Russell Simmons, the elfish fashion and music mogul, was long ago appointed "CEO of hip- hop" by the media, although few could actually tell you what he does ("Um... owns some stuff?").
He takes that role very seriously, judging by the number of times he appears on Oprah. So when the Don Imus flap focused public attention on the profanity in rap music, the media anxiously awaited Simmons' response.
And now, his bold plan has arrived: Meekly urging the music industry to possibly censor some stuff, while not calling it censorship, or something!
Yes, the great man's response to the crisis, after feverish consultation with the usual suspects, was to advise the record industry to "voluntarily remove/bleep/delete" three words, which we will call "b****," "h*," and "n*****."
In one stroke, Simmons managed to provoke outrage among artists whose censorship he is advocating, and muffled guffaws among record company executives, who could hardly be persuaded to subject their cash cows to such a whitewashing, as it were.
Simmons has now foolishly enraged his own base. Why not just call for "Education, innovation, not censorship in the Hip-Hop Nation!" After all these years with rappers, he should have been able to work that out himself.
PR Play Rating:
3. On the right track