Poverty Consciousness

For years rappers have rhyme about growing up poor, being unencouraged at school, and having to sell drugs to make ends meet at a young age. However, as a listener you find out that not every rapper doesn’t have that story. Some of them grew up excelling in school and even earning college scholarships, but for some reason they feel the need to “out-broke” each other. Trying to one up each other as to who was the poorest or who had it worse growing up. All this does is continue to perpetuate the idea of poverty consciousness. Poverty Consciousness is a type of social engineering that is specifically designed to conquer the mind so that we accept new age slavery and become puppets based on our lack of materialistic things. This results in people doing whatever they can to keep these pseudo-possessions including committing crimes when we feel like our material possessions are threatened in turn maintaining the status quo for “THEM/THEY”.

Adding a catchy rap tune about being poor is a way to perpetuate the mind state of poverty consciousness. If everyone is poor you won’t feel bad about your own situation and you won’t do anything to get out of it. For example that guy standing on the block selling drugs instead of going to pharmacy school because he thinks he isn’t smart enough or that he doesn’t have enough money for school is stuck in poverty consciousness. You might be in the hood now but you don’t have to stay there! Just because you live in the hood doesn’t mean you can’t be informed on the issues and make an informed vote. Just because you’re a stripper in a nightclub now doesn’t mean you’re stuck there for the rest of your life! You can open up a dance studio or teach gymnastics. You don’t have to tell anyone about your past because it’s none of their business. We all have the power to break generational curses by moving out of the hood, going to school, and in some cases simply moving to another city or state is breaking the chains!

We as a diaspora have to get out of this poverty conscious mind state and open our minds to the opportunity to simply do something different. You have to have the courage to change because you may get laughed at, discouraged, or dismissed but those people are insecure and envy you for having the courage to do something different. If everyone is laughing, don’t and see what happens. If everyone is mumbling their raps, dare to recite rhymes that have context. If everyone is popping pills, stay sober! If you get a job that cuts some of your food stamps, be a trailblazer and keep the job…forget those single-parent incentives! Post Traumatic Slave Disorder is very real but I don’t see it being added to the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders anytime soon. Until then, we are responsible for our own healing and that of each person that is part of the diaspora. That means we need to reflect that into our music; Blues, Jazz, Rock N Roll, and of course Hip Hop/Rap Music. If we don’t, we faill our children and they will be living in the same state of mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical poverty.

“Imagine for one second all the people in poverty. No matter the skin tone, culture or time zone.” – Q-Tip (The Space Program)

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