Hip Hop & Higher Education: White at An HBCU

It is homecoming week for my alma mater, THE Norfolk State University so I thought I’d bring back our higher education series for this weekend. Racism is in an issue yes we all know this but what happens when white folks come into our predominantly Black and Brown spaces? People liken the industry to high school but from the outside looking in it’s more like a Historically Black College or University. A vast majority of the people are from the African diaspora; you have the best dressed, the ones who don’t go to class, the fraternities and sororities, and let’s not forget the white students who came to the school on a “scholarship”. So they go to class and do their little homework or play their little sport just going through life like any young person would. The problem is with us because the moment they step on campus we treat them like some unicorn that we’ve never seen before.

Automatically giving them cool points when they aren’t doing anything better than the other hundreds of Black and Brown students matriculating at the university. We bend the rules for them, give them the benefit of the doubt, and make excuses for their ignorant behavior. We’re letting Aubrey and his OVO amigos run around campus as if he’s the President of said college. Look at Russ and how he verbalizes his frustrations with the industry. What Black Rapper on the level of a Russ do you know can say the things he says without some repercussions in the boardroom, at the label, or on social media? If Lupe Fiasco says anything negative about anybody we like he’ll get cancelled in a second. Some are Kanyes, they graduated from school but got a graduate degree at a PWI so now as an instructor (not professor) they act like they’re kicking knowledge and a lot of the students still register for that class. This is why white folks think they can come into Black and Brown spaces and dictate the culture only to have us assimilate while they appropriate.

There are at least ten Historically Black Colleges and Universities who will only be HBCU’s by name unless we start applying ourselves and taking our dollars to the academic spaces that were literally created for us and not them. Hip Hop could become what Rock N Roll is today, a genre of music that is predominantly white. We let them in the school of Rock because we put them on a pedestal for doing nothing special while our kinfolk are running circles around Jack on that guitar, on that verse, on that field, or on that essay. We cannot assist with the systematic removal of us from our own spaces and places. Post Malone, Beastie Boys, Rick Rubin, Yelawolf, Kid Rock, and whatever other white guy you can name started off doing other things before they came into Hip Hop. Doing nothing grandiose these people made money and left without so much as a thank you or a donation to the culture. Yet they get to come back whenever they want and are welcomed with open arms when their own peers in their completely white spaces have disowned them. We allow them to use us time and time again. When will the time come for us to start denying these “scholarship applications” and give a young talented brother or sister a full ride?

“All black everything, this ___ like a HBCU.” – Wale (600 Benz)

 

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