By Jon Dunnemann
Over the course of the last thirty years, rap music and 'Hip Hop' culture has embodied a very rich set of socially grounded commitments based on life histories and social knowledge that easily gets communicated through behaviors, beliefs, affective expressions, experiences, language, priorities, clothing styles, unique symbols, and one's personal use of discretionary time.
Among the many possible concepts that readily come to mind are those first born out of the civil rights movement: freedom, justice, equality, empowerment, economic development, self-determination, perseverance, resilience, and spiritual transformation.
Within the urban setting today these dynamics have gained far greater influence on the actions of today's adolescents and young adults than the bygone threefold factors of family, school, and church. Do you think it possible that the next generation of inspired artists and rappers can purposefully orient youth's attention in the direction of common cause, humility, inclusiveness, interconnectedness, loving kindness, service to others, and environmental sustainability through both rap music and Hip Hop Culture? Or, will this likely require altogether new and emergent art forms?
Maybe if we were to take a moment to pause, take a long and panoramic look at all that we are surrounded by, and then meticulously identify and select the most durable materials needed we might find ourselves capable of erecting a more stable platform for the evolving acculturation of our youth.