The Life of a Ladybug

live with intention. walk to the edge. listen hard. practice wellness. play with abandon. laugh. choose with no regret. continue to learn. appreciate your friends. do what you love. live as if this is all there is. -mary anne radmacher

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Hip-hop culture?

As a bellydancer, I've come into contact with lots of people who are concerned about the "integrity of our dance," "the 'essence' of a culture," etc. I, too, want to learn and understand all I can about the cultures and the peoples from which this dance that I love was derived. But, it's led me to wonder, why is that people who are so concerned about preserving the culture of a society so far away aren't at all worried about preserving the culture of a people right here in their own country? Truth is, I am often at least slightly annoyed ... and sometimes, downright irked, when I see squadrons of cute little White girls in perky ponytails doing "hip hop" dance. I am of the hip hop generation. And there are too many who don't want to acknowledge hip hop as a culture - one that was born and raised in the ghettos, inhabited primarily by Blacks. My heart breaks for the state of hip hop right now - for where we've allowed ourselves to be led. I cry for those who have sold their soul to the highest bidder and turned music that was once a method of adding light to the darkness and voicing political protest into one more arena for spreading sex, violence and misogyny. And I wonder why we don't recognize what we're doing to ourselves? Why don't we recognize that, for the price of a luxury car or a few tacky ass platinum pendants, we have sold ourselves as the criminals, sex crazed lunatics, bitches, whores, drug dealers, and leeches that they have told us that we are? We've all heard that the majority of hip hop music is consumed by Whites ... this is the image of us that they're receiving. And they're dancing to it. Ya feel me? Sorry, but, in the words of Treach, "If you ain't never been to the ghetto, don't ever come to the ghetto. 'Cause you wouldn't understand the ghetto, so stay the f*** out of the ghetto." So, the moral of the story is: If you haven't tried to truly know a people or understand where they're coming from, maybe you aren't the right person to appropriate a piece of their culture for your own enjoyment, even if that culture is homegrown. And, conversely, just because you come from a culture, that doesn't mean that you truly care about it. Your ten platinum teeth, big ole jewelry, fancy cars and naked hos don't mean you're "keepin' it real", cause, for real? I haven't seen much of that where I'm from. Yeah, "real" can be hookers and dealers and baby mommas, but "real" is also struggle and love and family and education. If what you're trying to sell to the world is an image of us, why did you pick the former? Is it because that's what "sells"? Why do you think that is? Hmm ... maybe because it's what feeds the stereotype. Think twice, y'all.


At June 08, 2006 10:28 AM, Anonymous Mel said...



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