Giving a person "one mic" signifies an ethical movement toward others, of demonstrating a profound respect for the interiority of the lives of others. Giving "one mic" is an invitation that suggests the power of a single voice. Using "one mic" involves risk. Using "one mic" is a call to the other. Yet, it does not presume that the person with the "mic" can speak for all those who have been marginalized or deemed the subaltern. In fact, "one mic" says that you can speak for yourself. The metaphor of "one mic" is a source of empowerment. Through this "one mic," rap--through its aesthetics of freestyle--provides a venue through which one is able to free associate, improvise, and thereby maximize the potential to unblock repressed pain and existential angst, the opportunity to address levels of anguish previously unrecognized, to bring to the surface feelings previously denied. The "mic" encourages a person to find his/her voice and to articulate issues that are important in order to flourish and to promote self-awareness.
- Therapeutic Uses of Rap and Hip Hop, edited by Susan Hadley and George Yancy
Giving a person "one mic" is a huge reparation against a backdrop wall covering spattered with traces of slavery, indentured servitude, Jim Crow laws, institutional racism, discriminatory incarceration, and economic inequality and poverty. However, it is not a complete solution to the divided life that continues to be experienced by the majority of black Americans living in the United States. Therefore, the question that continues to loom large for me is this, what process must one begin to undergo to avoid becoming broken, further disenfranchised or more deeply impoverished in spirit either as a result of a continuing perceived oppression or as the result of possible internal self-neglect?
"What you need to change is your experience." - The Book of Not Knowing, author Peter Ralston