I'm going to preface this by saying: Don't comment here if you want to decry reverse racism, or some variation of why can't white people do that. This ain't the place for that.
I've got a problem with this discussion of appropriating hip hop culture. I've long had an issue with the more modern aspects of hip hop and that being of a minstrel show in and of itself and the propensity to pretend that social issues facing people of colour and women of culture is resolved so we can worship money and capitalism instead. I want to tell you about that problem before I get into Miley and Dodai.
In the beginning...there was hip hop. Hip hip is the dj, the art, the dancer, and the mc. It was an oral tradition that largely stemmed from blues and jazz with a healthy influence from spirituals (being the precursor to the blues). Hip hop borrowed heavily from these sources as well as poetry from some great minds out of the seventies black power movement. It was an expression of a culture oppressed and over looked. As hip hop developed new voices added themselves, new expressions. These voices painted a diverse landscape of the black American experiences. Be it country, city, poor, middle class. Be it political, soul-full, poetic. The style of clothes represented ones ideology and belief. We had a great many innovators in terms of rhythm, beat, vocal style, lyrical style, dance style, art style. We had many who created the world of hip hop the next generation of musical representation of a culture. Eventually we had new voices towards the late eighties, the so called gangster rap. Except it wasn't. Not really. It was a new perspective on the mosaic, a new true to life narrative of a world many of us were or were not connected to but could identify with. Could support as a struggle. Hip hop was dynamic, innovative, honest, joyful, and alive.
Then came the nineties. And hip hop died. It became a lucrative commodity. And it became homogenized, striped, and monetized. We had a bit of fun in the early years but by 1995 the main stream hip hop lost it soul. It began a descent into bamboozled territory. It became a parody of it's roots. Bitches and ho's, making it rain, MC's only, CREAM became the reality of hip hop and record execs wanted to sell one version and that version is palatable to a larger white audience. We lost the dancer, we lost the fashion, we lost the art and the dj. We lost essential elements. The diverse voice is still alive and underground. Part of me rejoices at that but part me is saddened.
And so I read the issues brought forward regarding Miley. And this ratchet culture. This culture of bitches and ho's and making it rain, this...this..I don't know what to call it. Is it celebrating have no opportunities, being barred from participation, having your voice stolen and being given no respect, no credibility, no support? I've read the articles and I feel disconnected from this. This concept of stealing the pain and applying it back to our selves? Owning the hurt and the misery. This reclamation. I don't know what to make of it sisters. I don't.
And so I read Dodai's post once again. I really enjoy her work on here and she is always worth a read. But I don't follow that either. IF today's hip hip is worth feeling slighted because others are appropriating it. I don't see it. These folks are stealing what we have framed. What we have allowed the executives to frame. Today's hip hop culture is not worth a damn thing. It is pop, pablum, a mockery of it's true identity.
So I cannot be upset. I cannot feel it. Because this hip hop is not worthy of defense or adoration or identification. This hip hop that people are gnashing their teeth about is not a real representative of the true image of diversity and artistry. If we gnash our teeth cannot we not gnash our teeth over this? Over the unchallenged death of the real hip hop? Cannot we not gnash our teeth over the conversion of hip hop as an intelligent, living, evolving creature of pain and beauty, joy and misery to what has become a puppetry of consumerism and at worst a minstrel show for the money?
I ask you what is the larger issue here. That some white girl didn't get it or that we haven't stood guard over it?
Alright, my lovelies. Let's throw down ;)