As we are just coming off of Hip Hop History Month and the Thanksgiving holiday let’s all reflect on how Hip Hop has affected our lives and the contributions that have been made to empower our community. Those who work within one of the elements of Hip Hop think about where you would be without it. It was just forty years ago that Hip Hop was NOT on the radio or TV. Nobody even knew what Hip Hop was in the beginning. Some can’t even fathom not hearing Rap music on the radio today. A lot of people take Hip Hop for granted and that includes artists, executives, and entrepreneurs.
Where would we be without Hip Hop? We probably wouldn’t have black television because there’d be little to no programming. What type of music would you listen to if you couldn’t listen to Hip Hop? Some of you don’t even know of any other music genre. How can you be a fan of Hip Hop and not listen to other types of music anyway? Rap music is still ours and we have to hold on to it and show some respect. Some of you t-shirt printers would be out of work because there would be no catchy phrases to put on the shirt. Party promoters, what are your patrons listening to? DJs are you mixing Country or Rock? No breakin and no graffiti. Photographers would probably be more conventional and fashion would never have reached the heights it has without Hip Hop. Sports music programmers would have to find other music to play in the arenas.
Hip Hop has created jobs for people in our community since its inception in the sixties. If we don’t start playing around with our beloved culture the jobs we thought we were creating for our people will be given to those that aren’t of our culture resulting in the dysfunction we have in our culture today. Some of you all would be dead or in jail if it wasn’t for Hip Hop. You would still be on the corner selling that rock or in a gang somewhere! Even though some of you all are still out there doing that Hip Hop has a plethora of opportunities for business minded folks. Ladies, you can excel in Hip Hop without being a ‘model’ or a ‘dancer’. Don’t let people box you in! You can be anything you want when you grow up! We have jobs in television and radio because of Hip Hop. We have jobs on the big screen because of Hip Hop. If everybody stopped trying to act like they belong in the front of the camera and focus on the earning power that goes on behind the scenes than we could be in a better position to maintain control of our culture.
During this holiday season we have to remember those we’ve lost in Hip Hop as well. They paved the way for us to do what we’re doing now. We have to pay homage and show that we still care about this culture of ours we call Hip Hop. Just take a deep breath, close your eyes, and think about where you would be without it. I don’t think some of you can imagine a world without Hip Hop. If we don’t hold on to it the dream, nightmare to be exact, will come true and Hip Hop as we know it will be a distant memory.