Ashley Judd Responds to Hip-Hop Backlash

The actress says artists can make "incredible life changing impressions."

Posted: 04/10/2011 10:01 AM EDT
Ashley Judd

Ashley Judd caused quite the stir last week when news that a certain excerpt in her recently-released memoir, All That Is Bitter and Sweet, revealed the actress' thoughts on rap and hip hop music and its artists' involvement in the YouthAIDS awareness campaign where she serves as ambassador.

"YouthAIDS created hip public service announcements for TV and radio using popular local and international celebrities and athletes and was participating in the MTV World AIDS Day ‘Staying Alive’ concerts,” she wrote in the book. “Along with other performers, YouthAIDS was supported by rap and hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg and P. Diddy to spread the message...um, who? Those names were a red flag. As far as I’m concerned, most rap and hip-hop music—with its rape culture and insanely abusive lyrics and depictions of girls and women as ‘hos’—is the contemporary soundtrack of misogyny.”

After the subsequent backlash, Judd spoke with Russell Simmons in an interview on Global Grind to explain that she didn't mean to insult the culture as a whole.

"My intention was to support artists to know that they have so much power," she tells Simmons. "That they make incredible life changing impressions, particularly on the young. And we have choices everyday with our expressions, we either empower and celebrate unity or to re-enforce inequality and degradation. We are either part of the problem, or part of the solution. There is no in-between."

"My intention was to take a stand to say the elements that are misogynistic and treat girls and women in a hyper-sexualized way are inappropriate. We do live in a worldwide culture in which the sexual interests of boys and men are privileged over the bodily integrity and sexual autonomy of girls and women."

"I so regret that my indictment of rape culture as a whole has been with that paragraph interpreted as me blaming rap and hip hop exclusively," she says "That was absolutely not my intenti[o]n, and I so regret it has had that effect on some people. That community is incredibly important to me and to the cause of social justice. It is filled with bad ass and brave activists whom I admire, who work under duress fighting epic discrimination."

Her memoir details Judd's painful childhood filled with lies and sexual abuse and her work for international social justice and human rights.

 

(Photo: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

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