Shaun Bailey, Tory youth adviser blames hip hop music for the killing of black youths in London

“Hip Hop ain’t got nothing good to say to you. Twenty-seven black boys were killed in London last year by other black boys… Hip Hop sings about filling people with bullets and that’s what hip hop has done to us.
“If black people talk about killing black people, then what’s stopping other people from doing it?”

Shaun Bailey, Cameron’s infamous adviser on youth and ‘ambassador’ to the Big Society, angered a London audience last night by claiming that hip hop is to blame for the killing of black youths in London. Bailey was on the panel at a ‘Hip Hop on Trial: Hip Hop doesn’t enhance society, it degrades it’ debate at the London Barbican, seated alongside heroic civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, American rapper KRS-One and Egyptian ‘Arab Spring’ rapper Deeb, among others.
Google provided video links to musicians Questlove, Q-Tip and Estelle, rap outfit Slaughterhouse and political satirist P. J. O’Rourke to join in the debate. Bailey’s comments were greeted by a ripple of boos from the audience. Click here for more.

Do you agree? Is Hip Hop to blame for the killing of black youths in London?


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7 thoughts on “Shaun Bailey, Tory youth adviser blames hip hop music for the killing of black youths in London

  1. Nicholas says:

    We need to remember that not all ‘Hip Hop’ promotes violence, aggression and the degradation of women.

    There are many skillful, thoughtful and conscious lyricists out there who, unfortunately, don’t get the mainstream attention some of the other popular artists receive. They for certain would rile at the thought of their art form being tainted by those who celebrate violence, sex and materialism.

    I think the question about Hip Hop, or any other genre that promotes violence and degrades women, should be, is it having a positive influence on the listener, young or old? If the answer is no, then we have a problem and need to consider what should be done to counter it.

    Though I can understand why he would’ve received heckles and boos at his comments, in the broader context, I think Shaun Bailey has a good argument, which would’ve no doubt been shaped by his own life experience and what he’s observed over the years working with young people in very hostile life circumstances.

    I think it would be an interesting experiment to talk openly to people from different generations in an attempt to determine how what they have listened to (with the messages conveyed), whether that be Hip Hop or any other genre, has influenced their thinking, values and morals in life, .

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. MrTheKidd says:

    That’s very tired and old rhetoric, isn’t it? I’d blame broken familes, absent fathers, a lack of any respect of authority and an individualistic culture. I know it’s more complex than that, but I think it can be traced back to the promotion of self ; once the individual is the most important person, then communities & families etc break apart, and this is just one of many repercussions. It’s such a shame that those in a position to make a serious change are throwing out stupid provocative comments that create a reaction rather than considered strategies with long-term goals that demand a call to action. That’s all any gov’t minister seems to be about, a quick fix to gain some votes rather than lasting change. It took at least a generation to get to where we are and it’ll take the same to undo, but not many people are prepared to put in the work or have the patience.

    We’ll get there Ben, one day we’ll get there.

  3. bcwlindsay says:

    I think the below you tube clip best summarise my opinions on his comments:

  4. Nicholas says:

    Interesting video.

    Obviously, Hip Hop can’t be held solely responsible for crime. That thinking would be absurd, as we all know that there are a host of other factors contributing to criminal activity including family breakdown, unemployment, and so on.

    But to think that ‘all’ Hip Hop (of the negative kind) does ‘at its lowest form’ is ‘reflect a completely degraded society’ to quote the professor, is to deny that those who use such a powerful medium to communicate their mindset and attitudes to the masses, irrespective of their upbringing, is to completely undermine the power of the spoken word.

    How can we deny that their message doesn’t have a destructive impact on the impressionable psyche? That in itself is ludicrous. For we know, that words have the power of life and death.

    Hip Hop in itself isn’t the issue – right. But some of the messages communicated in Hip Hop, which reinforce self idolising, violence, materialism, lust, and lack of respect for authority is.

    And unfortunately, as Shaun Bailey and others would probably argue, there are those who happen to use Hip Hop as a lucrative medium to do it – and in the process shape an impressionable generations thinking, whilst desensitising them to core moral values in the process.

    Thanks again for sharing Ben.

  5. bcwlindsay says:

    Let’s look at what was said:

    “Hip Hop ain’t got nothing good to say to you. Twenty-seven black boys were killed in London last year by other black boys… Hip Hop sings about filling people with bullets and that’s what hip hop has done to us.
    “If black people talk about killing black people, then what’s stopping other people from doing it?”

    It’s the generalised opinion that one specific genre of music is responsible for the deaths of a specific demographic of society which I have a problem with. No doubt that elements of Hip Hop are negative, violent and are degrading to society. However, the same can also be said for numerous other genres of music and numerous other forms of media. Why is Hip Hop always demonised? Do we just continue to blame the artists making the music or do we look beyond the surface and question the executives who are signing and distributing the negative music, who are making billions off the music which has a negative impact on the youth. To get to some of the real issues within the music industry as a whole, we should ‘follow the money’.

    I find his arguement tired and uninformed, feeding into Daily Mail reading moral panic that everything that is diverse is the root of societal problems. I’m personally against these types of forum discussions where one aspect of a culture can be presented as a pandemic to the evils of society. We all know the reason for ‘black boys’ being killed does not begin and end with listening to Hip Hop. Elements of Hip Hop culture may influence a particular mindset but I refuse to align with his thinking that Hip Hop is totally to blame. For every 50 Cent, Lil Wayne and Rick Ross there are the Roots, Talib Kwali and Yasiin Bey. Why are more positive artists not given the same budgets as artists who promote such violence? If we are going to blame Hip Hop then the entire record industry should be taken to task for being allowed distribute music which apparently kills.

    Great debate guys, thanks for contributing.

  6. Nicholas says:

    Exactly – those behind the industry should be held to account – for sure. Equally, we know that it isn’t solely Hip Hop that is to blame for the societal ‘evils’ we see.

    But in looking at the issue, failing to acknowledge the negative message some artists communicate, as though doing so is pandering to moral panic, is something we’d want to be wary of.

    What we listen to and watch shapes us.

    Just so with young people, who when receiving little or no positive input, will be influenced by what they hear from the popular artists who they idolise.

    Good discussion.


  7. bcwlindsay says:

    Agreed. The artists have a responsibility to the listener also. I think we just need to acknoledge what fuels the negative lyrics not just the outcomes but that’s for another post 🙂

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