The glitz and glamor of the MTV Video Music Awards captivates many people in today’s society. With the presence of highly reputed and idolized musicians, the presentation of coveted awards and the promise of onstage performances by some of the industry’s top talent, the VMAs are quite a spectacle. However, amidst all of the pomp and circumstance, a darker and more dangerous undertone dulls the bright lights.
At this year’s VMAs, behind all of the foam fingers and twerking of Miley Cyrus’ performance, a reference to the drug Molly was censored from her hit single “We Can’t Stop.” Molly is the slang term for the potent and dangerous drug MDMA. Up until 10 years ago, MDMA was commonly known as ecstasy or simply as the “club drug.” In a congressional testimony from the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2001, Donny Marshall, an administrator for the DEA at the time, said, “users of drugs such as MDMA report that the effects of the drug heighten the user’s perceptions, which are especially sensitive to visual stimulation. Quite often, users of MDMA at clubs will dance with ‘light sticks’ to increase their sensory input.”
With the increasing culture of drug use in the music industry, Molly is becoming the drug of choice for music festivals. Just a few short weeks ago, the third and final day of the Electric Zoo music festival in New York City was canceled due to drug-related incidents. Two festival attendees died after taking MDMA and four more were admitted to the hospital for drug-related causes.
In response to drug use at concerts, the Bonnaroo website posted an explanation that drugs, in addition to both potentially ruining your weekend and being hazardous to your health, are against the law and you should refrain from using them.
However, in light of the recent uptick in drug related deaths, some are calling upon Bonnaroo and other music festivals to more strongly denounce drug use.
According to Fox News, emergency room visits due to MDMA have dramatically increased.
On top of being the fast track drug to take while attending concerts, musicians also seem to have taken a special interest in Molly, lyrically speaking. This past spring, rapper Rick Ross was dropped from his Reebok endorsement deal for a controversial lyric on the track “U.O.E.N.O.,” which referenced Molly and alluded to rape. The lyrics read: “Put Molly all in her champagne/ She ain’t even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain’t even know it.” Ross made a public apology and says he does not condone rape. The lyrics were lifted from the track a month after being released.
As of recently, there has been an increase in backlash against the promotion of drug use in music. Rappers in particular, including Eminem, Lil Wayne and Kanye West, have been publicly protested by groups to try and put an end to lyrics that encourage drug use.
Radio stations are beginning to bleep out more and more lyrics of songs to try and shield listeners from the music’s influences.
In this brave new world of increased drug abuse and the promotion of those drugs by musicians, mature decision-making and avoidance are the best policies for taking care of one’s self and enjoying the music industry’s fruits responsibly.