AllHipHop Week Act Five: The Social Lounge

The Social Lounge was definitely a change of pace from the dramatics the rest of the week had seen….or so I thought. It took place at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University. The turnout was great. Everyone packed in to hear what our panel of “experts” had to say about a variety of issues ranging from the state of Hip-Hop to the war on Iraq. Everyone was in for a special treat.The panelists included NYC Firestarter Wendy Williams, David Banner, Hip-Hop Historian Cornel West, Master P, who joined us later and last but not least AllHipHop’s own Chuck "Jigsaw" Creekmur, who moderated the panel. While the entire exchange between the panelists was quite exciting, there were definitely two panelists who evoked the most response from the crowd. Those panelists were Cornel West and David Banner. One of the most gripping things perhaps that Banner said was that “Hip-Hop is now being used as a synonym for Nigger.” This statement touched me because it made me think of all the times Hip-Hop culture has been attacked, and it forced me to read behind lines perhaps I had previously ignored. Cornel West embodies the type of tolerance and understanding that can heal this world. I challenge anyone to find someone that is not in the Hip Hop generation who has more insight, and is willing to attempt to understand the Hip-Hop community than Mr. West is. His responses were deep yet concise, compelling yet understandable to people who come from all walks of life.I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Wendy “Ms. How you Doin” Williams (I’m sure she wouldn’t have it any other way). Wendy brought a certain pop culture sensibility to the panel that only she could bring. The highlight of her time on the stage was definitely when she was asked “How can a Black man who is struggling (to make ends meet), change his life around, and try to become better?” Her response was “Until your situation improves, use a condom." Ahhhhhh Wendy Williams….gotta love her!It must be also mentioned that the initial tension between Master P and David Banner was so thick, you could cut it with a knife. When Master P initially walked out he walked across the stage to greet Wendy Williams, and ignored Mr. Banner. He later went back and shook Banner’s hand, but the incident was still the heat source for the two. Banner expressed his opinions on how he does not approve of the way Master P represents himself. The crowd also seemed initially to be against P. Banner and P’s exchanges were heated, yet in the end both men were able to remain calm. Events like this are important because they show that we cannot grow unless we question ourselves and our peers. Creating a dialogue is the only thing that can perhaps bridge the gap between this Hip-Hop Generation and the Baby Boomers, or the Hip-Hop Generation and everyone we are defending ourselves against on any given day. Without forces like AllHipHop, these lines of communication could stay closed. Leaving people everywhere in the Dark.