“To call urban radio ghetto is an insult to our culture,” said Ivy Kordae, an on-air personality for 96.1 Jamz. I agree. Urban radio is a representation of today’s black youth.
Urban radio is the sound of the city. Society has created its own meaning of the word to symbolize anything associated with African-American hip-hop culture. Urban radio caters to the black, urban, African-American market, and fans of hip-hop and R&B.
If urban radio is described as “too ghetto,” then we are classifying the black community as ghetto and feeding into misconceptions that steer those stereotypes. People want to classify other people and things as ghetto without understanding what ghetto really means.
The word ghetto refers to a section of a city where an ethnic or economically depressed minority group is restricted. Basically, ghetto describes a place where people live–not the people who live there. Some people call black females “ghetto girls” and say things like “urban radio is too ghetto”. We have transformed the meaning of the word and are using it out of its original context to describe people and music.
Usually, when people say ghetto, they are referring to black people. Yet a ghetto can be comprised of any ethnic group. There are even white ghettos. People call them trailer parks to make it sound more acceptable.
We cannot go around classifying ourselves as being confined to a place with no way out and no ability to prosper. We have adopted society’s views about our own culture. This is evident from the way others view our bodies, our intellectual capacity and even our music.
If the way we talk, the lyrics we make to express ourselves, and the lingo we use to communicate are ghetto, then yes, urban radio is ghetto too. But that is not the case. Urban radio is not too ghetto. It’s just too Black for some people’s taste.
Crishana Mitchell, 20, is a senior broadcast journalism student from Jacksonville. She can be reached at Dacaligirl4u@aol.com.