Today marks the fourteenth anniversary of the attacks on the twin towers and the Pentagon. September 11th, Patriot’s Day or National Day of Service and Remembrance, will always be a memory in the minds of those of us who were there and/or old enough to remember that is if they weren’t directly affected in some way or another. On that same faithful day Jay Z drops his classic Blueprint album. With compassion in our hearts Hip Hop heads jammed the album to get them through a tough time in North America. People of all creeds and colors came together to support each other in this time of need. I remember trying to call my family members in New York just to make sure they were alright. The attacks broke the phone lines that day as millions of other people were trying to reach their loved ones as well. Following the attacks then President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act which we all know today to be a whole other monster in and of itself.
With the relationship that Hip Hop has with western culture and our society why should we acknowledge Patriot’s Day? To ban together with a culture that disregards our lives why would we show them any type of compassion? North American society still hates Rap music today but they have to tolerate it for their children. That’s why they bring artists like Iggy Azalea, Eminem, Mac Miller, and Macklemore types to the forefront because they appeal to their sensibilities and rap about things that are important to them and not us. None of the above, besides Eminem maybe, have never and probably will never rap about police brutality in their community or anything that is important to us because they don’t know our struggle. You can rap about things you haven’t experienced but that compromises your point of view but compromise is used differently in today’s Rap world. If there’s compromise it’s the artist making one instead of the label. There are so many other liberating, meaningful, and important cultural holidays that we could be recognizing instead of doing what society tells us to. You have Black August, Juneteenth, MLK Jr. Day, Kwanzaa, and we are in desperate need of a Malcolm X Day. We could be celebrating all of these as we wave the Pan-African flag.
We can play the music of our people; Gospel, Jazz, Blues, Rock-N-Roll, Rhythm & Blues, and of course Hip Hop. All of these genres were created by slaves and/or Black-Americans and in some way, shape, or form taken from us by whom? The same people that want us to celebrate Patriot’s Day and if you don’t you’re unpatriotic and don’t “support America”. Why should we support the U.S.A.? You want us to support the killing of unarmed men, women, and children of color? You want us to support the school-to-prison pipeline? You want us to support the mass incarceration of our people? You want us to support you but you don’t support our music? The U.S. doesn’t support real Hip Hop! The U.S. still doesn’t like Black people! (Kanye voice) After all these generations of us supporting them and lifting up this country that we were forced to migrate to you want my support?!
Willie Lynch’s work is still alive and well today. Some of us still ignore or disown our culture for theirs. Being a patriot and a fool may be synonymous. You never hear or see anything about the Black families that were affected. Today you’ll see images from September 11, 2001 all over social media but how many images will include someone who looks like you?