Beginning this weekend, there will be two celebrations of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – one on Saturday, Aug. 24 and another one on Aug. 28, the actual anniversary of the march.
Yet, I haven’t heard or seen much enthusiasm from the hip-hop community and began to wonder what it is going to take to bridge the gap between these two generations. While no one can argue the importance and significance of the original March, we may have to pull teeth to get this generation to participate wholeheartedly. Let’s examine why.
If you analyze many hip-hop songs, the content contains much of what each individual sees or interprets during their life experience. Many even fabricate or over exaggerate their experiences to emphasize their point. Listeners respond because they can relate to or vividly visualize the subject matter.
‘Prove it to me’
When it comes to the Civil Rights Movement, young people simply don’t see the benefit.
Hip-hop has a ‘prove it to me’ mentality. It is also suffers from an instant gratification syndrome. If we want to successfully connect the generations we have to present a transparent agenda that leads to direct and tangible results for everyone.
The hip-hop community analyzes through sharp lenses and is slow to trust anything that is presented by people who are considered outsiders. That is also why anyone who poses as hip-hop’s ally gets away like a fat rat.
Quality over quantity
I reached out to 24 Hours of Peace founder and hip-hop artist Hakim Green from Channel Live weighs in with his perspective, “Considering it’s the 50th anniversary of the March, it’s a shame that we aren’t more focused on it and haven’t risen to the level that inspired the original March. I don’t understand why our elders haven’t been galvanizing people to honor the 50th anniversary as soon as President Obama started his second term in office. The Million Man March for me was the commemorative event that carried the spirit of the March on Washington. Even though I can’t make it, I hope the outcome is quality over quantity, and the right people show up to Washington.”
Not in tune
When asked about the lack of interest in the hip-hop community, Hakim further emphasized that rap community, (not to be confused with the hip-hop community) is not in tune.
Another recording artist, P.S. Dot, said, “I appreciate and definitely respect it, (the 50th anniversary march) but there is so much that needs to be done. While we have a Black president in office, we still have incidents like Trayvon Martin with virtually the same response we had 50 years ago. Nothing. Personally, I feel like there needs to be a new avenue of protest. We in the hip-hop community need to know what is the next course of action.”
It seems like we still have some convincing to do.
Jineea Butler, founder of the Social Services of Hip Hop and the Hip Hop Union is an 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.