I guess you can consider me an old head in terms of the Hip Hop game. Grew up right across from the infamous Bronx River Projects at a time when Afrika Bambatta and his ‘crew’ were ruling the area. In the midst of the birth of what would eventually become commercial Hip Hop. From hearing cassette tapes of block parties and crews rapping and battling each other, because I was too young to witness it in person. At a time where the murder rate was so high, that people were being killed in broad daylight in front of others. Never needed to wait til dark to perform such heinous acts. Acting ignorant was at a premium because the choices are around you kinda dictated such actions.
Here we are, more than 40 years later and in comparison to how crime was in the early 70s to late 80s, it’s virtually paradise as crime rates are still at an all time low. There are still shackles at the feet of Blacks (metaphorically ‘speaking’) in terms of race relations, poverty, wrongful imprisonment and pay disparities, yet, the music we ‘created’ has grown larger and faster than any other cultural offerings. Yet and still, breaking the barriers of business, art, perception, history and education, still hasn’t gotten us out of the ignorance that’s been associated with Blacks (Especially in these days of Trump country) since, well, ‘we’ were brought here from our native Africa. The seeds of hate were planted so long ago, yet, it still blossoms like a new plant seeing life at the beginning of the spring season. And yet, we haven’t taken responsibility for the growth it has unleashed at a level that may take generations to eliminate.
I have yet to see the Jordan Peele movie, ‘Us’ but, I’m gonna take it back even further with Ice Cube’s recording titled, ‘Us’ off the Death Certificate album. If you have no clue as to the song, I suggest you listen to what O’Shea Jackson lyrically stated many years ago and I promise you, that track can be played today and have the same, if not, more relevance now.
When we realize that we perpetuate the stereotypes by continuously playing up to them, for the name of going viral or gaining views or becoming popular at the expense of a whole race/culture, then what does that say about ‘Us?’
Yes, it happens with most races, but not to the extent of how we can control the images being displayed by NOT participating in the ignorance that is attached to us. A small minority is to blame, yes, but, we don’t ostracize those enough where it makes a positive impact. When I say ‘we’, I, of course, am speaking in general, but take a look online now and see what and who is trending. When are we gonna make sure good things trend in our community, drowning out the ignorance we see daily? Kodak Black makes ignorant statements and what do we do? Make sure everyone else knows as it goes viral! If Kodak Black made a sizable donation to charities and gave back to the communities, would all of the people, media and audience be as quick to spread that news?!?
Think about it… We DO control the narrative but do ‘we’ want to? Let’s stop blaming others when I see my timeline filled with ignorance by my peoples….. Try spreading positive news once in awhile and see how that translate…..