Last month Congress unanimously passed a bill designating Aug. 11 as “Hip Hop Celebration Day,” August 2021 as “Hip Hop Recognition Month,” and November 2021 as “Hip Hop History Month.”
It only took like 50 years, an entire culture to shift and Cardi B to finally mint the genre in its rightful place.
You know how they say that the technology the military uses is like 20 years ahead and we civilians will see it much later because that’s just how it works, I kind of get the feeling that’s sort of how culture works within Congress. Like it’s a huge game of telephone and then finally they’re like oooh this is good?
Either way, it’s nice to see our beloved hip hop being recognized in the country it came from.
If you didn’t know that hip hop came from the U.S. then you’ve gotta read this next part.
It all started in a musty rec room in 1973 by DJ Kool Herc and his sister, Cindy Campbell. This was the invitation, what an aesthetic huh.
There were b-boys and b-girls, MCs and DJs, the whole thing was probably such a great time. I mean it had to be, considering it’s now a nationally recognized event.
Rightfully so, according to Statista, since 2019 Hip-Hop/Rap has dominated the share of album consumption in the U.S. by a fairly large margin; one that is not slowing down anytime soon.
Moreover, BuzzAngle Music’s latest report shows that 6 out of the top 10 biggest streaming tracks of 2019 were from hip-hop/rap artists who are also responsible for making up more than half of the Top 100 artists chart.
One of the resolutions to the bill “encourages local governments in the United States to build partnerships with local Hip Hop entities and other members of the creative arts and music communities.”
While CNN would call most of this a feckless attempt at resolving race issues, I think it’s kinda neat.
This doesn’t mean the public shuts up about injustice, we deserve to have our voices heard; hip hop stands to be a great conversation starter, just look at Lil Nas X.
The way the public will take this news is up to them, but the way the hip-hop community responds will be a great testament to how far it is willing to push the boundary of inclusivity and culture.
The resolution also states that it “encourages Senators to plan appropriate activities that support the objective of the original “Back to School Jam.”
For the “Back to School Jam’s” 40th anniversary, Rebecca Laurence of the BBC wrote an article in which she interviews award-winning author Jeff Chang on his book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation.
Chang gives an important quote I’d like to share, “Hip hop did not start as a political movement, there was no manifesto. The kids who started it were simply trying to find ways to pass the time, they were trying to have fun. But they grew up under the politics of abandonment and because of this, their pastimes contained the seeds for a kind of mass cultural renewal.”
The reason I bring this quote up is that I think it’s important to remember what the goal was for hip-hop; to have fun and express your identity, frustration, dreams, etc. through words.
“They created value out of races and places that had seemed to offer only devastation,” says Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of African American Studies at Harvard University in the article.
What I hope this leads to is taking hip-hop and rap more seriously in this country. For too long it’s held a stigma associated with denigrating someone or something. But now, hopefully, we can see a change in the way we think about it and use it. Maybe we can finally see some real hip-hop/rap classes being taught in schools.
Happy Hip Hop month!