This post is designed to spark conversation around the image and impact of hip hop. Comments may be used during an upcoming workshop on the role public administrators play (can play) in hip hop culture.
Hip hop needs a PR manager. It needs someone to tell the haters, like Oprah and Barack Obama, that for all the negative stories there are plenty of good stories. Stories like how hip hop motivated young African Americans to vote during the 2000 election. Stories like Russell Simmons Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. Stories that showcase the political and social consciousness of the culture represented in music like Public Enemy’s Fight the Power and dead prez’s Let’s Get Free.
Hip hop needs someone to stand up for the messages and content in the music that reflect the struggles of the people. Hip hop needs someone to say that the music and culture help followers escape the harsh realities of everyday life. It needs someone to tell the world that it’s a lifestyle that has a following of ambitious women and men that positively contribute to society. It needs someone to speak of its history, which is deeply rooted in West African rhythms and African American music.
Hip hop needs a PR manager. A manager that will tell its story - the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
If it can find this person then the haters would understand that the music, culture, lifestyle called hip hop speaks to the changes that need to be made in America. They would understand how hip hop could help be a catalyst for change. They would understand that they need to embrace hip hop because it is here to stay.
Can hip hop count on you?
Take a look at this. Jeff Chang asserts that hip hop is getting a bad name because of the commercialization of the culture. I agree and would add:
- There is no excuse for bad music.
- Hip hop is bigger than music. We must evaluate hip hop as a culture, a lifestyle, not just as music.
- We can teach and learn from it. We can teach young boys what not to do and young girls how not to allow themselves to be treated. We can learn what is killing our communties and develop strategies to combat the problem.
Hip-hop may have found a PR Manager...or at least someone to stand up and speak some truth. Check it out.
The distinguished Cornel West has joined the discussion.
Thanks to the Smithsonian for giving hip-hop a chance, a voice, a rightful place in American history.