The Lighted Candle Society
818 CONNECTICUT AVENUE, N.W. SUITE 1100
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20006
DECEMBER 2003 NEWSLETTER John L. Harmer
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
FROM THE CHAIRMAN’S DESK
In the past six months we have distributed newsletters that have dealt with such issues as the victims of pornography, the very powerful influence of the pornography industry upon the homosexual movement in the United States, and the incredible success of the pornography industry in pacifying the public at large toward the production and distribution of pornography.
This month our newsletter is focused on an issue that far too few of us understand. That issue is the incredible blatancy of pornography in the music that is so skillfully marketed to our youth. You will be shocked and saddened when you have read the material contained in this newsletter regarding the prevalence and depravity of pornography in the music that is being consumed by the American youth from the ages of ten to twenty-one. In order to balance that dark but realistic picture we have also included a very positive message from a mother of ten children who successfully guided their interest in music to that which is uplifting and edifying.
Our first segment of this newsletter has been written by a young man named James (Jim) Smith. Jim spent more than six years as a booking agent for various musical performers of the so-called “Rap” and “Hard Rock” variety. Jim finally became so disillusioned with the depraved and vile nature of the music that these individuals and groups performed that he walked away from his profession. Jim was given a copy of my book, A War We Must Win, and came to see me about an issue that I had not dealt with in the book, namely, the prevalence of pornography in the music to which the vast majority of our youth listen. Jim also pointed out to me the very direct financial participation in the world of “Rap” and “Hard Rock” music by one of America’s most powerful and wealthy producers of pornography, Larry Flint. After listening to Jim’s account I felt it was important that the members of The Lighted Candle Society receive a copy of his narrative.
When you have finished reading Jim’s narrative and are asking yourself “...where will it all end?” please turn to Carolyn Harmer’s account of how she made certain that her children from their pre-school infancy to their college graduation were committed to music that was uplifting and edifying. Her account will give you renewed assurance that this too “...is a war that we can and must win.”
THE RAP/PORN CROSSOVER
by James (Jim) Smith
“It is now common knowledge in the Rap music industry that Larry Flint is in production with multi-million record selling rapper Snoop Dogg. Together they are producing a series of rap/hardcore pornography videos to be sold in collaboration with Dogg’s regular selling records. The result of this collaboration has been to open up a new and vast inner-city market for Flint and his pornography magazine, Hustler.
Flint and Dogg produced two versions of their first videotape. The “R” rated video is sold alongside with Snoop Dogg’s releases at local record stores and online to kids as young as 17 years. The other version is a XXX rated version that can be purchased on-line by anyone at any age who has access to a debit card. The pornography industry uses this marketing strategy to attract young Rap fans to pornography. The video includes songs by Snoop Dogg that cannot be found elsewhere, making it a “must have” for the legions of under age fans of the gangster Rapper. The Rapper’s porn enticements are also described to underage buyers in his songs like “...you got what I want” off of his 2002 release.
Snoop Dogg’s records are marketed by the Rap mega label Priority Records. Priority Records has contracts with many of the most popular performers in the Rap, heavy metal, Punk Rock, Hard Rock, and Rock and Roll media. Priority Records performers appear on MTV, BET and VHI in high rotation on a daily basis. Without exception all of these so called songs are heavy laden with constant sexual content.
The principle buyers of Rap music are young men in the sixteen to twenty-four age group, but a huge volume of the sales are actually going to minors from the ages of twelve to eighteen. Hustler Magazine’s deal with Snoop Dogg taps into a new market for the pornography industry, one that spells big money for Flint and others of his ilk. The first of these highly marketed videos sold over one hundred and fifty thousand copies, and the market is growing larger with each new release.
Other Rap performers, such as Chaos and Mystical, who have been featured on MTV and are constantly on most hard rock radio stations, have collaborated in the production of a pornographic music video. Shortly after that video was released Mystical was arrested on rape charges. The list goes on and on with many of the Rap industry’s top names and record sellers appearing in pornographic motion pictures, producing videos, and providing the background music for other porn motion pictures in order to attract the younger audience.
