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{IMAGE1}When rapper Eminem performed at the Grammy Awards with Elton John in February, gay activists organized a "Rally Against Hate" to protest Eminem’s homophobic lyrics. One song that angered activists states, "You faggots keep egging me on/ ’till I have you at knifepoint. Then you beg me to stop," from the song "Kill You." L.A. Youth reporters Shengul Bajrami and Matt Jones attended the rally and gathered these photos and quotes.

Associate editor Sue Doyle interviewed students in Carole Shakely-Pairman’s class at North HS in Torrance to get their opinions, as well.

"It’s not music, art or culture when you endorse rape, domestic violence and the putting down of women! How can someone like Eminem be so happy supporting such negative and disgraceful things?"
—Collin Perryman, 17

"It doesn’t bother me that he talks about gay people and beating his wife, because I know he doesn’t really do that. He just is letting all his anger out by rapping. Some people punch halls or pillows to let their anger out. But Eminem expresses it through his music. He even admits on his CD that he doesn’t mean everything he says."
—Melanie Mahkorn, 17

"As far as lyrics go, they’re a little bit wrong at times, but you have to remember it’s all music. Don’t analyze the words. Just listen. The problem nowadays is that critics get the song and break it down to every word. But music is music, and he feels he doesn’t need to bite his tongue for nobody. That’s why he’s one of the best."
—Eythel Diaz

"As a male, I should like his music, like all the other guys. But for some reason I hate it. He doesn’t know how to rap, because all he raps about is killing someone. He’s just trying to fit in with the rapper crowd."
—Freddy Padilla

"I think Eminem preaches hate even though a lot of people call it art. He does influence a lot of people. To him, it might be a joke and may not mean anything. But to younger kids who listen to him and listen to the lyrics, it’s a different story. They don’t know it’s a joke."
—Lorena Vega, 18

"I don’t really pay attention to Eminem because I don’t like to listen to music that has any kind of degrading message unless the person is making a joke about themselves. I am in a band and our first priority in writing music is to put a positive message forward. Sometimes we make fun of ourselves, just as long as we don’t hurt anyone else."
—Chris Lujan

"Yeah, he raps about bad stuff, but he’s only writing about stuff that has happened in his life. It’s not for people to go out and do those things. I don’t understand why gay people get so upset, because they should know that they are not accepted."
—Erica Pelaez, 18

"I think everybody needs to grow up and not take music so seriously."
—Sean Hoyt

"I think Eminem is just another scapegoat that people can blame for influencing teens. But it won’t change anything. Kids have minds of their own. Many recognize the difference between right and wrong and reality and songs."
—Rachel Burke, 17

"I’m glad he had the guts to become a rapper, because he has been a successful artist who has broken a racist barrier, which is that only black people can rap. I look up to his accomplishment and think he made a point that you can do and be what you want to be."
—Cathy Sadde, 18