Geraldo Rivera has made a bold statement. Yesterday (February 19th, 2015) on HuffPost Live, Geraldo said:

Hip-Hop has done more damage to black and brown people, then racism in the last  ten years.

The statement (and the rest of that interview) has sparked many a discussion. As an African-American AND a Hip-Hop artist, I found the majority of his statements as ignorant. I can only guess that his point is made by a lot of the drug-use driven, expensive-clothes wearing, high-end car buying, often times women-degrading music made popular by the likes of Jay Z, Eminem and Lil Wayne. From that aspect, I understand his statement, however, there are two (main) reasons his claim is still ludicrous:

  • There is more than one style of Hip-Hop -  To say an entire genre of music is detrimental to an entire group of people is equally as ignorant as saying all Rock-N-Roll music is Satanic. When you have many consciously lyrical artist like Common and Lupe Fiasco, and even Christian Rappers like Lecrae and Bizzle, I don't see how you can group the entire genre as being negative.
  • Hip-Hop is music; a form of entertainment - Although a large majority of Hip-Hop is gritty and involves street tales of violence, it's entertainment. The majority of rappers haven't lived or at least aren't still living the life that is often depicted in their lyrics.

I personally have issue with attacking one form of entertainment and glorifying another. There is plenty of sex, drugs and violence in movies (see also: 50 Shades of Grey and the record breaking numbers it's doing at the box office this week) and video games (like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty). You don't see Al Pacino, who played Scarface being ridiculed, or any actor that has ever been in mob or drug-related movie. Matter of fact, some even get awards for their accurate portrayals of these characters (see also: Denzel Washington in Training Day).

Geraldo also added some equally inane statements about tattoos and pants being worn below the butt. To me, this also shows his lack of knowledge, because neither tattoos or swagging jeans is synonymous with urban fashion.

All an all, if he doesn't like Hip-Hop, that's his prerogative, but to openly condemn the art and to make such a drastic proclamation is preposterous!