Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Consider the source

In case you haven’t read about this elsewhere, there’s a huge storm brewing at The Source, and for once it doesn’t involve Eminem or the editors of XXL.

On April 11, Kim Osorio, formerly editor-in-chief at the pioneering hip-hop magazine, and Michelle Joyce, formerly a vice president at the company, filed a sexual harassment suit, alleging a pattern of institutional discrimination and abuse. David Mays, who co-founded the monthly, and Ray “Benzino” Scott, chief brand executive at The Source, have since filed a counter-suit against the two women. But, apparently fearing a court fight wouldn’t be nasty enough, the two decided to impugn the women’s character as well, with Mays and Scott telling anyone who’d listen that Osorio had “sexual relations” with numerous hip-hop stars. It’s better than calling her a “lying slut,” but not by much.

If you’re as disgusted by such behaviour as I am, make your voice heard. Joan Morgan, Elizabeth Mendez Berry and Jeff Chang have put together a petition that objects to these sexist smears, as well as the casual objectification of women that has become all-too-common in The Source and other hip-hop magazines. Read the petition here, and sign if you agree.

As anyone who has worked in the field knows, music magazines by nature tend to be boys clubs, but that’s no excuse for making women feel unwelcome — or worse. Unfortunately, the suit against The Source, like previous sexual harassment suits against Billboard and Spin, will neither be the solution nor the last word on the subject, and it’s a sad reflection on music journalism.

My name is Max Berry and I'm a young critic from Michigan. A couple of my comments were published in this past Pazz and Jop poll. I've just graduated from U of M and am set on moving to Toronto. I was hoping there was some help you might be able to lend, just a few directions you might be able to point me in as far as employment or internships. my e-mail address is maxwellberry@gmail.com. I'd be happy to send you some clippings and any help you can give me would be much appreciated.
Max Berry, Ann Arbor, MI
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