Friday, April 07, 2006

Violence in Music

Lately, I've been thinking about the use of violent images in music. For example, Ice T's "Cop Killer" is a song about frustration with police corruption in dealing with people (mainly Blacks and Hispanics)in the ghettos of America. On one level, the level that put everyone into such a flurry of protest in the mid-90's, it seems to be a mere indiscriminate advocation of violence brought against a whole group of people. On another level, though, it speaks to the raw emotional response to the opression and discrimination brought upon minorities by the very people who swear to "protect and serve."

In thinking about the tension that the two viewpoints espouse, it makes me wonder if there is space in our lives as Christians to express that very real emotion of anger that we all feel at one point or another in our lives. As people called to christain service in response to our justification, can we have time to express our anger in truth before we start to turn to our called christian response of love and care for neighbor? Is there any place for the emotion of anger in our response to "love your neighbor as yourself?" I think that if we are to enter into true recociliation after repentance and forgiveness, then we need express and think about all those emotions that might come up in those difficult situations in our life.

If that is the case, then I truly think that those expressions of violence in music need to be present within the music scene, because they are artistic expression of emotion just as much as any love song is an artistic expression of emotion. One has to be careful, though, to discern what is artistic expression and an outright call to violence and hatred of a person or people.

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