Wherefore Art Thou Graffiti?

Graffiti is one of the core elements of Hip Hop Culture and as mural/street art grow traditional graffiti such as tagging, wild styles, and throw-ups become more underground. As the other elements of Hip Hop Culture are drawing lines between mainstream and underground or real versus fake, graffiti has been able to hold on to some of its authenticity. Graffiti writers/artists have a long history of being involved in politics and social issues. A writer can use their art to convey messages of political points of view and to express their views on social issues that impact the world. In 2016 traditional graffiti is needed more than ever. Given the socio-political climate in our country following the inauguration of President Barack Obama racism, classism, bigotry, and other forms of discrimination we need writers that write in secrecy and know how to get in high places. We need graffiti writers to get together and create some great pieces depicting the current state of our nation.

We’ve seen murals of our fallen brothers and sisters after they’ve been murdered by local authorities. We’ve seen various monuments of confederate “heroes” dawned with #BlackLivesMatter all over our country. We’ve even seen people attempt to frame our movement by writing “Black lives rule” on the driveway of white-Americans. Some would say “do your Googles” if you want to see graffiti related to the movement. However, given traditional graffiti’s history some of these pieces and murals are quickly painted over and/or vandalized by the opposing parties. Some would say graffiti pieces are probably just as useless as protesting and marching but what graffiti does is give the writer a platform and anonymity at the same time. Graffiti writers can avoid arrests and other types of backlash, if they don’t get caught.

Granted there are cameras everywhere in this country but if you utilize the code of conduct followed by traditional graffiti writers you should be fine. Make sure when you go out that you’re covered completely from head to toe. Wear gloves to hide your skin and glasses to hide your eyes. Durable sneakers are imperative. You don’t want to hop fences and run in your new “Banned” Air Jordan’s. I would say leave your phones and home but for safety purposes take a throw away if you have one. The elements of Hip Hop culture go hand-in-hand so one element can’t “do its own thing.” O graffiti, graffiti, wherefore art thou graffiti writers? Deny thy government and refuse thy name; or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love and I’ll no longer be a bystander. Shall I hear more, or shall I speak at this? ‘Tis but thy government that is my enemy: thou art thyself, though not a vandal.

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