Censorship in Music


Censorship in music is a topic that has brought much controversy in the past two decades. There have been many different arguments on the topic, however the question still remains as if music should be censored or not. I think that music should not be censored for one solid reason: artist must reveal and express their feeling however they see it fit, that’s why we call them artists.

Before we can form an opinion on this much-debated topic, we must hear both sides of the argument. Some people believe that music should be censored so all audiences can listen to it without it containing any controversial lyrics. Others believe it should not be censored and musical artists should be able to speak, sing, rap, or rhyme freely without anyone censoring them.

"Whether a person finds a work obscene depends largely on his or her moral or religious beliefs. These views change with each generation and further complicate the censorship dilemma." (Censorship by, Bradley Steffens page 97)
The quote above is very true. Religious or moral beliefs have a great influence on how a person feels about censorship. As generations pass on, the common beliefs may change. Right now, America is more uncensored than ever. However, things were very different a few generations ago. The freedom of speech was limited, and parents couldn’t make money off of record companies by suing them.

If people believe that some of the language musical artists use is vulgar, obscene, and crude, they should not listen to it. Music that is played on media such as radio and television-which is free to listen to by all audiences- is either silenced, or edited. Some artists even make two versions of one song: censored and uncensored. I think parents that would not wish for their kids to hear foul language should be happy about that fact. This does not include cable television, which can be audited by parents, since the parents must order and pay for the channel to be viewed.

"Preventing or punishing speech…is a clear violation of the First Amendment."
(Censorship. Opposing viewpoints by, Greehaven Press page 147). This quote here is the "battle cry" of many anti-censorship groups. When you really think about it, it is a violation of the First Amendment, which says: "Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech or of the press". The First Amendment guarantees the right to freedom of speech, and censorship is violating peoples\' rights to say whatever they want. It is sometimes difficult to understand when a child gets punished for using foul language, meanwhile the child\'s parents have the right to criticize and petition the government whenever they feel the need to do so. Many musical artists feel that when they are forced to change lyrics, their rights are being violated. In some artists\' songs they like to express their feelings towards somebody or something, and it hurts them to be censored because, the new words implemented are not from his or her heart. They feel that they are being held down.




Many children often hear explicit language from older siblings or parents at an early age. They believe that since someone they look up to uses those words, they should too. Eventually, everyone will be exposed to language they do not find acceptable. “Now I would fight about that”. The key element in children’s life is their parent, who must, from an early age of the child teach him/her what’s right and what’s wrong. It is not the artist’s fault that kids’ hear foul language, and repeat it elsewhere. It is the parent’s fault. 98 percent of all parents that complain about foul language in the music, are the once that don’t spend enough time with their children; therefore don’t influence them as much as needed. Schools and babysitters are not the solution, but if that’s the only choice, well parents should have thought about it before having kids.

"The vexing question, of course, is, who should decide what you read or view- the church, the state…or you?" (War of Words: The Censorship Debate by George Beahm page xiii). In my opinion, the answer to that question is: you. Censorship on television channels such as