If you remember elementary school science class, you may remember the topic of mechanical advantage. Mechanical advantage occurs when force is increased by using a device or a machine system. This “device” transmits power without its own power source, enacting Newton’s third law of motion. Think of Newton’s third law as a feature from a mainstream artist. If Drake was featured on a song it’s an automatic hit because the energy or the power of Drake as an artist will simultaneously give the same energy to any new artist like BlocBoy JB and Lil Baby. When you here seasoned emcees or “old heads” call the music industry a “machine” it comes from a real place. The “system” or the “machine” works in all fields, on every level, in favor of whoever built the system. From politics, education, economics, social issues, and entertainment the proverbial machine has reared its ugly head. I call it ugly because most of the systems in this country were not built by people from our communities. The system is in place to keep us in a place of servitude and not uplift us; it’s the world we live in. The machine works so well against us that we have kept the machine working by giving it our own energy.
21 Savage gets arrested by ICE in a targeted operation and you saw memes before #Free21Savage or #FreeShayaaBin began trending. We have become complicit in our own demise and some of us fight so hard to stay there and look ignorant the while. The people who are choosing to support R. Kelly and continue listening to his music are part of the same machine that allows him to continue being a pedophile. There is a system in place to keep people like Trump in office no matter how bad they are at their job. The educational system and the criminal justice system are connected but that’s another discussion. As the taste-makers and consumers of music and culture we have to stop giving our power away just for someone else to have the mechanical advantage over the music and culture that we created. Making lite of someone’s hardships gives people like Demi Lovato the idea that they can join in on the fun too.
There was a time after segregation ended where we had our own systems and our own machines powered by our own people from our communities. But guess what happened, white people didn’t know how to power their own machine so they tore ours down and demanded that we begin to power theirs. Instead of only being aware of what is happening on social media we need to increase our awareness about the systems around us because we don’t know which systems are connected that may have an effect on us later. If we want criminal justice reform we need to ask for education reform also. If we want to stop 360 deals we need to stop signing the contracts. If one of us says no then we all need to say no. We need to stand as a united front like a mechanic’s union. For those who want to use money as an excuse to throw your community under the bus go ahead and power their machine because once we have rebuilt what they tore down you’ll wish you were mechanically inclined.
“Just know the mechanics of making your choice and writin’ your bars.” Kendrick Lamar (untitled 07 | 2014-2016)