When Hip Hop matters

August 20, 2015


I know that the founding fathers of our great country did not see this coming… not at all… and perhaps they would be just as lost as many of us baby boomers are today in understanding and embracing the world of “Hip Hop.” It is not just the music; but it is a culture all to itself. I know what you are thinking and I am with you… as a baby boomer myself, I find it hard to put my hands around this new culture at times, its style, flavor and message…and that is putting it mildly. What began as an organic cultural expression that has its roots in other music genres of African Americans including slave songs, Negro spirituals, blues, ragtime, jazz, boogie woogie, rhythm and blues, doo-wop, rock and roll, soul, funk, and disco, “Hip Hop” continues to evolve.

Just like the musical genres that preceded it, “Hip Hop” has become more than just a musical expression; it has become a way of life for a newer and younger generation. It has affected us all. What a phenomenon! Its growth and expansion has become so big that it has sparked a new movement and created a cultural shift that continues to shape and reshape the way things are viewed, marketed and remembered. It has changed our music, language, technology, dress codes and now generates more than $10 billion per year. Hip Hop is not just an African American thing; it has impacted the entire nation, future generations, but also the global community.

It has moved beyond its musical roots of rap, rhyming speech that is chanted, DJing/scratching, break dancing and graffiti writing. It has transformed into a dominant and ever increasingly lucrative lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that has sparked the creation of new industries within fashion, accessories, foods, hair styles, cars, houses and new technologies. For those who see this “Hip Hop” culture as a bad thing and at times some of it has been destructive, but I see something more…much more. Before this “Hip Hop” culture passes the torch to the next musical genre era… it has also becoming a movement that is inspiring people to vote, become active in civil rights, politics, economic development, better housing, expanded health care for all, improving the quality of education and most of all… it is helping to build some self-respect, self-esteem and self-worth.

It one thing to become rich from this moment in the movement… it’s another thing to help others to improve the quality of their lives before it ends. What do you think? Dr. Andrew Calhoun, can be contacted at andrewiiicalhoun@gmail.com, and Facebook. You can hear Dr. Calhoun each Sunday at Grace Fellowship Church, 3879 N. Port Washington Rd. Milwaukee 414-688-4964. The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the writer and not of the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper or NCON Communication, its staff or management. “Rebuilding Our Community” is a weekly column exclusive to the Milwaukee Times Weekly Newspaper.