When I was younger (in the 80s) I remember Black History Month was a month long event! Something that made me proud that there were people who looked like me that made a major contribution to society by standing up for what they believe in. Today in 2014 your child is lucky if they even mention Black History Month in the classroom and you can count on your fingers how many parents are teaching their kids at home. With the pressure on our schools to do well on standardized testing you can best believe they don’t have African-American history on the curriculum list. For years people of African descent have had their heritage and history hidden and destroyed only to be ‘rewritten’ by their oppressors. In 2014 you have things being done on a national level that warrant the same results. As a current people we, the black people of America, are ignorant about our predecessors and their contributions to the way we live today. We underestimate ourselves as a people and have more power than we realize while at the same time using it to strike change.
If you read my blog post about the Grammy’s than this will be easier to understand. Now imagine one hundred years from now and there was no current Hip Hop Culture or Rap music. All that was left were the award shows. That is the musical ‘history book’ a record of the most popular music of the time. What would you want those who had never heard Hip Hop or Rap to get from it? What type of feeling would this current Rap music have on those people? Our music is our history. The albums that artists put out are going to be representative of what was going on at the time. Whose album would even be worth listening to? No ‘major’ Rapper is even talking about anything political. No social issues and you would swear the economic situation was the best it’s ever been given the way they rap about money. No mention of education giving birth to the idea that we didn’t cherish something we didn’t always have.
Some rappers want to go down in history for petty, materialistic, and selfish notions. I understand you want to reach certain levels of success and continue to do so but remember everybody won’t make it out the hood. So you have to be responsible for the ideas you put into people’s minds. Parents and other media outlets also have responsibility as well but the last time I checked these rappers are the heroes of this time and our kids will remember them for the things that they stood up for and hopefully inspire them to stand up for things they believe in. Hip Hop is a part of black history. Hip Hop Culture is a sub-culture of ‘African-Americans’ that encompasses different forms of folk art. We have to take pride in what we are leaving behind as we continue to write the history of Hip Hop and Rap music. Our oppressors no longer need to rewrite our history because we’re doing a good job of dragging it through the mud ourselves.
We have to remember that Hip Hop is black history! We show our current history no respect. No classic Rap joints to play for Black History Month? I do understand those who say they don’t care for Black History Month because we should celebrate black history year-round. I honestly don’t think a lot of people would even notice or care and I’m sure some would celebrate. But our people aren’t ready for that type of cultural withdrawal. Keeping Black History Month alive is something that needs to be done for ourselves just like keeping the proper balance is. Nobody knows black history or Hip Hop like the people who started it. So until we as a people become more knowledgeable and are empowering and teaching our kids about black history on a daily basis then we need this one month to remind ourselves. Allow me to reintroduce myself, I’m BLACK!
Happy Black History Month!