The Rap music industry is also featuring porn stars on their national tours, where thousands of young fans become acquainted with the top names in pornographic motion pictures and videocassettes. These national tours generate millions of dollars in profits when they sell out stadiums and concert halls all around the country. There is no age limit on these shows. The porn producers are supplying autograph and merchandise booths to cater to the thousands of young fans who attend these live Rap shows. There is an immense amount of money changing hands here. When a major porn producer like Flint is able to team up with an industry that sells millions of albums to children as young as thirteen (and listened to by younger children) the porn industry gains a new market among the vast number of early teenagers who worship the Rap icons.
Other Rap music performers, such as Eminem, JA Rule and others, are expanding their market by hiring porn stars to appear in their music videos. These music videos are played in high rotation on MTV, BET (Black Entertainment TV) and VHI during the hours when most kids are getting home from school. All the while Snoop Dogg and Master P are appearing as special guests on the Nickelodion after school show for kids called “Slime Time Live.” A Rapper group called Sesame Street and others who are involved with porn are also presenters on “The Kids Choice Awards,” and on Nickelodeon which is owned by MTV.
MTV has gone from a station that began as simply providing a music video format to becoming the voice for all that the pornography industry has to offer. The Spring Break content on MTV is totally consistent with this strategy. Typical programs include music acts that depict a series of pseudo-lesbian behavior. The acts are always performed before a crowd of young men who are cheering for the performers to carry out their carnal activities with each other. Spring Break also normalizes the drunken anti-social actions of the high school and college crowd who gather to these events. All of the hedonism and vulgarity is presented as normal and fun and desirable.
MTV is also home to many sexually explicit themes on almost all of its programming. If the Rap videos presented do not contain the sexually explicit materials the rest of the album will. The young people who buy those albums then assimilate the attitudes that are portrayed in the words of the various songs presented. In the Rap videos that feature female performers they are openly sexually seductive and carnal. The women performers in the Rap culture use their sex as a tool for their own financial gain. Women in the Rap culture are defined by their sexual desirability. They willingly sing and dance in such as way as to represent women as little more than a commodity to be had and used.
Rap culture makes the terms and lifestyles associated with prostitution as not only acceptable but admirable. The Rap song “Pimpin aint easy, but it sure is fun” is an example of that mind set. The MTV Rap culture legitimatizes the message of the pornographers. Snoop Dogg’s album entitled “Girls Gone Wild” was sold over MTV and other similar Rap music stations. There were unconfirmed allegations that underage girls were lured into participating in the video by the promise of drugs and money if they would perform deviant sex acts on one another.
This pro-pornography mentality is rapidly gaining acceptance in the punk rock and rock and roll venues as well. As a rule they do not treat sexual conduct as graphically as the Rap artists do, but the message is exactly the same. The effect that this sexually supercharged TV has on the kids who watch it is totally predictable. In the end the nonstop parade of images that are each slightly worse than the one before become blatantly pornographic. The ultimate deviancy is represented by a performer known as R. Kelly. R. Kelly has been charged more than once on allegations of statutory rape and videotaping his sex acts with underage girls. While facing these allegations of statutory rape, child molestation and child porn his new album went to the top of the charts for sales in 2003. Wherever he goes he is embraced by legions of under aged female fans.
More than any other media, the Rap culture is the biggest proponent of the pornographer’s message to youth from age twelve and thirteen to twenty-two and twenty-four. The messages in their music are all filled with deviant sexual behavior. This merger of deviant groups puts new urgency to the mission of educating parents to know what their kids are listening to. The invasive nature of the Rap, Punk Rock, and Rock and Roll industry is such that it reaches millions of kids every day. Whether it be Nickelodeon hyping gangster Rappers and other sexually supercharged performers on after school programs, or MTV and radio giving twenty four hours a day seven days a week air time to Rap videos featuring porn stars, or the live performances sponsored in part by the porn industry and attended by hundreds of thousands of young people, this unifying of pop music with pornography can only have one ultimate result.
