Lately, Hip Hop news has been fueled with beef and rants of all kinds. Meek Mill is beefing with Wale because Wale wasn’t supporting Mill’s current project enough on social media, Dame Dash is blaming Lyor Cohen for the downfall of Rocafella Records, Lil Wayne thanks the world for supporting his bull. Chris Brown and Drake are in the studio together and Lebron James shocked the world with a return to Cleveland. Wow!
Where is the substance? When are we going to demand something more from those that represent us on a grand stage? Is their job just to entertain us through the struggle and our role is to watch them fight over our attention to keep them relevant and paid in full? Are we really living in the Matrix?
When I see people constantly plugged into some form of social media pretending to be whomever they want to be and finding happiness behind a desktop, laptop or handheld device, I realize fantasy sells more than truth. Is that by design? Or, are we attracted to our own BS? Are we in fear of being accountable for our actions or successful for our relentless pursuits? Sometimes it feels like that. In our society, it seems like everyone is trying to set each other up for failure. With shows like “Big Brother,” “Survivor” and other reality programs that promote deception in the form of friendship how can we be getting better?
People of color are projected to become the majority in the U.S. by 2050, if not sooner. What will that world look like? If we can’t depend on the music and global messages to navigate us to victory, how do we ensure we are preparing our children to compete in this society in generations to come?
Other ethnic groups have entered America and based their ascension off of what we have endured in this country and they are winning. Why is it that we can’t put a plan in place that ensures the preservation, economic development and success of our culture? Are selfish people with ruthless egos and agendas to blame? Look at the children running for the borders of America hoping they can get a glimpse at the opportunity to be an American citizen. Their parents and families are praying that once they get caught they will be granted citizenship into a country that can make their dreams come true. Are our children even dreaming? Do you think they would be willing to take a chance to escape the poverty stricken arrangements they are stuck in?
I look into the eyes of our children and many are copping out on us. They are purposely rebelling against the world that has been presented to them. They feel that they do not need to subscribe to a system of illusions when they can deal with the real hard core facts. A tattoo on their face, neck, and/or hand proves they are not considering going to work on Wall Street. The harsh reality is that is not their fault that they are not prepared. I doubt they even know the millions of career options available for them to pursue. Why is that? Is it because we allow nonsense-driven content to monopolize our time and our children’s minds? Our civil rights fight included and needed the athletes, actors and musicians to use their voice to publicize the struggle. Why is it any different today?
By 2020, the Department of Energy’s goal is to have 1 million new STEM graduates and 100,000 new teachers in STEM education. We need to immediately begin preparing our children by removing the barriers to success. Our children have to upgrade their math and writing skills as well as stay out of the criminal justice system to reap the benefits of these great paying jobs that will require as little as a two year degree to make over $50,000 a year.
For the sake of Hip Hop, I believe we have all continued to support the lifestyle in one form or another knowing the direction has been tainted. For those of us who have fought so hard for Hip Hop, it’s hard to turn around and fight against it. But part of our responsibility is to admit when we are wrong. Words have transcending power and we can not ignore the effects this has had on our children and our culture as a whole. All we have to do is pledge to use our power to influence success in areas where it is needed. Why limit ourselves to negative images and tough talk, when we can expand our reach and be change agents?
Jineea Butler, founder of the Social Services of Hip Hop and the Hip Hop Union is a Hip Hop Analyst who investigates the trends and behaviors of the community and delivers programming that solves the Hip Hop Dilemma. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet her at @flygirlladyjay