In class we focused on race and hip hop. We spoke about whether or not Hip Hop was a representation of Black/ African American culture. I looked online for different articles about race in Hip Hop, and I came across an interesting one called, "How Hip Hop has improved race relations". In this article, Steve Stoute suggests that Hip Hop helps break down racial barriers. He suggests that Hip Hop has changed a generation of people from trying to identify differences in each other to instead trying to find similarities.
I am no too sure if I can agree 100% with this article. He is implying that Hip Hop has helped decrease racism, which is true to a certain extent, but it hasn't really helped much. Hip Hop is looked at by a mass of people as a representation of African Americans. It is often associated with negative stereotypes of the black community. A study done by Carrie B. Fried proved this to be true. Participants were given violent lyrics and were led to believe that it was from either a country or rap song. They were then asked to determine how negative and violent the songs were. The rap song with the same exact lyrics as the country song was viewed as more aggressive and violent which depicts the idea of rap music being associated with negative perceptions of the Black Community.
Hip Hop artists, like mentioned in Stoute’s article, make "lifestyles" around products which is not always a good thing. For instance, the juxtaposition of baggy clothes in music videos with drug dealers and gangsters foster a negative lifestyle association with those types of clothing. This seemingly results in boys with baggy clothes being viewed as gangsters or drug dealers by ignorant people; which could explain In PART, the many racial crimes that occur because of racial profiling, like the Trayvon Martin case, and countless others. So while Hip Hop may transcend barriers across races for the younger generation, it also helps feed into the ignorance of many others.
We were asked in class if we believed Hip Hop was a representation of the Black Community. At first my answer was no, but now I believe that Hip Hop is a representation for the black community in the eyes of ignorant people, who rather not venture out and for themselves to see what the black community is like. Instead they rely on the media, and the characters that are portrayed in Music Videos and, or Black Movies.