I was proud of hip hop as I watched the BET Hip Hop Awards last night. It was like I was hip hop’s momma (or maybe its PR manager) and it was a child that had gone astray and was starting to find itself.
Indulge me for a minute so I can give you context for this statement.
I grew up with hip hop, but I was never really into the music. Don’t get me wrong; I was into music, but just not that music.
Coming music was playing in my house at all times.
That’s what I listened to and grew to love.
As hip hop began to fill the radio airwaves I was cool with it, but still not a fan. As I grew older I grew farther away from hip hop. I didn’t understand it. The media said it was bad. It came to represent the ghetto and a poverty mentality (that was my perception). I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. I wasn’t like those people. You know, those people. The ones who drank, smoke and committed crimes. I was a different kind of black.
Fast forward lots of years and Jay-Z dropped “Kingdom Come,” and I fell in love with hip hop.
SN: The ironic thing is Jay has said he feels like that was his worst album.
It was a mature flow. It was something I could get with.
So, as I do with all things I take interest in, I started researching. I started learning about hip hop.
I learned about the origin as a creative outlet for blacks. I learned about the the political and social consciousness the culture represented in music like Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” and dead prez’s “Let’s Get Free.”
I then began to stand up for hip hop and educate folk that there are messages and content in hip hop music that reflect the struggles of the people. I told people that the music and culture help followers escape the harsh realities of everyday life. It shared that hip hop represents a lifestyle that has a following of ambitious women and men that positively contribute to society. I told everyone who would listen (and still do) that hip hop music has a history that is deeply rooted in West African rhythms and African American music.
So, last night when Common, Jay Electronica and Vince Staples took the stage to present the “Kingdom Remix,” which paid tribute to current fight for equality and justice. I was proud.
I got chills when Common said:
We do this for the people, for black people all around the country, America, who go through the struggle. We do this for our lost soldiers. We do this for our fallen soldiers.
Then there was David Banner’s cypher contribution that called the hate groups to the carpet (and a few others as well) and Doug E. Fresh’s speech that encouraged us to stop selling our souls for dollars.
Then there was Dee-1 and Detroit Che who didn’t allow us to forget the others who have died in the struggle.
I was one proud hip hop head last night.
It showed me hip hop has forgotten its roots. It showed me hip hop is still connected to the struggle. It showed me hip hop is positioned and ready to participate in the revolution.
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brandi n. williams, apr (bea) is an award-winning and Accredited public relations professional with nearly 20 years experience. bea has worked with a wide array of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, government entities and in the urban entertainment industry. during this time she has established herself as an expert in creating and implementing pr programs that positively impact the community and company bottom-lines. Follow @beawilliamsapr Friend me facebook.com/beawilliamsapr.