‘I’m Fascinated by Hip-Hop,’ Says Prez Candidate John Kerry
Rich Rock, SOHH.com, Mar. 31
“I’m fascinated by Rap and Hip-Hop” said Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry during an MTV Choose or Lose forum. Offering up a heavy dose of street credibility, Kerry defended gangsta rap, freedom of speech and the realities of street life.
Kerry spoke with MTV’s Gideon Yago and took questions from the audience last night in MTV’s annual Choose or Lose forum. The youth voting movement this year endeavors to get 20 million new voters to the polls and impact what is projected to be a tight presidential race.
The Boston-born heir by marriage to the Heinz Ketchup fortune, offered his perspective on rap music as the voice of the streets.
“I’m fascinated by rap and by hip-hop. I think there’s a lot of poetry in it. There’s a lot of anger, a lot of social energy in it. And I think you’d better listen to it pretty carefully, ‘cause it’s important.”
When questioned about offensive rap lyrics, Kerry said there is a line to be drawn, but defended freedom of speech.
“I think that there is a line you draw between government intervention and the right of speech and the right for people to express themselves, but do I think there are standards of decency in that? Yes, I do. Do I think that sometimes some lyrics in some songs have stepped over what I consider to be a reasonable line? Yeah, I do. I think when you start talking about killing cops or something like that, it bothers me.”
Calling rap a “reflection of life”, Kerry empathized with the struggles reflected in the music.
“I’m still listening because I know that it’s a reflection of the street and it’s a reflection of life, and I understand all that. I’m not for the government censoring or stepping in. But I don’t think it’s inappropriate occasionally to talk about what you think is a standard or what you think is a value that is worth trying to live up to.”