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Chisa D Pennix The Effects of Censorship the Rap Music Genre Senior Seminar Project Introduction Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances First Amendment of the US Constitution 1791 The expressions given above are derived from the First Amendment of the United States Constitution which guarantees the free exercise of speech Music lyrics in their original and intended form should be included in this right as they are extensions of songwriters and the artists speech Nonetheless artists are censored in many venues Its a fact of life for musicians especially rappers- that the original versions of their songs often get cleaned up just so they can be aired on the radio or shown on TV Benesch 1994 Reasoning behind censorship is related to the audience in which the music may be relayed as well as the actual content of the lyrics So record companies sometimes release two different versions of the same song- the clean or radio form and the original or street one with explicit lyrics intact Benesch 1994 Regardless of these facts censorship of any type gives the impression of a direct violation of the United States Constituti on The remainder of this paper focuses on the laws enforcements censors and a number of artists which have been subjected to censorship within the rap music genre Review of Related Literature 1What is censorship Some would argue that the governments construction of statutes limiting the areas in which certain lyrics can be played and heard is not censorship The actual definition of the word censor is a person who examines films and printed materials to determine what might be objectionable Websters Dictionary 1996 Who is the censor Each individual
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