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How Music Reinforces Stereotypes?

The contemporary entertainment world is mostly covered by music from renown artists all over the world such as Michael Jackson, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, Rihanna, Shakira, Celline Dion among others. Places of entertainment such as the discotheques or clubs play the role airing music from these artists to listeners. Moreover, the competing companies lay commercial adverts of powerful artists in the strategic places in our cities or air them on TV to sell their products or send a message concerning a particular issue such as the importance of conserving our environment. The works of the artists in the music they produce covers a lot of what happens in our modern society in areas such as culture, religion, politics, economics, racism, gender, sexuality, drug abuse, corruption and crime activities. This paper intends to show how 50 Cent’s music reinforces the stereotypes in the form of race, gender and sexuality.

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A stereotype is an idea or image strongly and extensively held concerning a given person or object. These ideas would be in terms of race, gender, faith, region et cetera. It is clear and arguable that the society views African Americans as violent people who would mercilessly kill each other without caring. They are depicted to be gun totting hooligans who enjoy being against the law. This perception is reinforced by 50 Cent, one of the most successful African American rap music artists. The works found in 50 Cent lyrics like Someone Gotta Die Tonight show the elements of violence in the manner in which he states how he is going to kill the Negros he explains how he will load his AK 47 gun, arm himself with the knife in the hand in the operation of killing the negros whom he mentions in the lyrics without fearing any authority. This stereotypes the Negros in the sense that they can only be dealt with through such harsh means and no other means can be used to address the issues affecting them. It is also clear that the blacks in the white society seems to be very violent and to encounter them violent measures must be followed hence this gives a suspicious view against such individuals in the white society who are treated with due respect to a higher degree while neglecting the engross. element cultivates the gap in terms of the relationship in the society whereby animosity can be done to people who are looked upon and the relevant authority may neglect the issues affecting such groups of the people who might be minorities or major contributors to various sectors of the society. Thus the media can turn a blind eye on such people whenever they are mistreated violently or they may be shown how they are mistreated in other medium creating an impression or a perception on how other people view them (Hughes, 2003).

Given his great success in music, 50 cent acts as a model to which several young people would love to emulate. His lifestyle and way of life is a source of envy from several young people. Consequently, they would do anything to live like him. Stereotyping is reinforced on the issue of violence whereby his advert for the movie get rich or die trying was placed near the gate of a school. The analysis of the commercial billboard showed that the rapper was holding the microphone in one hand while the other hand was holding the gun. This shows a clear indication of his glorification of crime and murder. Holding a microphone in one hand and a gun in the other simply shows that the rapper is not just a singer but also a gun totting gangster. Those children trying to emulate his lifestyle will always believe that to as successful as fifty cent; you don’t just become a rapper but also ensure that you have a gun to blow of other people’s heads. In that advert about his movie titled Get Rich or Die Trying created a lot of controversy basing on fact that it was placed near the school and as it should be understood that students believe that education is the key to success. Therefore when they view such artist explaining on how to get rich by trying is an encouragement but the way he holds the gun in the hand creates an element of getting rich through violent means thus for those students who may not succeed in their education may opt to carry out criminal activities in order to sustain their livelihood through violent means because they may think that their celebrities accumulated his richness through that means hence threatening the security of their countries. The reality is that 50 cents had nine incidences of gun shot from various gangster groups from various places where his crew team had gone to perform their work. But 50 Cents wears bullet proof for his safety (Gamboa, 2004).

Violence is further depicted in fifty cent’s lyrics in the songs that act as sound tracks of the same movie. In one of the songs, many men, fifty cent explains that many men wish to see him dead. But then his response to the death wishes in the same song is,

“And niggas trying to take my life away
I put a hole in a nigga for fucking with me
My back on the wall, now you gon’ see
Better watch how you talk, when you talk about me
‘Cause I’ll come and take your life away” (lyrics A to Z, 2010).

This offers a clear depiction of violence and a form of life where ‘fucking’ with someone’s life is signing a death sentence.

Moreover the issue of racial disparity is stereotyped is reinforced in the rap music in the sense that the lyrics by 50 Cents titled ‘‘Somebody Gotta Die Tonight’’ the master piece stereotypes on the African Americans whom he refers to as niggaz were going to be shot by him by the use of the machine guns and the lyrics openly shows that the niggaz deserve to be killed since it is not the first time they have undergone such incidence.They are viewed as the people who should never deserve respect hence even they are called shit which is abusive language and whenever other races looks at them they think that such negros lack self esteem thus increasing the reinforcement of stereotyping concerning racial stereotypes. The blacks dominated in the music but the whites who perform very little are much more focused. Considering that the rap industry is marked by very few white artists, it drives the point home that violence depicted in rap music is an innate character of African Americans (Gamboa, 2004).

