Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Role of Hip Hop (Or Lack Thereof) in My Life

Last night in my Theories of Masculinity class, we discussed black masculinity and subsequently discussed the effect of hip hop music on the black community and the world and vice versa. One of the topics brought up was the staggering percentage of white hip hop consumers. As I think about a few of my white friends, I realize how much they utilize rap in their everyday lives. They freely use the word "nigger" in the "rap context." While I am positive they understand the historical context of the word and that they are not attempting to use it in that way, it still agitates me. Why must we continue to use words that have the ability to subjugate a group?

Granted, I have never been a hip hop fan because of the sexist statements that emanate from the music (at least most of the music I have heard). Also, I have and never will be a proponent of the word "nigger" being used by anyone because of the hurtful historical connotations (once again, i am sure that not all of the rappers utilize this term). These reasons have always been my central reasons for trying to ignore the music. However, while I understand that some rappers do express their previous upbringing or lifestyle, their statements perpetuate themselves throughout the global community. The idea that scantily clad women and "bling" are upheld as the ultimate representatives of a man's worth is devastating and sad. It is not a healthy message to perpetuate ONE image of black men and women.

These images of rappers are circulated everywhere from television to video games. In fact, as I watch a couple of friends play a rap karaoke video game that plays the song with the corresponding music video, I am totally disgusted. While many of the words are cut out, the images are still present. Furthermore, it has a "Teen" rating which means that any child could convince his or her parent to buy the game. Beyond that, any child could just go on YouTube and hear the uncut version of the song. This is one of the negatives and positives to the global community we live in. Easy access.

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