Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Hip Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes
The following is a promo for a PBS show scheduled to air on February 20th.
Okay, so you're asking why it is that this priest in affluent, Republican, lily-white Chatham, NJ is concerned about this video?
Well, because Hip Hop Nation is not just about music. Music is the vehicle for the expression of a cultural identity which appeals to people of all ethnicities, all races and cultures.
I've heard Hip Hop played in the barios of Newark, the clubs in Manhattan, and on the streets in Ohio, California, England, Dubai in the Emerits, Lagos, Nigeria and Kumasi, Ghana.
I would guess that 80% of the music I hear coming from the kids in my Chatham Youth Group is Hip Hop.
I admit that there is much about Hip Hop music that I like (Janet Jackson totally ROCKS). That being said, I am still very concerned because much the new Hip Hop - like that from 50 Cent and Nellie - is violent.
And, hear this clearly: that violence is directly aimed at women.
Here's just one of the statements made in the film: "Violent masculinity is at the heart of American identity."
If that were a true or false statement, I would have to say, "True." In the promo, at least, this is used to justify the violence in Hip Hop. See? It doesn't promote violence. It's just an accurate reflection, the implication seems to be, of what already is.
At one point, a young African American woman is asked if she is disturbed because women are constantly refered to as "bitches and ho's" in Hip Hop. "No," she responds, "I know they aint' talkin' about me."
The narrator says, "Yo, they ARE talkin' about you, girl! If President Bush used the 'N' word to describe you, you wouldn't be like, 'Oh, he ain't talkin' 'bout me.' Yeah, he is."
I don't know about you, but I'm thinking, "Stockholm Syndrome."
There are many complex and varied issues raised by this on many levels with a variety of applications.
I think this is "one to watch." And, talk about with your kids.
Word to yo mutha!