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It is stereotypically believed that African Americans are poverty stricken people who can only afford to live in ghettos. The African American artists are shown how they live their lives in the ghettos or their lives in the streets hence the outside community are misconceived and therefore begin to question themselves where these stereotyping from the about the race began to be reinforced. Incidence shows that rapping in white enabled Eminem to make higher sales from the music he recorded which he confessed that if it was not so the sales could be low. To add to that most fans were interested in the raps by blacks only because of the skill of the artists shown otherwise they still bear in mind that white rappers have higher standards thus intensifying the reinforcement of the stereotyping other races (Gamboa, 2004).

Next, it is clear that young African American women are stereotyped to sex objects that deserve no respect. They were created as tools of pleasure for men who can afford them. Although this is a stereotypical conception, the lyrics in rap music tend to drive the young girls into believing this and hence accepting the status quo. Rap music has affected the sexuality of the young girls or ladies who end up being used by the artists thereby undermining women who end up engaging into early sexual lives. The rapping team of 50 Cent uses women whose dressing codes are alarming hence the young girls and boys character is influenced hence their behavior in terms of sex is affected. In addition the women are simply being used as the sexual objects by the men whose objectives are endless hence to succeed in their rap music women must be used at the fore front to achieve the required results therefore the teenagers who are highly keen on music from such rappers adopt certain roles from such artists which may not be applicable to their culture or religion thus causing culture conflict in the society from which they come or contradicting the family values established by their parents. Lyrics to the song Thug Love is a clear depiction of how women are degraded in rap music. The artist uses the language that sexually degrades the women as mere sexual objects and mistreats the women while making love. For instance in that master piece he says that when her lover comes home he would tie her on the bedpost while caressing her. The media shows the music of 50 Cent in many instances and in such music the women and the men are conceptualized in very different forms hence creating the gender stereotypes (Gamboa, 2004).

Furthermore, the music video clips and various lyrics tend to differentiate how women are being used by men as being powerful in the society in terms of the wealth they possess. The social class they associate with, the expensive vehicles they drive and the deals they make among the men themselves make women follow them. It becomes stereotypical that men are the rich gender. Women only need to stick to the most powerful men in order to elevate their economic status. It is this way that the society adopts the stereotypes basing on what the rappers relay their lyrics in their master piece of work in the form of the music they play. To add more the works by the rapper like 50 Cent clearly shows that women are tools for the men to use when they are involved in the dangerous deals such as drug trafficking. Women are depicted as baits to corrupt the authority that might stand on their way which in the end may hinder them from accomplishing the mission set by the men behind the deal. After the deal is over the women are only given less returns or they may be given sex as the return of their output by the men like for instance in the lyrics of 50Cents featuring Robin Thickle titled Cocaine the lyrics highlights how the artists are discussing how they got the cocaine from Columbia and how each two men are sniffing it although the police are not far away from the scenes. After that the lyrics further discusses how they will make sex with her after the deal is completed this indicates that women are being degraded by the male in terms of gender and sexuality in the sense that men are being shown as being aggressive, strong, manipulative in the manner in which they handle the issues facing them in order to gain what they desire in life while the women are seen as the weaker people who lack the spirit of aggressiveness and can only handle the matters that are not strenuous such as sex.These reinforces the sexuality stereotyping from the community by the people who watch the music. Artists construct their art work with such themes which finally end up in the media industries such as MTV which shows the rap music containing such elements where the women or a particular gender are shown with undermining music videos showing the women being used as the tools to enrich their male counter part as being the stronger gender by them acquiring the status that elevate them while assigning the roles that disrespect the women by viewing them as being weak. This is a clear example of gender stereotyping (Browne, 2003).

In conclusion, it should be clear that the works of art, like for the case of 50 Cent in this paper can easily reinforce stereotypical ideas. The way with which an artist deals with the issues of the gender, sexuality and race affects his audience or his consumers who may embrace the elements of violent means to acquire quick wealth which may threaten the security of the community. On the sexuality younger people may change their behavior such as beginning sexual activities at tender age due to their stereotypical beliefs reinforced and influenced by the works of the artist. It can also justify conceptions of races and gender. Major contributions in the arts industry may be of higher standards or low standards depending on the stereotyped beliefs. Finally, sex and gender as shown in the works indicates that women are the objects used by men to achieve what they aspire. This depicts a stereotypical perception in terms of gender.

Reference List

Browne, D. (2003). Money Talks: it ain’t anything But a G Thing for Rapper 50 Cent, Who’s Looking to Get Rich or Die Tryin’ with the Help of Eminem, Entertainment Weekly, p.148.

Gamboa, G. (2004) Rap music reaches a crossroads. Newsday, pp.17-19

Hughes, Z. (2003). The 9 lives of 50 Cent: Rap star survives shootings, stabbing and death Threats. Ebony, pp. 52–53.  Web.

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Lyrics A to Z. Fifty Cent lyrics. Web.

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