By Brother Salim Kujitawala
Since its beginning, Hip Hop culture has always played a role in major
issues that have affected the Black community here in America. In the early
1980's Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five produced the song, "The
Message." It spoke about poverty, unemployment and social injustice. In
1989 Hip Hop artists such as MC Lyte, Heavy D, Public Enemy and KRS1founded
"The Stop the Violence Movement." That movement went on to produce the Hip
Hop classic "Self-Destruction", which addressed the issue of Black on Black
crime. A few years later artists on the west coast produced "We're all in
the Same Gang.", which also spoke about crime in the Black community. In
more recent times the Hip Hop community has been involved in producing songs
for "September 11th" and in encouraging more young people to get involved
politically by voting. Now it is time for the Hip Hop community to get
involved in the Reparations Movement.
The Reparations Movement is an important issue that the Hip Hop community
should address for a couple of reasons. The Hip Hop community is trying to
mobilize young Black People to register to vote and it has done a great job.
However it is not just enough to register to vote. One must now what one is
voting for. Therefore if the Hip Hop community is going to move more young
Black People to vote, it must also educate them on the issues. The only
political issue that relevant to Black People today is the issue of
reparations. Reparations covers issues such as education, health care,
taxes and land.
An issue that Reparations also addresses that should be of particular
importance to the Hip Hop community is police brutality and the prison
system, because so many people of the Hip Hop generation are affected by it.
Police departments in cities such as N.Y. and Miami have or are forming "Hip
Hop Squads", to monitor Hip Hop artists. With the majority of Hip Hop
artists are Black, Latino and/or poor people; this can be considered a form
of "Racial and Economic Profiling." A Rave which is attended by
predominately white people, is known for its heavy drugs use, however it
does not have an entire police squad dedicated to it.
Hip Hop artists must realize that they have the power to influence people,
in particular young people, and can do it world wide. Hip Hop artists have
captured the ears, hearts and minds of people such as Bill Cosby, Bill
O'Reilly and even the United States Senate. Whether the medium is music,
movie, video magazine or clothing line everyone wants to experience Hip Hop.
With this type of impact, Hip Hop can help to advance the Reparations
Movement ten fold.
Hip Hop artists have a responsibility to produce music that is a balance to
the overabundance of party and sexually suggestive songs that are already
made. If Snoop can have people "dropping it like its hot" or if Nelly can
have our sisters "dropping down and getting their eagle on" then they can
drop a few tracks about reparations.
For more information on how to get involved in the Reparations Movement, one
can contact: The National Black United Front (NBUF) 12817 South Ashland
Calumet Park, Illinois 60827 Phone: (708) 389-9929 Fax: (708) 389-9819
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website nbufront.org. FORWARD
Brother Salim Kujitawala
P.O. Box 860133
Wahiawa HI 96786