RAP PROTEST HITS NARAS 

RAP PROTEST HITS NARAS

A Germantown woman prominent in Republican affairs, Cherrie Holden, has decided to publicly resign from the 32-member Board of Governors of the local chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Holden, who is also a member of the state Board of Education from Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District and was a state coordinator of the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign, has for the last year been one of five officers in the local NARAS chapter, holding the position of secretary-treasurer. She is business manager for High Stacks Records, which specializes in gospel recordings but recently did a retro album featuring the music of former Stax artists. Her resignation is not meant primarily as a statement directed at the local chapter or even at NARAS at large, Holden says. She intends it as a protest against what she sees as alarming tendencies in the popular music industry -- notably its acceptance of that nitty-gritty street variety known as rap. Holden’s letter of resignation from the Board of Governors goes as follows: “Our chapter has grown so much in the past several years and our industry has greatly changed. Along with these changes has come a very different focus for our organization. We have moved from a representative organization to a membership organization. The recognition of our art has also changed. No longer is there honor in rewarding the music industry’s finest for bringing the world music as a form of art. We find our industry now rewarding and lifting up the avocation of hate and violence through anger-filled lyrics of spoken-word obscenities known as Rap. We applaud beautiful young teenagers dressed up to allure, singing words that imply explicit knowledge well beyond their years. These are the role models that influence the youth of our nation. “Thomas Carlyle once said, ‘Music is well said to be the speech of angels; in fact, nothing among the utterances allowed to man is felt to be so divine.’ I believe, as did Carlyle, the unique gifts we are given by God are to be used to offer this world refreshment from the daily struggles we face. So strongly do I believe that we have lost our focus that I feel I must resign from the organization that is lauding these things of which I wholeheartedly disagree. Once I believed that my service on this board could perhaps slow down or even reverse this disturbing trend by filling one position to hold an anti-vote. I was wrong and perhaps thought too highly of my personal ability to influence in this matter. I encouraged several of you serving now to join me in this effort. My apologies to you for leaving though I do encourage you to listen to your convictions. “I hope that one day soon our country will understand the significance of rewarding that which is pure and wholesome and uplifting. I love you all and appreciate the opportunity to have worked with you.” Holden said she had been somewhat aggrieved when the Memphis rap group Three 6 Mafia won a Premier Player award from the local NARAS chapter. “They’re angry and hate-filled,” she said. “We should not glorify that stuff. I’ve mainly been on the board to represent the local gospel community and spotlight them. If that [rap] is what the people want, I can’t approve it. I guess I’ll just make room for somebody that agrees with the philosophy of the organization.” Holden said she had a telephone conversation Tuesday with local NARAS director Jon Hornyak, who called her from Los Angeles, site of this week’s Grammy Awards celebration. “He understands my position,” Holden said. “He said his position was one of free speech, that he didn’t want to exclude any genre of music. I can understand that, too.”

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