Music censorship is not a new phrase in American society. More often than not the main reason for censorship has been explicit lyrics. Since 1950s, there have always been instances of an individual or a group of people protesting music with the main intention of either changing or silencing musicians’ ideas. It is believed that music censorship started in the 1950s with the birth of “rock n’ roll” which was protested because of their sexually suggestive lyrics. Since then there have been instances of musicians having to change covers of their albums, re-word their songs to remove protested lyrics, artists denied radio and TV coverage and even at times, their live performances being protested (Barczak, par 2). The bottom line reason for all these has always been they are vulgar and use explicit lyrics in their songs. This essay argues that such groups as Westboro Baptist Church have no right to protest against any kind of music.
The original intention of music censorship was to expurgate ideas that were perceived to be unacceptable in the society the sole role vested on concerned regulatory authorities. It is unfortunate that the job has now fallen into the hands of groups or other cults like Westboro Baptist Church capitalizing on freedom of speech to paralyze our music industry. Recently Westboro Baptist church protested a concert organized by Lady Gaga on the grounds that her music promotes lesbianism and gay. But the main protest which rose controversy was Justin Bieber’s concert where Westboro church group said that,
“Bieber has a duty to teach obedience by his actions and words. He refuses to do that because he knows his concert halls would be empty! So, he teaches you to sin and rebel against God’s commandments” (All Headline News, Par 3).
Is it right to use such hate messages to silence musicians? Are we misusing the freedom of speech granted to us by the First Amendment of our constitution? Do groups really have any right protesting private events such as these ones? I strongly believe this is very wrong and if such groups are continually allowed to interfere with our musicians’ lives then not only the career of our musicians but their personal images are at risk.