I haven't written in a little while but something happened two nights ago that not only inspired this post but may even spur it on forward at times. I have been wondering about writing political posts because my understanding of politics is to focus on policy while others look at politics as a game. As long as there lives being affected, politics is not a game. It's time to start looking at politics as an identifier into one's soul or one's way of life. Politics of late have really effected how culture is crafted and last night, Eminem reminded Hip Hop why Chuck D said Rap music is the Ghetto CNN of music.
The BET Awards Show was on a few nights ago and although there are a few reasons why I appreciated the show, Eminem left a mark that has not been seen in Hip Hop for a little while. Not to sound old but I remember when BET actually meant what the acronym spells, Black Entertainment Television. If you know me you know I have criticized BET for like 10 years because it got aways from it's focus and, in my opinion, erred on dumb rather than intelligence. Black is a powerful word that has been used to separate a group of people, described as dreary or dead or lifeless but I view it as an inclusive color and is powerful when used correctly whether it's literature, art, or music.
Hip Hop has been termed or thought on as Black music and rightfully so because we use the music to describe a side of life we are living everyday and need a cathartic measure to vent out our feelings or frustrations for others to hear and maybe relate to. At least, that's what the music used to be characterized as in the 80's -90's. No matter the turn it took, we LOVE IT!! We tout Hip Hop in our clothes, actions, and figure of speech ('I'd like to give a Shout out'). Hip Hop covers all these forms of expression and Black people from the ghetto worldwide have expressed themselves in every way they could think of. And some got rich in the process.
The artists I always loved were Journalists. Stories about the streets giving you lessons on how to see life not just from your eyes from the eyes of others. I don't always have to agree with these sides of life I only have to learn from them. Eminem reminded us at the BET Awards Show 2017 that Hip Hop is a place to express the anger of those around us with no voice.
This kneeling debate started because a quarterback wanted to bring awareness to the unjust police involved shootings of unarmed black men. He was quite clear that this was his reasoning for kneeling, not to disrespect anyone. But to ask a nation to reflect on the beliefs we ask ourselves every time we sing the national anthem. An anthem that is a work in progress as far as I can see and that is the reason why this project we call the United States is a great nation. History says that Americans loudly protest when we see injustice. It's never to the liking of the generation before who do not see the injustice yet. Because we start out as children we grow up with mistakes and flaws that we depend on our parents to teach us how to shake off after time but there is always a quality that is retained that sees the flaws of our parents and use our time educate them on how to do it better than they did. It's the same with this flag of ours. We add a star for state that is entered into the union. Just like how we add a star we add value to it when we protest against injustice. Protest is not supposed to be convenient nor is this country.
Whether you agree with Eminem's freestyle or not is not the point. Hip Hop has been shy on vocalizing it's anger at the right person because we have been blinded by the Golden Calf. Eminem, I hope, woke up hip hop. You see, sometimes when you create something you need to let it into the hands of others in order to see it grow or remind us what to do with it. I liked Eminem from Slim Shady!! I always considered him in my top five, PERIOD!!! Like I said, Black is an inclusive color so when he stepped on the scene I heard his words before his color and was proud that he can bring to hip hop what he, Redman and at times Busta Rhymes which is comedy using the back drop we all relate to but from his point of view. But each of those rappers have songs that can break your heart if you listen a little deeper on the album tracks.
Em is angry. He's expressing it because there are a lot of us that are. Some of the things he said are things we all have said and may even have heard it on songs already here and there. But Em's platform is different. It's easy for any rapper of color to say we don't want America to look like a romaticised era that we could never go back in time to and just fit in nicely (First episode of Timeless, every American should watch just to understand why black people do not time travel, at least not backwards). Hip Hop, the culture, is not interested in making 'America Great AGAIN ' when we have a perfectly good America right here and now, flaws and all, that we all can craft together. To hear Eminem say that this in his own way I hope this is a wake up call to a culture that is made to sound the drums of revolution.
Thanks a lot Em!! We all needed to hear that!!