,
to listen and pay heed.
Let me share with you what I see in rap music and what I be-
lieve it can mean to our communities and the future of our young
people. Transformation. Rap music will both figuratively and lit-
erally play a role in transforming the lives of youth in urban inner
For the past 3 years, I have brought rap artists to the Congres-
sional Black Caucus here in Washington. These young men and
women care deeply about their communities and their generation.
They have offered time and again to help, and they have asked how
they could help every year at the Congressional Black Caucus that
I have been here.
I have created a forum, because I saw what was coming and I
wanted us to get to know them and to interact with them and have
them tell us what was going on in the industry and what was hap-
pening with these young artists.
We have a room full of young people. Whether we have the GO
committee room or whether we nave the large room over in the
Cannon Building where we convene hundreds of people, we have
had before us— Cool Modi was one of our first who came to visit
with us, Andre Harrel who was mentioned today sat with us and
discussed who he is and what he does.
I have interacted in other ways with Russell Simmons and Ice
Cube. As a matter of fact, we honored Russell Simmons and Ice
Cube on the same program with Bill Cosby and Rosa Parks in Los
Angeles, because we are in the business of embracing and trans-
forming. We do not isolate or marginalize. We believe to the degree
we bring people together, the same people who feel alienated from
us and include them in what we do, not only will we be able to in-
fluence them; we will be able to transform them.
I had last year at the Congressional Black Caucus, a young man
that I love that I have adopted. He used to call himself Intelligent
Hoodlum. He is now called Tragedy. Tragedy told us about his life.
He told us about his mother on drugs. But he probably also told
us now that he is making money, how he is responsible for his
mother's rehabilitation and how well she is doing.
Whenever he is in the city, he calls me. We go to dinner. We go
to lunch. We talk, and he is constantly saying, Ms. Waters, can I
come to Congress and can I tell them about who we are and what
we are doing?
I tried to get him to come here today. We were not able to reach
Queen Latifah was at my women's group. My women's group is
the Black Women's Forum. We have a cross-section of women, but
it is mostly upper-middle-class women who earn good money and
who come from what would be considered strong backgrounds.
Queen Latifah received a standing ovation from women who
thought they would never sit in the room with a rap artist because
they did not know who she was.
They didn't understand how profound she really is. They did not
know how much she cared.
Today I am proud to announce that their involvement and sup-
port in the biggest and most important project of my career, a pio-
neering program which will be funded by many concerned people,
reflecting the broad spectrum of the entertainment industry, in-
cluding Snoop Doggy Dogg, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Ice T. Following
the L.A, rebellion, the Black Women's Forum and I created a very
small but successful pilot program based on the truth that thou-
sands upon thousands of young people hanging on American
streets comers want positive and productive lives, they want a way
out of the vicious vacuum created by joblessness, dropping out of
school, drugs, hustling, dysfunctional families and the criminal jus-
tice system. And our pilot program helped provide the way out.
Now we are expanding that pilot into a full-scale effort called
"L.A. 17 to 30." Madam Chairwoman, you and others in the Con-
gressional Black Caucus came to my defense and supported the "17
to 30" on the government side, where we identified some money in
the Summer Youth Program unused and we fought like the dickens
on the Floor and we were able to get that money now into the sys-
tem, and the regs are being developed for it. So on the public side,
we will have some money in the system to deal with "17 to 30."
That is that population of young people that we feel have been
dropped off of America's agenda.
On the private side, in Los Angeles, where we know this problem
better than anybody else, we have gotten the entertainment indus-
try now involved in supporting 5,000 young people. Soon, 5,000 of
these young people, mostly black and Latino males, will get that
chance through the Los Angeles 17 to 30 Program, where we will
be helping — where we would only be helping in our pilot programs
in a small way, a few people, we will now be helping 5,000, thanks
to the incredible support of the entertainment industry, particu-
larly, including rap performers.
There has been no program like this in our Nation's history and
it is my fervent hope and belief that it will succeed. We will go to
the streets where we will identify them, these young people age 17
to 30, and because we know young people who are the Crips and
the Bloods and the A-Tres and the Five Duces, and on and on and
on, they will be the recruiters for the program. They are the real
life people that are described by rap music, living on the fringe, in
a shadow world.
We will find them in Los Angeles, Inglewood, Gardena, Haw-
thorne, Lynwood, Compton, Carson and elsewhere in L.A. County,
L.A. 17 to 30 will operate with a bare minimum of overhead and
administration. It will contract with 100 qualified case managers,
each one of whom will provide old fashioned quality social work to
50 enrollees each.
During the course of one year, the 5,000 participants will receive
a stipend of $50 a week, money which they will use for very basic
necessities, including transportation, haircuts and lunch money.
The case manager's job will be to socialize and mainstream their
clients, and it can be done.
The clients will be enrolled in the nearest vocational education
program, job training program, high school diploma program, or
community college. The case managers will work with the young
people to help them understand the responsibilities of going to
school every day, and they must be enrolled and they must go to
get the stipend. They must be on time, following through with as-
signments and homework and being a good student whose goal is
to become educated or trained so they can be self-sufficient and
Case managers will be in constant contact with their clients. We
want every one of our clients to succeed. There will be regular
group meetings in the churches where each case manager will iden-
tify the church, where they will work with their 50.
They will bring before them role models and all the other kinds
of things when they meet with them once a week. They will also
follow up on day-to-day basis with the individual by going to the
schools, going to their homes, just working on the streets in the
hood, doing whatever it takes to work them through the problems
they encounter on a daily basis. Problems such as speech defi-
ciencies, lack of clothing, health issues that certainly exist in our
The case manager will be able to direct their clients to the appro-
priate resources and agencies making full use of the existent sys-
tems and networks to meet the needs of the participants.
Who will these case managers be? They will be contractors work-
ing from their own homes, each with a special 17 to 30 telephone
that will be installed in their home. The telephone company is
helping us to put together a communication system where the case
managers will be able to talk with each other and leave messages
and all the young people enrolled in the program will be able to
interact with their case managers.
They will be contracted working from homes to reduce the over-
head and to keep them free to be out on the streets. They will be
constantly interacting with other case managers, sharing concerns,
asking questions and finding new solutions.
The program is very low tech, but it is massive and it is going
to enrich our community magnificently, if we are successful. Our
goal is to help our individual clients develop positive attitudes
about work and security and a community free of crime.
We want to see that our clients receive education or training. We
want to better enable our clients to become independent, to find a
job or to successfully retain a job, and it is the case manager's re-
sponsibility to empower the individuals with the tools by which
they will do this.
Each case manager will earn an annual fee of $35,000. Adminis-
tration of the program will be minimal. The cost of the project for
one year is $17 million. Resources will largely come from the enter-
tainment community, and as I have said, we have received an over-
whelming enthusiastic response from the rap community in par-
ticular. They have shown tremendous initiative in asking repeat-
edly how they may help. They are the engine that is powering the
L.A. 17 to 30 program, and I am deeply grateful for their dedica-
tion and commitment to the community.
In closing, I just want to ask that we all stay in touch about the
program and help spread the word, and we want everybody to keep
us in their prayers and we want to make sure we direct the money
that we have put into Federal Government into our cities.
I see Snoop from time to time. I just saw him, as a matter of fact,
at the Super Bowl where he was an invited guest. Rap was the cen-
terpiece of the entertainment at the Super Bowl. Not only was
Snoop there and others, but they are a part of American society.