By Cornell Dews
I’d like to start this editorial by stating some specifics about me. First and foremost, I greatly appreciate everyone who takes the time to read anything that I post on AllHipHop. I don’t take it for granted. It’s a privilege to be afforded the opportunity to share my personal thoughts with you. Thank you. Secondly, I’d like to share from which perspective I write about Hip Hop. I am a 47 year old Black man from Baltimore City. I’ve spent my whole professional adult life educating and serving young people throughout the city of Baltimore. And I am an avid fan of Hip Hop. I’ve always understood that Hip Hop was the language spoken by the youth. Therefore, to be an effective communicator with our children it’s imperative that I understand their language. So I listen. I value. Then I speak. In that order. Ultimately my goal is to help and influence our youth to do better to improve their life, which will impact the life of their home and community as a whole. The way I see it, if my job is properly done, society will reap the reward.
Last week, I published an editorial on AllHipHop posing the question, “Is Rapping The Most Dangerous Job?” I used research data to support the argument that it is. We could all rattle off at least 5 names of individuals from Hip Hop that were killed. Probably within a matter of seconds. It’s reminiscent to me of RIP tee shirts that were popularized in the 2000’s. I just had that visual as I was naming rap artists whose life succumbed to bullets fired from guns of individuals who more than likely looked like them.
By no means am I an antagonist of the culture. Instead, I am a champion of the culture. I am just perplexed with understanding the direction that we’re moving in. Plus I understand our power and see the potential that we have to do something far greater than just make music. We could change the trajectory of Hip Hop ourselves. Which would change the trajectory of our community. Right now Hip Hop is the leading vehicle used to sell everything. There isn’t a product or service moving above ground or under ground that isn’t being steered by our music, our culture. That’s great. But who are the major benefactors? And aside from the corporate and monetary gains experienced by those using Black culture to sell their products to all cultures without fair and equal compensation to the creators; whose life is more susceptible to the negative imperil derived from the music?
A couple of days ago, I texted Brother Chuck Creekmur (co-founder of AHH) the following: If we could harness and direct the spirit of Hip Hop, what would you use it to change or create? He said, “kill poverty or create wealth for future generations.” It may sound farfetched to some, too lofty of an idea, but I believe that Hip Hop can be used to do those things and even more. Hip Hop has evolved to something greater than we ever envisioned. It’s the catalyst to the world. My only concerns are that we’re being duped to believe that it’s only a genre of music and that our authoritative state of the culture has been subjugated allowing others to reap the greatest reward from our being. FROM OUR BEING. Not just our creation, but our ESSENCE.
Though there are many financial benefactors to our music, you and I both know there’s none more impacted by the music than the black and brown community. And sadly, we don’t control it. So lets have a “hypothetical” conversation. If we could harness and direct the spirit of Hip-Hop, what would you use it to change or create?