NAACP Launches "STOP" CampaignDecember 31, 1969
Today the NAACP launches a nationwide initiative to end the prevalence of racist, sexist language, images and concepts in the media by holding the industry responsible and by calling for a shift in personal behavior.
The STOP Campaign -- an initiative of the NAACP Youth & College Division -- seeks to "stop" demeaning African American images in the media, particularly with respect to the portrayal of African American women.
"The NAACP STOP Campaign is urgently needed to combat recent remarks and continual visual depictions that cast African Americans in a negative light," said Interim NAACP President & CEO Dennis C. Hayes. “We recognize the need for balance within the African American community in regards to what music, film, and media we deem acceptable. When it comes to establishing norms, nothing is more influential than the images and concepts delivered into our lives on a daily basis by radio, TV, film and the Internet.”
The targets of the STOP Campaign are the record and television industries, recording artists and the African American community. The campaign asks participants to:
- STOP Defaming Our Women... by respecting all African American Women and not describing them in profane and derogatory terms.
- STOP Degrading Our Community... by not supporting hurtful images that portray negative images of the African American community.
- STOP Denigrating Our History... by not supporting words and media that diminishes our proud history and insults our ancestors .
- STOP Accepting Disrespect... by not patronizing companies and artists that put forth demeaning and disrespectful images in our community.
- START Standing Up... by standing against anyone who diminishes the capacity of young people.
- START the Diversity... by supporting balance and diversity of content in the entertainment industry, urging creation of positive role models for young people and by demanding that more African Americans and other people of color be placed in decision-making positions in the entertainment industry.
"As African American people with a proud heritage and promising destiny, we have to respect ourselves and stop disrespecting each other," said NAACP National Youth & College Division Director Stefanie L. Brown. "The time has come for us to stop using and responding to derogatory words."
The campaign’s goals over the next year include having as many as possible formally pledge to the campaign; formulating a national STOP Advisory Committee with music, movie and television industry executives, artists, insiders and other national organizations to stop negative African American imagery in the media; creating local STOP Coalitions--a network of NAACP units and stakeholders in cities across the country--that will strategize ways to engage local media outlets, artists and the community in the campaign; increase the number of African American decision-makers/executives in leadership roles at record companies, television networks, and radio stations; mobilizing NAACP youth units and branches to address issues of image degradation within their communities through education, peer-to-peer communication and positive imagery.
The NAACP has been at the forefront of the battle against negative stereotypes of African Americans starting with protest of D.W. Griffith’s "Birth of a Nation" in 1915. It was the late C. Delores Tucker, an NAACP Special Contribution Fund Trustee, and others in the 1990s that picketed and sued to remove sexually explicit lyrics from rap and hip-hop tracks, citing a concern that the lyrics were misogynistic and threatened the moral foundation of the African American community.
Additionally, the NAACP's Hollywood bureau was created to increase diversity in television and was established to monitor and regulate the entertainment industry. The annual NAACP Image Awards are produced to acknowledge the contributions of talented minorities who are often overlooked in their own industries.
When required, the NAACP directly confronts racism, the use of defamatory language and racist actions.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.