“Is Eminem going to attend the Grammys?/Is he going to make bunny ears behind Britney Spears for the cameras?/Is GLAAD going to protest?/More arrests?/Is all this controversy going to sell a million more records?/Is hate crime legislation going to go forward and upward and downward and backward?”
While everyone’s got their panties in a bunch over the latest Marshall Mathers media maelstrom, the cable network responsible for launching Detroit’s lyrical loose cannon and hip-hop wonder nationwide is kicking off a yearlong awareness campaign tonight, Jan. 10. After airing “Anatomy of a Hate Crime,” the story behind the murder of 21-year-old college student Matthew Shepard at 8 p.m., MTV News’ John Norris will speak live with one of Matthew’s friends and an expert from GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). Following the special, names of people victimized by hate crimes will scroll down the television screen for 17 and a half straight, commercial-free hours.
Although an MTV spokesperson denied any connection between the artist and the special, it’s still nice to see this display of responsibility and social concern on behalf of the network. If they’re going to make a mint off hateful speech (which is better than censorship, mind you), they definitely better show the result of hateful action. Just because we’re expected to draw out the poetic talent amid the repugnancy and not take his lyrical content literally, it doesn’t mean everyone — or even the majority of the population — does. And that’s a problem that’s not going to be solved by MTV. But at least it’s a start.Melissa Giannini writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org