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Rev. Al Sharpton Organizes Protests Against Degrading Rap Lyrics

The Rev. Al Sharpton orchestrated protests in more than 20 U.S. cities over the use of degrading lyrics in rap songs.

Held on August 7, the so-called Day of Outrage included protests in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Richmond (Virginia), Jacksonville, (Florida), and other cities.

Organized by Sharpton's National Action Network, the protests arose out of an April initiative to purge sexually and racially demeaning words from rap lyrics. Leading a demonstration at the Motown Museum in Detroit, Sharpton called for the withdrawl of public funds from entertainment companies that "won't clean up their act."

Some in the music industry have defended rappers' free speech rights, but say the degrading words at the center of the controversy should be treated the same as extreme profanities and consistently edited out of clean and radio versions of songs.