June 30, 2021

Ict-T & Calvin Butts on Video Music Box (June 30, 1993)

“Video Music Box Special: Censorship? Rap Under Attack” is a debate on rap music and censorship that was hosted by Ralph McDaniels and broadcast live from WNYC-TV in New York on June 30, 1993. The participants are: Reverend Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem; Cynthia Horner, editor of Right On! Magazine; Coral Aubert, Youth Educator; and rap artist Ice-T. Reverend Butts had recently garnered headlines by leading a protest against explicit lyrics in rap recordings and earned the wrath of “hardcore” rappers like Ice-T. (Read: “Harlem Protest of Rap Lyrics Draws Debate and Steamroller” in The New York Times, June 6, 1993). Indeed, there are quite a few contentious exchanges between the pastor and the rapper in the course of this compelling discussion. Ice-T is quite hostile at times toward Reverend Butts, who maintains a firm but gentle demeanor throughout. There are occasional viewer phone calls. This upload contains the discussion only and omits the opening rap video montage to avoid a music copyright dispute. There are occasional video tracking problems, but the audio remains unaffected. Photo by Steve Jennings.

Original Press Release in 1993...