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Diane Weathers, former editor in chief of Essence magazine, says women must take the lead in the fight against misogynistic images of women in hip-hop. "You cannot go to the industry, people in the industry, and expect them to fix this," Diane says. "Women have to say, 'No.'"

Russell says he doesn't believe the industry should promote "dirty behavior on any part," but he points out that there is the right to freedom of speech and expression. "They have a right to say what's on their mind. I'm not saying we have to put them on the radio," Russell says. "The idea [should be] to lift up each voice to say the most positive things."

Still, Diane says that performers who use derogatory language should face consequences. In an earlier town hall discussion, she said performers should lose their contracts if the behavior persists. "They have to know that it's not acceptable if you keep doing this kind of music. The contract is off," Diane said. "These guys are all really embraced by the mainstream. It has to be unacceptable."

Russell says taking away record deals could actually make an artist more popular—and most could distribute their own albums. "They're just as big without the record company."
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FROM: After Imus: The Hip-Hop Community Responds
Published on July 13, 2009

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