Sean Kingston comes up against protest


By: J.Koni
seankingston_bujubanton_jrsexygirlsbeyonce.jpgThey want Sean Kingston's mega hit "Beautiful Girl" to be cut from radio play lists! Yes, Joan Murphy, chairman of the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition, while addressing reporters, protested that, "Record companies that promote artists whose message is that suicide is an acceptable solution to problems, don't help reduce the incidence of suicide anywhere. Radio stations have a responsibility to be sensitive to this issue."

A member of staff at the state Department of Health said local radio stations were e-mailed letters reminding them of the dangers of glorifying suicide in song. "I haven't received any response," Murphy said Monday, a week after the letters were sent out.

"Beautiful Girls" reached the No. 2 spot on the national Top 40 play list. It has dropped in popularity but is still in the top 10, said Justin Riley, program director at KKOB-FM (93.3).

The station had the song in heavy rotation, playing it about 30 times a week, he said. It is now being played far less - a reflection of ever-changing listener taste. Riley said he received no e-mail from any person or organization complaining about the content of the song.

"These kinds of issues come up from time to time," he said. "Somebody could find something wrong with nearly every song that gets played. We are a mass appeal radio station and have a lot of factors to consider."

"We apologize to any person who gets offended by any song, but at the end of the day if a song is popular it's likely going to get played. A song doesn't become No. 2 in the country without people calling to request it."

The Suicide Prevention Coalition works with the Department of Health. "Our mission is suicide prevention," Murphy said, adding, "We provide education, support and advocacy to reduce the suicide rate in New Mexico." Murphy said suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the country and the leading cause among people age 10 to 24.

New Mexico consistently ranks among the top five states per capital in suicides, with a rate 1.5 to 2 times higher than the national average. Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death for New Mexicans. Darleene Edwards, vice chairperson and treasurer of the coalition, said New Mexico is also "the lowest state in the country for the amount we spend on mental health care."

Her message to everyone involved in the media - the recording and movie industries, radio and television stations and newspapers is to "use the issue of suicide in a responsible manner and not glorify it and make people think it's the best option for people when they're in pain or when their life isn't going as they like.

"Suicide should be portrayed as the tragedy it is," she said.