Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect Rap music and Hip-Hop culture for all that it has done for black culture, but sometimes I’m disappointed in the messages that artists send with their music. Messages that promote violence, materialism, the sexualization of black women and drug use is detrimental to our youth. Do you feel that artists should have a level of responsibly to the types of messages that they deliver in their music?
How often do you hear Rap/ Hip-Hop artists talk about what they are wearing, how much they spend and how much they have, regarding material items? Materialism is a staple in Rap/ Hip-Hop culture because it supports the imagery that is appealing to the young black audience. Name brand clothing, shoes, hats, belts, jewelry, cars, etc. are luxury items to those who are unable to afford them. It also provides a false sense of success for items that do not provide long term value. These items do not add any financial growth or provide any stability in young peoples lives. The glorification and worship of material items is detrimental to the black community because we are already disadvantaged when it comes to wealth accumulation and financial growth due to centuries of systematic and institutional racism. The need is to learn how to accumulate our wealth and have better financial practices to set ourselves up for future generations to come. But the materialistic mindset is pushed so heavy in the black community, that this type of thinking is keeping us in a position to not be able to set ourselves up for financial success. Most designers and name brands that artists brag about and represent in their music, do absolutely nothing for the black community or care about the struggles that we face. So why do we keep giving them our money and attention? No one said that it is wrong to like and want nice things, but when you start worshiping these things and not prioritizing your wealth, then it becomes a problem.
“The glorification and worship of material items is detrimental to the black community because we are already disadvantaged when it comes to wealth accumulation and financial growth due to centuries of systematic and institutional racism.”
The Sexuailzation and degradation of the Black Woman:
Do you ever wonder why women have it so hard in mainstream culture, but Rap/Hip-Hop culture specifically? We don’t have to look to far to see examples of black women that are demeaning, but you never expect to hear it from your own male counterparts. There is a huge disconnect between black men and women and it is very apparent in the music. Rap/ Hip-Hop culture has took a turn where the glorification of strippers and the strip club scene is more popular than ever. Rappers will spend thousands of dollars at the strip club , instead of spending that money to encourage women to love and respect themselves, in a society that is very cruel to us to begin with. Lesbianism and bisexuality is encouraged, while the term “bitch” is accepted and has adopted its own meaning. Women are constantly shamed for how they dress, act and a multitude of other things. they are valued on how they look and what they can do sexually and the majority of songs represent how women can not be trusted. This is detrimental because it furthers the disconnect between black men and women and it also teaches black women that they have nothing to offer but their bodies and that it is okay to be called a “bitch”. Rap/ Hip-Hop music should bridge the divide and teach women to love and respect themselves, but that isn’t the message that sells right?
Violence and Drugs:
We all know that black on black crime and drugs has always been a message that sells. Artists constantly talk about the violence that they inflict on others or the drugs that they are under the influence of. New drugs like Codeine, “Molly” and Xanax are becoming popular in Rap/ Hip-Hop music. More people are experimenting with these drugs because they think its cool and they see people that they look up to advertising how “great” it is. We have to be knowledgeable to the messages that are forced unto our communities. The black community gets so much scrutiny for black on black crime, but then the same imagery is sold back into our households. How do you think a young boy processes hearing “You fucking with a nigga who don’t give a fuck. Empty the clip and roll the windows up”. He feels that this type of behavior is okay and then he afflicts the same behavior back into his community. I understand that some people have experienced violent upbringings and that they express themselves and their feelings through music and that’s okay. But artists should talk about how they overcame that lifestyle, instead of continuing the cycle of pain and destruction onto our youth and our communities.
“The black community gets so much scrutiny for black on black crime, but then the same imagery is sold back into our households.
So the question remains, are artists responsible for the messages that they send in their music? I feel that artists should have a certain level of responsibility, especially if they say they care about black people and the very communities that they come from. Is there a level of responsibility for the consumer? Absolutely. You can’t follow every trend that unfolds or believe every word that you hear. People have to look out for their own health and well being, but because artists have a platform, they should use it with responsibility. It the mist of talking about your past and the things you like to do, educate! Show that there are options, teach men and women to love and value themselves, as well as, taking a stand on real activism. How many black lives have to be lost spiritually and physically for the people in power positions to take a stand? I personally feel that if the artists I love cant look out for me, why should I support them? Who said you cant be conscious and successful?