Don’t see Straight Outta Compton if you can’t take vulgar language

I saw Straight Outta Compton last night. Oh, the memories it brought back!

I love rap music. I loved it right from the start. As the genre evolved I liked the different directions it took from gangster rap to pop rap and everything in between.

I was the mom in the Chrysler minvan bumpin’ the rap tunes. My girls and I spent a lot of time on the road in that van. My 94′ Town and Country minivan was a first class ride. It was ahead of its time with 4 leather reclining captain’s seats (first and second rows) and a CD player at a time when most luxury vehicles still only had a cassette player.

I did all the typical driving that comes with having four girls in school, not old enough to drive themselves – 13, 10, 7, and 5. Every weekend when the weather was nice I took the girls to Point Judith, RI where we kept a travel trailer on a cousin’s oceanside campground. We continued those trips until all the girls grew up and left home.

The family that listens to gangsta rap stays together! Honestly, do these girls look like they went around "spittin' gangsta rhymes?"

The family that listens to gangsta rap stays together! Honestly, do these girls look like they use foul language or in any way are adversely affected by the music we listen to?

I’ve always had an aversion to driving without music. Having a CD player in the car made it so much easier to have control over selecting what we wanted to hear. CDs made it easy to take my music everywhere I went.

Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Tupac, Warren G and Nate Dogg, and Eminem, and Xibit to name a few were some of the CDs in heavy rotation. If you know much about rap you might be wondering why I’d be playing music with such rough language with my little girls in the car. Heck! You might wonder why I would want to subject myself to such profanity.

Here’s the deal. I love a good beat. I love a good hook. I love the flow of a good rapper. The words aren’t as important. I hear them, but my attention isn’t on the words; it’s on the music.

My girls heard the music and they enjoyed it as much as I did. They knew what words were the bad words. They were not words used in our house, not by me, not by my husband and certainly not by my girls. Listening to that stuff didn’t encourage them to speak that way and moreover, bad language didn’t reflect or affect our family values.

The idea of shielding my girls from hearing those words so that they wouldn’t think it was okay to use them was ridiculous. They didn’t pick up that language just because they listened to it in music. They knew it wasn’t okay. Had I spoke like that or even if they spent time in the company of people who used a lot of profanity they may have used it too. We didn’t and our social circles rarely crossed paths with people who spoke vulgar language.

So disinclined were we to use the vulgar language that we would be riding down the road rapping along to the music until we got to some profanity. Then we all would be silent and pick up again when the lyrics became okay again. Some songs were too vulgar and therefore so offensive that we couldn’t enjoy the music. We would skip them before they could even begin to play.

Last night I sat in the theater with my two younger daughters, now ages 28 and 26. We enjoyed seeing the portrayal of the backstory behind the music. We loved the music and we reminisced about riding in the minivan with the rap music incongruently coming out of its speakers.

The kids used to know when Mom was coming to pick them up because they’d hear the thumping before they saw the van! If their friends happened to need a ride, I’d switch to the radio. I didn’t think their mothers would understand nor approve. The rap music was reserved for my family and the kids of my friends who understood and weren’t uncomfortable with it.

What does this have to do with weight you ask? Well, healthy eating habits just like most other things we teach our children, isn’t a matter of “do what I say, not what I do.” It’s a matter of role modeling and trust.


Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.