In 2004, female students at Spelman College in Atlanta made headlines when they protested a scheduled performance by rapper Nelly at their school. At the time, students said they were upset at how the rapper treated the women in his videos. Their protest made headlines and the concert was cancelled, but student Leana says ultimately their concerns fell on "deaf ears." "It's disillusioning, really. We've been speaking out on this for so long. … It's great now that the platform is open once again for us to discuss these issues," she says.
Another student, Angela, says rap music with demeaning lyrics isn't the only problem. "It's also reality TV shows. The consumers who buy the rap music are a problem. The sponsors who support them should pull out just like they pulled out from Don Imus," she says. "The companies that hire them, the people who give them their contracts—all of that needs to be addressed, and I think this is the perfect time to do that."
Several of the Spelman students involved in the protest say they no longer listen to songs with demeaning lyrics.
"I think we need to be more conscious as women who are being represented by these names and derogatory statements," says D'Lynn, another Spelman student. "We need to be more conscious about what we accept and listen to."