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USA: Feminist critique censored for indecency

30 June 2001

The Federal Communications Commission censored Sarah Jones’ song ‘Your revolution’ for indecency. Ironically, Jones’s song is in fact feminist critique and a statement against indecency and more particularly the sexual exploitation of women in pop music.

 

The spoken-word song ‘Your revolution’ was aired on the KBOO-FM radio station in Portland in October 1999. The Federal Communications Commission reported that a listener was offended by the song. This resulted in KBOO-FM being fined 7,000 US dollars and the song being censored for indecency. Now the song cannot be aired in the US between 6 AM and 10 PM when children might be listening.

Inspirational
Deena Barnwell, a volunteer DJ at KBOO-FM who played the track, told the American newspaper the Village Voice that she finds the song inspirational: “[The song] says it’s cool, you can be in the hip-hop game, but you don’t need to be no ’ho. There’s nothing else out there besides this song that tells girls that. I feel like it’s a personal responsibility for me as a B-girl to get it out there.”

Critique of macho values
According to the Village Voice, KBOO-FM and their lawyer were very surprised by how the FCC interpreted the song. The FCC only takes into consideration the sexual references and totally ignores the political and social context and is therefore missing the feminist critique of the macho values of the typical rap music.

 

Sources

Sarah Jones’ official homepage

www.sarahjonesonline.com

the Village Voice – June 2001
‘ Counter “Revolution” ‘

Further reading on the case

New York Times – January 30, 2002
Songwriter Sues F.C.C. Over Radio Sanctions

BBC News – January, 2004
‘Cover Versions: Sarah Jones’

 

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