I was walking down the street on a sunny afternoon, minding my own business, when suddenly I heard music blasting from nearby. It sounded like it was coming from a small Bluetooth speaker. I looked around trying to figure out where it was coming from and that’s when I spotted a man sitting on a bench holding the speaker in his hand.
The music he was playing was shocking to me. It was aggressive rap music with explicit lyrics about violence and crime. I wouldn’t have expected to hear this kind of music being played publicly on a nice day. The man was bobbing his head and mouthing the words, clearly enjoying the offensive lyrics.
As I got closer, I could hear every explicit word clearly. I was taken aback. Did this guy have any idea how inappropriate this was to play with families and children around? I looked around thinking someone else would give him a disapproving stare or say something, but people just walked by without reaction.
I continued walking but couldn’t get the lyrics out of my head. The blatant aggression, the degradation of women, the promotion of drug use and gang violence – all flowing out of that little speaker on a sunny public street. I wondered if the man playing it even cared about the impact such music might have.
When I was a teenager, I went through a phase of listening to edgy rap music myself. At the time I didn’t think much about the message – it just seemed cool and rebellious. But listening to it now as an adult, those same lyrics hit my ears much differently. Hearing it in public somehow felt even more jarring.
Music has power. It shapes our attitudes and perceptions in ways we don’t even realize. This man probably just saw it as harmless entertainment. But for those passing by, especially kids, it could shape their views toward women, violence, crime, drugs and life in general. These lyrics promote some very destructive ideas.
Maybe I should have said something, but I didn’t want to cause a scene or confrontation with a stranger. Still, the whole incident left me rattled. The music that shocked me out of that little Bluetooth speaker is an example of how music can normalize destructive attitudes. It made me consider my own responsibility in the music I listen to and spread. Music may seem harmless, but in reality it can impact us profoundly.