Yesterday HBO GO hosted Urban World Digital. It was an evening of panel discussions about social media engagement and marketing. One of the panels was Influence & Insight which focused on the Hip Hop industry and the ways in which it presently leverages its influence on the public through various social networks. Hip Hop presently stands as the leading voice of the youth and as such holds an incredible amount of sway over the trends and activities of the people.
During the panel the question was presented to the music executives on the panel. How you do determine the value of profit vs. social responsibility due to the power of influence? In other words, do you ever face the choice of giving the green light to popular content you personally do not agree with? The answer given was candid and honest.
"There is I approve that I would not let my young daughter watch. With that said if I don't do someone else will and that takes money away from me and what I can provide for my family. All I can do presently is look at how to put positive messages out to these viewers along with the other images."
That in a nutshell describes what many behind the scenes in Hip Hop deal with. They know what right and wrong is but when the people overwhelmingly respond to questionable material it creates a fan base that has to be catered to. The numbers have become too massive to ignore, so while it may be a moral win to not fill your airwaves with a certain type of music, it's also a kin to leaving money on the floor and the fact is someone else WILL take that money. It's an understandable dilemma.
Is it the industry pushing these images or is this what the people actually want? In turn this isn't lost on the artist themselves. They see where the money is at and many do whatever it takes to get it. At what point does your influence and the responsibility it brings outweigh a pay check or do you do what you must to earn your livelihood?