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Wednesday, 12 February, 2003, 18:58 GMT
Minister attacks rap lyrics
Dr Kim Howells
Kim Howells has hit out at rap music
Culture Minister Kim Howells has launched another attack on rap music claiming it "glamourises" gun culture.

Dr Howells, who is MP for Pontypridd, blamed the music industry for promoting material which glorifies guns as fashion accessories.

There have been periods in history in this country where people were desperately poor but didn't glorify this kind of stuff

Kim Howells

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, the minister said about lyrics in music known as 'gangsta' rap: "My objection to it is that it corrodes sensitivities and how we see the world.

"Anything that glamorises that phoney, that boastful bravery, using guns, using knives, is something we should hold a line against.

"I think they are very ugly lyrics."

Following the killings of two teenage girls in Birmingham in January, Mr Howells linked rap music with rising gun crime.

During the interview on the Today programme, he said that he did not believe that economics and poverty were the reason behind the problem.

Eminem
Eminem's lyrics have been criticised

"There have been periods in history in this country where people were desperately poor but didn't glorify this kind of stuff," he said.

"They did other things, they did things that were decent to each other, they said things that were not about killing each other and about abusing each other and abusing women.

"To say that simply because someone is poor they are going to turn to drugs and they are going to turn to guns is such a terrible thing to say about the vast majority of people in this country.

'Idiots'

"What we are looking at here is a very cynical attempt to romanticise and glorify these idiots who go around carrying guns and knives.

"What I would like...is for the record industry, which is making a packet out of this, to start thinking very seriously about engaging with their songwriters, singers and bands and saying to them 'is this what we really want to put out?'"

The minister said that he wanted rap artists to consider their responsibilities to the public.

"I hope that people who sing and write will think for themselves about what they sing and write and the possible effects it could have on people," Mr Howells added.


More from south east Wales
See also:

23 Jan 03 | Entertainment
13 Jan 03 | Politics
20 Dec 02 | Entertainment
19 Nov 02 | Politics
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