In Memory of Hip Hop

by Trina Williams-Emigh

Congress has Hip Hop under the gun. The House on Energy and Commerce’s sub-committee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection has decided to focus it’s energies on the language, violence, and degrading images portrayed in Hip Hop music, videos and culture. I grew up on Hip Hop, and am still a fan, yet with much despair, I must agree with their argument.

Popular culture is greatly influenced by entertainment mediums. Industries and corporations know this and utilize these resources to their advantage in selling products and ideas to the masses. Yet whenever they are under fire for being influential in the ills of today’s culture, they instantly place the blame on parents and communities. As if they do not have marketers, psychologists, and a whole slew of specialists consulting them on how to win over consumers. It is time for the entertainment industry to own up to their deceit and stop trying to run away from blame. It is the responsibility of all members of society to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner, and the entertainment industry is no exception. The argument that always comes up is that what is acceptable to one, may not be acceptable to another-and that is true. But what we must consider is that sex, drugs and violence, no matter who does are does not deem it acceptable, are negative. This is definitely a concept that needs to be kept in pers pective. Nothing positive has ever come out of sex, drugs and violence. Sex is not love, and drugs and violence only destroys lives.

Though Hip Hop is in no way the cause for our society’s behavior, it is a participant in helping to provide a “blueprint” so to speak for today’s youth to emulate. Now I do not agree with censorship, and feel that parental guidance labels and edited versions are fair, but the state of society is getting out of hand and something needs to be done. So if television can be censored, there is nothing wrong with music lyrics and music videos being censored as well.

Isn’t the purpose of censorship to oversee the manners and morals of society? I feel that the dissemination of information and freedom of expression are in question here. I mean what kind of information are you actually sharing? And why do you feel the need to express such negativity through public mediums? When the information and expressions are doing nothing but presenting degrading images, than this type of information and expression is not acceptable for public consumption. We have strayed from Hip Ho p being a reflection of African-American culture-to Hip Hop being a destructive subculture of the African-American Diaspora.

Why are you making it acceptable to glorify the very negatives that the African-American community has fought so long to have removed from the television and film industry? Hip Hop producers, record labels, directors and entertainers need to be in control of the images they project of their African-American culture. Selling the same pre-packaged formula for success-according to the record companies-is a sellout. Regardless of the environment that you grew up in you do not have to propagate the negative of t hat environment as if there were no positives. Why can’t you depict images of the successes that were achieved i.e.….like getting away from the negatives? You did not become successful because you were a gang banger, or a drug pusher or a street hustler. You became successful because you had the drive, talent and wherewithal to achieve your dream.

We hear today that Hip Hop sales are on a decline. I strongly believe this is because consumers are tired of the same-ole-same-ole. I mean give us a break already with the tricked out cars, expensive jewelry, raining money and barely clothed women shaking their behinds. Let’s not allow another African-American art form to fall into almost obscurity, to become material for a documentary, by some white music enthusiast, years from now. It is time to revive Hip Hop from its impending grave. Resuscitate it from the destructive coma that it somehow has fallen into. Do this, I ask you.........In memory of Hip Hop.

In Memory of Hip Hop by Trina Williams-Emigh

© Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

TimBookTu Logo

Return to the Table of Contents | Return to Main Page