Media listens as Sharpton plays new tune

Get ready to hear a whole lot more Usher.

Get ready to hear a whole lot more Usher.

Reverend Al Sharpton, that New York political mainstay second only to Cher in sheer indestructibility, inserted himself into the spotlight again last week, this time with an idea that was not only sane, it was downright not bad.

The man known in Gotham for being more of a rabble-rouser than a peacemaker answered a disturbing spike in local gun play among rap artists by proposing that all city hip-hop stations deny airplay to performers connected to acts of violence for 90 days following the incident.

Exactly what these stations are supposed to play in the meantime is unclear, as Kris Kross hasn't done much lately and the surgeon general has warned against prolonged exposure to Jermaine Dupri's Christmas album.

But the suggestion itself was a refreshing departure from Sharpton's usual media pop-ups, which often draw accusations of opportunism at best, and race-baiting at worst.

This time, he came forth with a workable disincentive to hip-hop artists who have grown too comfortable cashing in on their real-life violent images. By establishing a system in which acts of violence routinely lead to less exposure for a performer, Sharpton may actually have hit on a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem.

Consequently, the media treated the proposal more seriously than Sharpton's entire presidential bid.

If only Dennis Kucinich had thought of this first.

  • Douglas Quenqua writes PR Play of the Week. He is PRWeek's news editor.

    Ratings:

    1. Clueless

    2. Ill-advised

    3. On the right track

    4. Savvy

    5. Ingenious

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