I love music videos! Ok, I know that sounds pretty corny but I bet many of you feel the same way. Every since the birth of music television in the 80’s we’ve been obsessed with the visual depiction of our favorite songs. We love to see how the director interprets the same song we visualize in our own minds. The creativity of these videos has even birthed one of the biggest award shows of the year the MTV music video awards.
Of course nothing goes on too long before corporations are eager to get their hands on it. And music videos have not been exempt. I caught a music video from the pop artist Jessie J and as I was watching it, right on cue, here comes the dancers holding the new Beats Pill by Beats by Dre. They’re dancing around holding the Beats Pill like it’s the magic pill that makes any mundane moment into a wild party. Sometimes product placement can be so disruptive it can kill your vibe and visual experience. But there is an even more serious problem related to music videos and product placement. This problem could potentially ruin the lives of the next generation. Here it is…
Before there were Beats by Dre, there were bottles of vodka, champagne, & cognac. Alcohol placement in music videos has increased dramatically over the past 2 decades and it is being linked to more alcohol consumption in teenagers and adults alike. And who leads the pack in pushing people to “drank”? It’s rap of course! Find out which of your favorite artists are endorsing these alcohol beverages HERE. It kills me that we constantly talk about our issues and how we need to do better as a community but we so easily fall victim to a rapper holding a shiny new bottle in a music video.
Researchers at the Boston University School of Public Health and the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined the songs listed on Billboard Magazine’s most popular song lists from 2009-2011. Sorting them into four genres — urban, rock, pop and country — they analyzed the lyrics to more than 700 chart-topping songs.
Not surprisingly, 167 (23%) mentioned alcohol, and 46 of them even referenced a specific brand of liquor. Half of these “shout-outs” dropped Patron, Hennessy, Grey Goose and Jack Daniel’s by name.
In rap, hip-hop and R&B music, nearly 38% of the tracks mentioned alcohol in some way; 21.8% of country songs and 14.9% of pop hits also explicitly referred to alcohol in their lyrics. Most common were references to tequila, vodka, cognac and champagne in hip-hop, rap and R&B, whereas country and pop music seemed to prefer whiskey and beer. Interestingly, researchers found no references to alcohol in the rock music at the top of the charts.
What makes this even more dangerous for our communities is that we don’t have the support systems, structure, and family involvement related to raising children to make better decisions and live healthier lifestyles. Our culture perpetuates the same problems and social norms that we are fighting so hard to change. And for whose benefit? Do these rappers give money to drug and alcohol prevention programs? Does Ciroc have a campaign for drinking responsibly? Yet the liquor stores are packed with people waiting in line to be the first to say, “You had that new Hennessy?”
At the end of the day we are going to have to deal with the issues, addictions, violence, and deaths associated to alcohol consumption. And as the popularity of alcohol infused music videos continues to grow so will these problems. So what would you rather have in your favorite music video, annoying earphones or your favorite poison in a bottle? #IMJUSTSAYING