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Jun 26, 2012

Senior Counsel Courtenay in UK Hip Hop Debate

Eamon Courtenay

A first of its kind global debate was held in London today, the hip-hop genre of music and whether it’s an art form that gives the street a voice or if it’s simply about money, misogyny and materialism. The lineup of panelists included civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, computer scientist and composer Jaron Lanier, hip-hop pioneer and legend KRS-One as well as other celebrities from the musical world. Under the banner, Hip-Hop on Trial, the debate was done in a courtroom format and Belize’s own Attorney Eamon Courtenay worked the floor of the London’s Barbaric Center, arguing for the motion that “Hip-Hop doesn’t enhance society, it degrades us.” Courtenay stood strongly against the language that he considers demeaning, especially towards women, but the artists in the discussion defended the expressions, saying it’s a matter of perception. Here’s a snippet of what Courtenay had to say about the subject.


Eamon Courtenay, Attorney

“The society that I’m talking about is a society that does not have a problem with saying I’m going to kill you and glorifies that and sings songs over and over and have on the video screen images of killing, of murder. Listen to me, the point is very simple; music is powerful, hip-hop is powerful and I believe, with respect, we are losing a segment of our society that is not strong enough to overcome it. Look at the way people dress, look at the way people talk, look at the way people think; we have got to give them a better alternative. That’s my view.

Life is not as simple as some people want us to believe. KRS-one, you taught me a lot tonight; I don’t believe you. You see the point of it is this, KRS is representative of the good in hip-hop; he doesn’t sing about b****** and h***, he doesn’t sing about niggers. Deep represents the good in hip-hop; he was in Tajiri Square creating and participating in a revolution, using hip-hop in a positive way to bring down a tyrannical regime. And let me say something to you ladies and gentlemen, hip-hop is powerful; hip-hop is a force in this world. It must be a force for good and that is the point that I have been making and that is the point that we on this side have been making. And I will say this, if you wish to lull yourself and delude yourself into believing that a b**** is a car and so all is well, and if you want to believe that a nigger is a king and therefore we are exhausting each other when we call each other nigger, I say to you, you are in hip-hop-osphere which is a dark place. Let me end by saying this, I started by saying that I respect hip-hop, I will not discuss its beautiful and glorious history, because that we all—every single one of us here—accept. But I am not going to close my eye to this and I’m going to leave you with a quote; this is what I’m not going to close my eye to “there are certain elements of hip-hop that glamorize violence, elevates misogyny and sexism. To that degree, it has negative.” Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, I agree with you.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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4 Responses for “Senior Counsel Courtenay in UK Hip Hop Debate”

  1. Jason Guerrero says:

    Congrats to Mr. Courtney for a riveting delivery. His case was well developed and, though the forum seemed to have been from a purely intellectual perspective, any exploration of the issue helps us all to really search within ourselves to establish a clear position.

  2. now i see says:


  3. Ram says:

    Courtenay is right. The music realy sounds good but too many youth don’t have the sense to know the diffrence between entertainment and real life. The thug life is glamorous only on MTV

  4. BMNJ says:

    Christian hip hop all the way! But sad to say many influential hip hop artists are not followers of the Almighty.

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