Hip Hop And The Minority Culture

2037 words - 9 pages

Positive Effects
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” It is not a mystery that minorities were oppressed throughout the history of the United States. In 1990 70% of African Americans and Hispanics in their mid to late twenties held a high school diploma or higher compared to the 86% that their white counterparts achieved. The disparities were obvious throughout the decade. The hip-hop culture gave minorities a voice and a realm to express themselves. There were always minorities who experienced the same lives as the majority of America did, but hip hop mainly spoke to those ...view middle of the document...

Many minorities became united for a common cause especially when the Afrocentric nature of hip-hop was displayed throughout the 1990’s. Artist like Lauryn Hill and Jeru The Damaja spoke of empowering minorities, blacks especially, rather than embracing the self-destructive nature of other minorities. Artists did not preach, they simply established positive morals in a way that was understandable to minorities. This made their audience more receptive because the artists were not being judgmental like other figures in society tended to be. Even those artists who spoke of violence did not do so in a way that advocated for it; they just told the truths that were present and recognizable by minorities. This was remarkable because they did not attempt to lie and sugar coat the circumstances that minorities faced in their lives. Aren’t politicians supposed to be the representatives of the people? If so, then the entire hip hop culture was like a politician who lacked corrupt tendencies. The only reason hip hop lasted until the 1990’s was because it worked for the people. It was not a fad that would easily fade away with the evolution of a generation; it was unique because it evolved along with the people who it represented. Hip hop became the culture of minorities, whether they realized it or not, because it was a portrayal of the minority struggle in the United States. The 1990’s embodied a different type of hip hop than that of the late 1970’s and 1980’s. The hip hop being made throughout most of those decades was playful, but the 1990’s bought hip hop that was more relatable than ever before.
Negative Effects
Since its humble beginnings, the hip hop culture has always been associated with a negative connotation. It was created by people who were seen as inferior to mainstream American and the emergence of gangster rap in the late 1980’s did not help improve the image of the hip hop culture. Many would argue that hip hop music, ganger rap especially, caused people to commit acts of violence. While the music did not advocate violence, it sometimes glorified violent actions, which may have made the “gangster lifestyle” seem appealing to minorities. I would argue the fact that violence has always been present amongst minorities and it was due to the environment many minorities lived in. Hip hop did cause some minorities to become disillusioned about the realities of a life of crime. They saw some of their favorite rappers speaking on crime and violence and in some case the audience may have idolized this mentality. Hip hop also caused many stereotypes of minorities to be created in the 1990’s because the majority population of the United States sometimes chose to view all people who shared the general hip hop culture as criminals. These people overlooked two important factors; hip hop has always been based on entertainment and, to a certain degree, truth. Stereotypes were created when the boundary between entertainment and truth became too hard to...

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