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Early this month, an article was published in the Oakland Tribune about hip hop and the impact it has on African Americans. The article was written by Angela Woodall, but it was the author she chose to feature in her story who had some interesting things to say.
Thomas Chatterton Williams, the author of "Losing My Cool: How a Father's Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture," believes that Hip Hop holds back African Americans. Now everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions, but there’s a lot of people who probably disagree with Williams’ statement.
Hip hop in its modern day incarnation has many similarities and differences to its humble beginnings back in the 1970s. Things like fashion, dancing and slang language are all mainstays, while the glaring differences would have to be the violence, sexism and commercialization.
Williams believes that hip hop dictates to African-Americans today what it means to be “black.”
“The stakes are higher because racism and now hip hop have limited what it means to be black by insisting on one measure: street culture as embodied by Biggie Smalls and Jay-Z,” Williams said.
I guess he didn’t take the time to research how hip hop is actually being used to help not just African Americans, but people of all races.
There are several different organizations and programs that focus education youth through hip hop.
Oakland is a city filled with organizations like Oakland Leaf, BUMP records, YouthUprising and the Green Youth Media Center. All of these groups serve youth across the city, offering free after school programs and events for young people to do something positive in their communities.
Hip hop is a global phenomenon and a million dollar industry that just isn’t market to African Americans. There’s no secret that a lot of negativity has come out of the genre, but you can’t minimize the positive effect that hip hop has had on people all over the world.