THE STRUGGLE: CHAPTER 6: HIP HOP VS AMERICA


While the Black Power Movement was losing steam  in the late 70s, in the background a new culture called “Hip Hop” was taking shape among the youth in America’s inner cities and would begin addressing the issues that were effecting those living there. One of hip hop’s forefathers, Afrika Bambaataa, was instrumental in introducing hip hop battles as an alternative to gang activities. He also formed a hip hop organization called the Zulu Nation who would use hip hop to push social change and positivity. And as hip hop’s popularity grew, it became more appealing to youth to join a hip hop crew than joining a street gang.

 

By 1980, most American cities were in a state of decay and poverty, created by years of neglect by city officials and the exodus of many skilled, educated blacks who moved into more affluent communities.

 

Older Blacks in these inners cities turned to black city officials and church leadership for direction. But the hip hop generation had no interests in marching the streets for change, singing gospel hymns, and no patience for the political process. They were in a state of emergency and looking for immediate solutions to the problems plaguing their cities. They began looking at the hip hop culture that united them as a way to address the common issues they were facing.

 

In the 80s and 90s Hip Hop began filling the void. Young people used it as a voice to represent them, a forum to exchange ideas, a new tool to educate. And with Hip Hop’s constant push to think outside the box It lead to new forms of activism. Inner cities incorporated hip hop into their programs. Hip Hop activist organized gang summits to address gang violence. Conscious artists injecting knowledge in their lyrics. Activist organized rallies and protests against social and economic injustice. Hip hop media promoted safe sex campaigns like “Wrap it up” and anti drug campaigns like “Crack is Wack”. Hip Hop coalitions like “Hip Hop Cares” we’re formed and helped raise goods for the community, collecting items such as, food, clothes, school supplies and toys for Christmas.

 

But some in America did not see anything positive about hip hop, viewing it as a serious threat, that was challenging the establishment and if left unchecked could threaten to destroy its moral fabric. They viewed the dance moves as dangerous, the street art as vandalism, and the music as nothing more than noise. And they took action to suppress it. 
 

But Hip Hop would prove to be unstoppable.

 

Hip Hop Vs America’s (In The 80’s)

Initially most adults viewed hip hop as a passing fad, under estimating its power, they believed would only last.a few years.

Once they realized its power, many considered a it public nusance leading many cities to impose laws they hoped would deter its activities on the streets.

 

Hip Hop Vs America (In the 90’s)

Out of touch black leaders, politicians, and religious leaders, would join forces. Deeming hip hop as nothing more than a destructive and immoral art form, they pushed for a crack down on the culture.

 

 

Hip Hop Vs America (In the 2000’s)

Major media organizations would take on hip hop accusing it of negatively influencing America’s youth. They began aired special televised programs and public debates discussing whether hip hop was “Art or Poison”.

 

 

While hip hop was busy in a duel fighting to uplift inner cities on one front and defend its culture on the other. The music industry had been busy undermining hip hop’s presence in the mainstream. Quietly stealing hip hops identity, it began marketing its own commercialized version under the hip hop brand.

 

By 2007,. hip hop culture was alive and well. But it’s volume had now been lowered in mainstream media.  Drowned out by a 24 hour rotation of strip club anthems, boss music, and mumble raps. As a result, Hip Hop was no longer the same driving force for social change that it was in the 80’s and 90’s.

Black History
 

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