Listeners Have Their Say

Hear reactions to conversations on the program about the role of women in hip-hop, and about what mothers should tell their daughters about sex.

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TONY COX, host:

Time for Backtalk now, where TELL ME MORE lifts the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere, and where we get to hear from you.

Douglas Hopper, our digital media guy, is here with me. Hey, Douglas. What are folks saying this week?

DOUGLAS HOPPER: Hey, Tony. Let's start out with a conversation from earlier this week about the BET documentary "My Mic Sounds Nice," which explored the role female MCs have played in the hip-hop industry. Rapper MC Lyte was featured in the film, and she got her start in the late '80s, but she says the industry is hardly recognizable to the one she helped create. Lyte says hip-hop now is hypersexed and marketed mostly to men.

MC LYTE (Rapper): What's being sold is, like, lips and hips and t and a in a bottle.

HOPPER: So who's to blame? One of our listeners, Lazlo, from Northampton, Massachusetts, took women who are hip-hop fans to task.

LAZLO (Caller): You have power, as in any other industry, political correctness is of no consequence in the music biz unless it makes them money. You're sick of seeing scantily clad bimbos in rap videos? Then don't buy the product. You want to see the next generation MC Lyte or Missy Elliott? Then, support them. Come on, step up.

HOPPER: Thank, Lazlo. We did hear another perspective. Here's what listener A. Stallings(ph) had to say: As a hip-hop old head, I miss the old school hip-hop, especially the female hip-hop representation. Sex sells, and that is what the main focus is going to be for the women in the game these days. Young women in hip-hop not like that are only going to be on an underground level that I have to seek out to hear.

And before we move on, let's give a shout-out to our producer Jamila Bey. She wrote about being inspired when she was a young girl by the sounds of MC Lyte, and trying her own raps at the local playground. We'll leave it to Jamila to tell you what happened next. You can find her piece, "My Rhymes, Tight, but Not Quite Lyte" on the TELL ME MORE blog at npr.org.

All right, let's talk about another topic that stirred up some reaction, and that was how African-American moms talk or don't talk about sex with their daughters. Filmmaker Janks Morton joined us to discuss his film "We Need to Talk: A Message for Our Daughters." This is Mr. Morton from his film.

(Soundbite of movie, "We Need to Talk: A Message for Our Daughters")

Mr. JANKS MORTON (Filmmaker): I just did not know that at a such tender and young age, such complex and integral thoughts going on in a young girl's mind that if you're not there to protect her from, there's a world of wolves out there waiting to exploit and destroy them.

HOPPER: And here's one of our regular guest moms, Dani Tucker, who also joined the discussion.

Ms. DANI TUCKER: There's nothing like being able to share with your daughter what you went through, you understand? Because she's looking - my daughter's looking at me, you know. She may like Michelle Obama, she may like her grandmother, but she's looking at me.

HOPPER: Listener Eugenia Rinskoff(ph) liked what she heard, and she wished her mom would've done the same. Eugenia said sex didn't even exist in her mind until she was in her 20s, when she fell in love. She said, my mother never talked about her experiences. In fact, she never even mentioned sex. My father was too busy providing for us to have a heart-to-heart talk about the birds and the bees.

It was very hard for me to navigate the wonderful world of love and sex at a somewhat late age. The experience of falling in love was wonderful, but I wished somebody had talked to me about it in my teens.

COX: Thank, Eugenia, and everyone for sharing your thoughts. And thank you, Douglas.

HOPPER: Of course.

COX: And, remember, with TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. You can call TELL ME MORE's comment line at 202-842-3522. Remember to leave your name. And you can also log onto the Web site. Just click on npr.org, click on Programs and then on TELL ME MORE and blog it out.

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