What has now come to pass is a marketing union that will have more success than any others have ever had at hooking the youth who partake of the Rap culture into the pornography syndrome. Due to the vile nature of so much of the Rap culture the youth are exposed to violence and hyped sexual content at younger and younger ages. Over the past five years I have seen the porn industry’s powerful influence increase dramatically within the culture of music that the youth listen to and adulate. The Rap culture and the pornography industry mutually gain more and more profits as they continue to produce excessively violent and sadistic pornographic images through song and dance, as well as actual performance of overtly deviant sex acts. Those who are the most depraved in their presentations are promoted by the two industries (Rap music and pornography) as the ideals for the generation from the seventh grade to post high school age.
The children who spend most or all of the day without any parental supervision are the most susceptible to becoming seduced by this culture. The children who have no parental supervision are certain to be captured by it, most likely sooner than later. I can not make it much clearer than this.”
James (Jim) Smith - November 28, 2003
The following suggestions on how to help children learn to appreciate and desire to have quality music in their lives was written by Carolyn J. Harmer. Mrs. Harmer is the mother of ten children, all of whom in their youth learned to play the piano, and most of them a second instrument as well. As adults each of these children, their spouses and their children, have continued to exemplify in their lives and their homes the appreciation for and participation in wholesome and uplifting music.
TEACHING CHILDREN TO LOVE AND UNDERSTAND
UPLIFTING AND HIGH QUALITY MUSIC
by Carolyn J. Harmer
“Parents have the prime responsibility for teaching their children to love and appreciate good music. Over the past decade more and more FM radio stations are opting to replace classical music formats with rock music. Children have easy access to noise that passes for music. Public schools are eliminating school music and instrumental training programs as a way to balance budgets. Here are some ways we encouraged our own children to love good music.
1. Invest in a piano and enable your children to take piano lessons. The piano is a good instrument to help children to learn the basics of rhythm and note reading. All ten of our children took piano lessons. Later each of them was encouraged to select another instrument that they would learn to play in addition to the piano. Among the other instruments that they selected and learned to play were the cello, violin, flute, trumpet, trombone, guitar, and organ. They were so busy practicing good music, they didn’t have time to listen to rap, rock, or heavy metal.
2. Encourage your children to practice regularly. Make practice charts. Reward children for their effort with a trip to a community concert, a special recital, a new CD, or a special musical activity.
3. Attend school musical events. Although public schools have drastically cut music programs, many still offer beginning instrumental training classes, orchestra and band classes, and choir classes. When your child is performing, attend and cheer him or her on. If your school doesn’t have a music program, offer to start a music appreciation class and teach children about some of the great composers. Volunteer to come into your child’s classroom for an hour every week and teach the children to sing patriotic songs, folk songs, and holiday songs, such as Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Presidents’ Day, to name a few.
4. Listen to good music in your own home. I almost always listen to the classical radio station, or play classical CD’s. If your children hear good music, they will develop good listening habits. You choose the music that comes into your home.
5. When you are going somewhere in the car, sing together. This is a fun time to sing folk songs, nonsense songs, rounds, and carols. Take turns choosing the next song. Always have a favorite tape or CD to play when the children get tired of singing themselves.
6. Support classical music stations in your community. Send in financial contributions, to show your support. Write the station to request specific music. Share with your children the fact that you have done all of these things for their benefit.
7. Take your family to symphony concerts in your community. Your entire family could attend one concert for the same price as one ticket to a major rock or heavy metal concert. Many symphonies now have special programs for children or for the entire family. Many communities also have youth symphonies which provide many opportunities for young people to participate.
8. Create a family tradition of attending a Messiah sing-in during the Christmas season. Buy the score and read the scriptural references with your family before you attend. In many communities, admission is free. (This has become an annual tradition in our family).
Of our ten children, five of them actively provide music direction in their children’s schools and church services. They do all of this as volunteers apart from their professional lives or home making responsibilities. We also are confident that the effort we made to provide our children with a love for high quality music has provided other dividends. Among these ten children there are nineteen university and graduates degrees. Their mutual love of quality music has created an additional positive factor in their familial relationships. Without exception they are good friends and highly supportive of one another. I can assure you without equivocation that we regard our commitment to high quality music in our home as one of the most essential reasons why our ten children with their spouses and children enjoy positive and purposeful lives.”
The Lighted Candle Society
818 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20006
Dear Mr. Harmer:
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