- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 14, 2008

For more on this story, check tomorrow’s editions of The Washington Times or www.washingtontimes.com.

In commercial free fall and with black leaders like the Rev. Al Sharpton emerging as the sharpest critics of its misogynist, racist and violent lyrics, rap music has found itself facing deepening cultural isolation of late.

“No one, even in the name of creativity, should enjoy a large consumer base when they denigrate people based on race and based on sex,” declared Mr. Sharpton at a press conference held in the wake of the Don Imus scandal last year.

Tell that to the National Portrait Gallery.

Last week, the Smithsonian museum opened “Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture,” an exhibition devoted to hip-hop-themed paintings and photographs, some of which idolize the most offensive rappers. Now hanging on the gallery’s walls are heroic portraits of Big Daddy Kane, known for such brazenly misogynist numbers as “Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy,” and Ice-T, whose song “Cop Killer” caused such outrage among law enforcement organizations that it was eventually pulled from his album.

Why is a national museum glorifying these perpetrators of sexism and violence?

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