This isn’t overtly a news story, but is still something that’s pretty nice to hear. Mike Thomas and Danny Tejada formed the Hip Hop Alliance to combat what they saw as troubling aspects of hip hop and some of the lyrics involved. The Daily Gazette has this to say:
But as he got older, some hip-hop lyrics began to trouble him. “I was disappointed in what I was hearing, in terms of images and music, the hyper-masculinity and homophobia,” he said. “It was degrading. It was becoming less complex. … It kind of made the people around me simple as well. As a teenager, you’re going through a lot, but if hip-hop is your main source of information and it’s dumbing down and you don’t have a great education to begin with, it’s destructive.”
It’s an interesting view of things because I’ve honestly never thought of hip hop as a primary means of education. I know it has its share of teaching potential, and that it has been used as a method to teach particular kinds of things (science, for example). Still, I guess it’s true that it can be a main source of information for a lot of people. Hip hop has always been a way for people to be socially critical of government and society, and if this commentary is filled with abusive and hateful language it may not provoke the thought it should.
That’s part of why these two kids are trying to confront the over-use of the N-word in hip hop. That’s always been a word I’ve been torn about as well. I understand that for a lot of black youth it’s a way to reclaim what has been a racial slur. But at the same time I find that it may not actually be doing that, and may instead perpetuate the negative image.