first_imgAs noted by Billboard, last month, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT)—China’s state media regulator—formally announced that hip-hop culture and people with tattoos had been banned from appearing on television. In the statement, the department noted that television should not be used as a platform for people “whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble” and “not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar and obscene.”The reaction to this shocking ban swept across the world, but also within the country itself, especially given that China has a number of high-profile native hip-hop acts, such as Higher Brothers, and immensely popular television shows, such as Rap of China, based on the genre. Shows like Rap of China, which became popular in the past year, will likely be taken off the air, but outside of these obvious candidates, many have been left wondering how strictly the SAPPRFT will enforce the ban or what its end goal is.For example, Billboard interviewed Marcus Rowland, head of A&R for the Beijing-based music-services company Outdustry, who noted, “This is not the Chinese government trying to ‘fully suppress’ hip-hop. The government exerts massive control over TV and it has decided that hip-hop isn’t acceptable at the highest level of mainstream media.”Many speculate that hip-hop becoming more visible on a nationwide scale and, specifically, the rappers produced during this time, created the media ban, given that multiple artists from Rap of China have been involved in activities that the Chinese government finds unsavory. Rowland elaborated on this point:From the government’s perspective, these rappers were quickly becoming major pop celebrities, and celebrities at that level are supposed to self-censor and be good role models, upholding Chinese/Communist values. This ban is the government saying what most of us always knew: that the government sees hip-hop as part of low-level society and not appropriate for mainstream audiences.Stephen Dowler, director of China’s independent dance music streaming service DianYinTai, rebuffed that the government was trying to suppress hip-hop, instead offering that its end goal is “trying to get more positivity out of hip-hop” and noted that Chairman Xi previously voice support for the genre during a recent government meeting. However, despite the ban, many of those interviewed by Billboard, including Dowler, remain optimistic about the future of hip-hop in the country, especially given that for years before hip-hop became “big,” the country boasted a thriving underground hip-hop scene. He notes:Hip-hop has more die-hard fans than ever before—influential tastemakers as well—and is going to continue to grow in China. … This is a temporary setback but by no means will hip-hop be eradicated from China. It’s still stronger than ever and the community will adapt how it needs to in China to press forward. Iron Mic isn’t going anywhere. DMC isn’t going anywhere. Breakdancing isn’t going anywhere. Graffiti isn’t going anywhere. Any direct impact on TV and radio will be very likely short-lived.[H/T Billboard; Photo: Rap of China]last_img

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