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Oscars viewers to hear word “bitches” in song
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – There will be no F-word but the word “bitches” will be heard during the first-ever rap performance at the Academy Awards on Sunday.
At the request of the Academy and ABC, which is broadcasting the Oscars show, the authors of best song nominee “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” from the film “Hustle & Flow” have substituted less offensive words for the song’s profanity-laced lyrics.
“As long as the Academy approves it, it’s cool,” said rapper Jordan “Juicy J” Houston, a member of Three 6 Mafia, which wrote the song for the film and will be performing it.
But he said he was told by actress Taraji P. Henson, who performed the song in the film, and will sing onstage with Three 6 Mafia, that the show’s producers were letting her keep the word “bitches,” in the chorus. “Taraji said the Academy told her she can say ‘bitches,”‘ said Houston.
A spokesman for Gil Cates, the producer of the Oscars telecast, confirmed that the word “bitches” was not one of the words changed by the nominated artists.
In another flap over lyrics a few years ago, actor-comedian Robin Williams performed a cleaned-up version of “Blame Canada” the off-color, Oscar-nominated song from the animated “South Park” movie during the Oscars telecast, replacing the f-word with a lesser f-word that means an expulsion of intestinal gas.
After being asked to perform the pimp song at the 78th Academy Awards, Houston, along with fellow songwriters, Paul “DJ Paul” Beauregard and Cedric “Frayser Boy” Coleman, combed through the tune, line by line, substituting various words to make the lyrics meet ABC’s broadcast standards.
The song portrays the life of a hustler in the inner city of Three 6 Mafia’s home town, Memphis, Tennessee,
“We know there will be children watching and we want it to be family-friendly,” Houston told Reuters.
While rapper Eminem won the best song Oscar in 2003 for “Lose Yourself” from the film “8 Mile,” he skipped the ceremony and the song was not performed.
Some industry analysts have suggested the Academy is hoping to reach a younger demographic by putting rap on the show.
Aaron Rosenberg, lawyer for Three 6 Mafia, said it was a milestone for the Academy to recognize hip-hop’s influence on American culture and the group is extremely sensitive to decency concerns after the baring of Janet Jackson’s breast during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
“They worked hard to clean it up as much as possible without compromising their artistic integrity,” he said.
Just in case, ABC is also expected to use a five-second delay to aid network censors.