Hip-hop is a cultural movement and way of life. It encompasses dance, clothing, jewelry, ebonics, street life and many other things. Hip-hop doesn’t promote violence.
One of the most prevalent entities within the vast world of hip-hop is rap music. Rap is like a flower rooted in the hearts, minds and souls of people from the black community. Rap is an art form full of expression and street poetry, the haiku of the ghetto.
Rap music gives people, especially lower income individuals,a chance to tell their life story. It gives people the opportunity to share their hardships and the techniques to overcoming them.
Rap has and continues to influence many forms of popular culture, particularly film and pop music. As rap continues to permeate the mainstream media, it gives those not familiar with the movement, a look into the culture. It brings all people together and goes beyond the cultural barrier that separates most of society.
Many blame the dissemination of drugs, rising crime rates or acts of violence on the hip-hop community. This is not right. Violence and illegal activity have existed since the beginning of time. Don’t blame the hip-hop culture.
However, I believe that several rap artists take their style too far. For instance, some artists’ lyrics are misogynistic, explicit, or contain violent themes. But, in the end the listener has to decide whether or not to act accordingly.
Most people have heard their share of nonsensical artists who only rap about cars, money, jewelry, and women. Besides these commercial characters, there are others who deliver the truth and uplift their community.
Common, Kanye West, Talib Kweli and Mos Def are rap artists who help their community. West, recently shed light on the diamond exploitation in Sierra Leone. The G-unit gave nearly $300,000 to the Harlem Boys Choir. Nelly’s energy drink, Pimp Juice, created the P.I.M.P. Scholars Program, which provides financial assistance to eligible college students. These artists have used their star power to better their community.
Please stop blaming artists for the violence in your community. It promotes nothing but a lack of knowledge of the hip-hop culture, its origin or its purpose. The weeds of injustice and misunderstanding always try to corner and blame hip-hop, but it’s already taken root and will never die.Don’t punish these modern day griots by trying to censor their lyrics, instead, embrace them.
The absence of hip-hop in the black community and around the world would create a hysteria. Without rap, many would not be able to express themselves and may go crazy. Rap is therapy.
Yewande Addie is a freshman, print journalism student from Atlanta. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.