The opinions expressed in the following editorial do not necessarily represent the views of AllHipHop ans it’s associates.
This isn’t the easiest of topics to tackle. AllHipHop generally has had something that addressed whether Hip-Hop was living up to Dr. King’s dream, and whether or not that was a task that could even be undertaken by this culture. Well done, in my opinion, but we’ve been there and done that.
Then there is the easy way out: posting videos and songs. While it would satisfy the editorial quotient, in this time and this place in history on the eve of perhaps the shining moment of Black people in America, that just seems out of place.
Taking this once in a lifetime alignment, the celebration of the dream followed immediately by its culmination, in perhaps this country’s darkest (pun both intended and not intended) hour, with Mr. Obama’s ascension to the seat of the presidency, I don’t want to saturate you with things that you are bound to be beaten over the head with. Without boring you with history lessons, or trying to find some connection between this and Hip-Hop, I just want to take a second and reflect on what this point in our history means.
Dr. King was a martyr of the finest caliber, and the tragedy of martyrdom is that while you become larger in death than you were in life, you lose the ability to control your image and message. In King’s case his “dream” has pretty much been co-opted by anyone attempting to create a movement. Lost in all these dreams is a legacy of courage in the face of adversity. Dr. King endured firebombings, stabbings, and raw hate on a level we can’t imagine. In the years since, we’ve made an incredible amount of gains professionally and this country has progressed to a certain extent
Which brings us to this holiday, and the coming inauguration. Obama’s famous refrain of “Yes We Can” is the dream of today. The dream on ‘roids. Obama’s win is good for your children and their aspirations. It’s good for your peers and not just your Black peers to see a successful man in love with his wife and who is by all visible accounts a good father. As men we should all aspire to that. It would solve many of the problems that plague this country.
Yes we can. Can speaks to ability. Ability speaks to possibility. But that’s where it stops. There is no motion in can. However, will speaks to all of that. Do we have the will to stop dreaming? On this 80th birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. in a time of trouble, can we as Americans muster up the will to do? Obama can’t save America anymore than Dr. King could. However their shining examples of courage and audacity can inspire us to save ourselves.
Preachers and politicians are not saviors. They are representatives. They represent ideals which more often than not have a hard time translating from “can” to “do” and from theory to practice. This moment offers us a rare opportunity to face down our fears with the hopes and dreams of yesterday at our backs and the promise of what we can do directly in our faces. Let’s take on that challenge and become doers and not dreamers.
Good Day and Good Luck