To imply such results in the school of thought that only true hip hop heads don't do such things as watch the BET Awards or listen to 99 Jams. I've loved hip hop since its birth. I've watched it evolve many times over.
Just because a lot of things have come from hip hop such as fashion, graffiti, dancing, music, and influenced media and literary arts forms, it does not in anyway form an exclusivity that manifests itself in many parts of the hip hop community. Hip hop is an art form but it began as a simple form of entertainment. How it turned into something that folks have started to denounce as "dead" or "dying" is a waste of time and downright scary.
A dangerous precedent is also taking place. Hip hop has become reduced to being a term. It has become property over which we argue over, "Hip Hop is mine! That mess on the radio isn't Hip Hop! Hip Hop is this, Hip Hop is that! In a modern time, after much hardship and heartbreak, we as a Black people were blessed by God to received beautiful form of lyrical entertainment.
We hadn't been blessed with a new art form with as much to offer in a hundred years. The last time we got blesed like this, we got Jazz and gave it away. Before that, it was the Blues. Blues is alive, but is it well? Hip Hop is probably real tired of the dissection of her contributors.
Born in a pizza parlor somewhere in New Jersey around , hip hop came to us for a means of passing time and expressing ourselves.
No one knew that the young folks would bend and stretch hip hop like good bread, making it grow and rise and yield such delicious things as graffiti, dancing, changing literary and media forms, and forming collectives that are so large and vast yet as tightly- knit as family of blood kin. At one time, both entities served a good and right purpose in educating me in music.
From my hip hop education came a love for one who makes it. From the love for one who makes hip hop music came a wonderful experience of meeting folks who made hip hop music, too, and with my meeting individuals who make this music came a realization that the world of hip hop is a very different one depicted on BET or heard on 99 Jams.
But are we to become elitists in our thinking, excluding opportunities to view and listen to such media outlets. How else will we know we have gone wrong if we can't watch and see that very thing that we find to be abominable?
The BET Awards was not abominable to watch. On the show, I saw artists who have performed live, who in their youth performed in places like the Goodman Racetrack in Holmes County, or Freelon's, the Birdland, and Jackson State University.
Many of the artists who I watched come onstage to present, give, and receive awards have paid their dues. It is sad to know that many hip hop artists change their music from what it was that endeared them to me in the first place. Still, I hold on to the hope that one day some artists will return to their roots, that special thing that made their music theirs and theirs alone.
We must be patient with our artists. We must be hopeful that some of them will have enough love for us who are their fans to make the music rich and powerful once again. Hip hop being what it is merits a little more hard work to be done to educate our young people in understanding that hip hop that they see on BET and the like, aren't accurate representations of hip hop.
We must also give young people inspiration to take hip hop in new directions by giving their ears near things to hear that are hip hop. Until then, it will be the radio that they turn on to hear and receive their education in hip hop. If we wish to see our young people learn more valid and accurate models of hip hop, we'll need to take note of how powerful forces such as collectivism have established a means for sharing examples of hip hop as we think it should be.
Until then, let us not form exclusive clubs for staking claims to hip hop, because Hip Hop belongs to all of us.