Paste it in the head!


Sunday, June 25, 2006

The hip-hop generation is often maligned for embracing only crass commercial and superficial values: the bling of "ghetto fabulous" superstars with cash to burn, the rampant degradation of women, and the glorification of turf wars and gang violence. I wouldn't exactly call myself a rap afficionado or even a fan, but that narrow-minded approach to the music, the movement, and the culture really gets to me. Same with the attitudes toward rock or goth or heavy metal. Why aren't young people--especially teenagers--allowed to explore things that aren't mainstream? I know that when I was in junior high and high school, I totally got into the pop-punk scene, which wasn't really mainstream, and it wasn't about subjugation or witchcraft or whatever stereotypes the counterculture evokes. It was simply about finding something that agreed with who I was at the time--an angry, insecure, smart kid who needed an outlet that whatever was the mainstream music of the time didn't and couldn't fulfill.

The point of this diatribe actually has to do with the conference. Yesterday afternoon I attended a presentation called "From the Bronx to the Burbs," about including hip hop in libraries. The two presenters--there was supposed to be a third, the author of the book Why White Kids Love Hip Hop but he had to cancel because he was sick--were young women who grew up with hip hop culture and wanted to include it in their professional careers as librarians. They talked a little bit about the history of hip hop, which I read about in Can't Stop Won't Stop. The history of the movement or culture or whatever is pretty interesting--it turns out that hip hop isn't all about women ("wimmin"), money and drugs. The audience at the lecture (the room was completely full and wasn't only young people, as I sort of thought it would be) was interested in learning how to draw in kids who relate to hip hop, and also about preserving local hip hop culture in their towns.

I really enjoyed the presentation. I love small, community movements that people can't help but get involved in. Most movements that have changed the world have come from the people, which is why it's so important to keep people informed--in their lives, in their communities, they are the ones who can effect change, and I try to always remember that when we're informed we can do anything.


  • there's a quote by margaret mead:

    "never doubt that a small group of comitted individuals can change the world; indeed, its the only thing that ever has."

    I'm sure that is not exact, but that was the gist of it. i used it in a speech in elementary school, but i still think it apt.

    By Blogger al, at 12:09 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home