Marijuana and tobacco were featured in nearly half of the most popular hip-hop and R&B music videos from 2013 to 2017, new research finds.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine on Monday, takes a critical look at the prevalence of regulated products appearing in hit music videos. The team of researchers found that 40 to 50 percent of the videos reviewed depicted smoking or vaping tobacco or cannabis.
“While there is no doubt that hip-hop artists have made many positive contributions to social change—speaking out on issues like police violence against minorities—there’s also a history of showing regulated substances in hip-hop and other popular music,” Kristin Knutzen, lead author of the study, said in a press release.
“These depictions may affect fans’ attitudes toward smoking and increase the likelihood of smoking—particularly among young people.”
For the analysis, researchers examined the Billboard Top 50 charts for R&B and hip-hop from 2013 to 2017. Of the 1,250 songs covered in those charts, 769 had accompanying music videos that were included in the review.
“The proportion of songs with accompanying music videos that contained combustible use, electronic use, or smoke or vapor equaled 44 percent in 2014, 40 percent in 2015, 50 percent in 2016, and 47 percent in 2017. (For a total of 39.5 billion views).”
Besides the significant prevalence of marijuana and tobacco depictions in these videos, researchers also observed that the more views a given music video received, the more likely it was that they featured tobacco or cannabis products.
In other words, people seem to be more likely to watch and share music videos that show marijuana or tobacco consumption.
Forty-two percent of the songs that received 8,700 to 19 million views showed marijuana or tobacco products. For videos that received 112 million to four billion views, though, 50 percent featured these products.
When it comes to tobacco products, one interesting trend is the lack of manufactured cigarettes that appeared in these videos. Only 8 percent of the songs reviewed showed manufactured, as opposed to rolled, cigarettes.
But depictions of brands seem to be on the rise. Brand placement showing combustable (i.e. smokable) cannabis or tobacco products appeared in appeared in 0 percent of the top music videos in 2013, compared to 10 percent in 2017. Depictions of electronic vaping products rose from 25 percent in 2013 to 88 percent in 2017.
The researchers expressed concern with the rise of smoking or vaping depictions in popular videos.
“When young people, especially adolescents, see their favorite artists using tobacco products in music videos, they can begin to view them as normal in hip-hop culture, and they can begin to see themselves using them,” study co-author Samir Soneji said in a press release. “They also could view them as less harmful than they are. That’s a very real public health threat.”
While few studies to date have examined the relationship between the appearance of cannabis products in popular culture and youth consumption habits, the medium has seen renewed interest recently. A study published earlier this year, for example, also showed a dramatic increase in references to marijuana in popular songs.
Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.
Al Sharpton Jokes About Reaction To Elizabeth Warren’s Marijuana Bill
At a conference focusing on legislation in the next Congress on Tuesday, civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton joked about the particular attention some attendees paid to a marijuana bill sponsored by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Warren described the bipartisan legislation—which would let states implement legal cannabis systems free from federal interference—as part of her talk about criminal justice reforms she hopes to enact. Marijuana prohibition disproportionately impacts black Americans, she pointed out, and this bill would represent “a step toward making a real difference.”
“We cannot give up on this.”
When Sharpton, who founded the conference’s hosting organization, National Action Network, came back to the podium to introduce the next lawmaker, he quipped:
“I know for all of you old weed smokers, y’all like that marijuana bill. I’m not calling no names, but I saw some of y’all kind of nodding off and your heads snapped up when she started talking about—when she got into that weed thing, some of y’all woke up.”
Sharpton has made repeated calls for federal cannabis reform, characterizing decriminalization as a “civil rights cause” in a 2017 op-ed for The Guardian.
He’s also challenged the marijuana industry to do more to create business opportunities for people of color and get behind civil rights movements more broadly.
Photo courtesy of C-SPAN.
‘Walking Dead’ Actor Raises Money For Kids Who Use Medical Marijuana
Norman Reedus, who plays zombie-slaying Daryl Dixon on AMC’s The Walking Dead, is once again raising money to help kids suffering from serious illnesses get medical marijuana treatment.
Yes, again. It seems he loves helping kids as much as he loves taking out walkers on TV.
— norman reedus (@wwwbigbaldhead) November 9, 2018
Right now, for every $5 you donate to SavingSophie.org, you’re entered to win some Reedus-signed memorabilia from the organization. Saving Sophie is a non-profit set up by the parents of Sophie Ryan, who was diagnosed with a low-grade, optic pathway glioma brain tumor when she was eight years old.
After creating a Facebook page around their child’s situation, a friend introduced them to Ricki Lake and filmmaker Abby Epstein, who were in production on their recently released documentary “Weed The People.” With this new connection and information, the parents decided to use a combination of chemo and cannabis oil to treat Sophie’s condition. Sophie’s brain tumor has since shrunk by up to 90 percent, according to their website.
Through the donations to the non-profit, Sophie’s parents “hope to pay it forward to those who are now in the same financial troubles we once found ourselves in.”
Contributions will help fund the group’s cancer research initiative, which currently consists of eight patients who are using “cannabinoid therapy alongside doctor-prescribed treatments,” according to an email blast.
“Our goal with this research is to bring non-toxic cancer treatments through human trials so that doctors will have access to this life-saving medicine for patients in need.”
This isn’t the first time Reedus has helped raise funds for pediatric patients using cannabis.
In January 2017, he tweeted a call for donations to CannaKids.org for a raffle featuring some of his autographed gear and more.
$5 per entry and all proceeds go to help CannaKids’ pediatric cancer patients. https://t.co/YGvN8pxhnR DO A GOOD THING. XXX
— norman reedus (@wwwbigbaldhead) January 3, 2017
It’s clear the Boondock Saints star and heartthrob of early 2000’s Hot Topic shoppers has a caring heart for children seeking to use cannabis as a cancer treatment.
Photo courtesy of Heather Paul.
Michelle Obama Talks Smoking Marijuana In New Memoir
Former First Lady Michelle Obama got candid in her new memoir, “Becoming,” which includes a brief admission that she smoked marijuana as a teen.
In the book, released on Tuesday, Obama reminisces about her youthful transgressions, at one point writing that she and a high school boyfriend named David “fooled around and smoked pot in his car.”
She doesn’t get much further into it than that. Though she does allude to a “looser, more wild” young Barack Obama in another section. As a teen, the future president “smoked pot in the lush volcanic foothills of Oahu,” she wrote.
In a recent interview, ABC News anchor Robin Roberts asked Obama about the admission.
“You even write about smoking pot,” Roberts said. “Now you didn’t go into great detail, but you could’ve left that out, so why’d you talk about it?”
“That was what I did,” Obama said. “That’s part of the ‘Becoming’ story.”
“Everybody had something that they had to work through, something that they were figuring out. Why would I hide that from the next generation?”
Photo courtesy of Obama White House archives.