Saturday, January 31, 2009

Reppin' for "Rap" arations

Reppin' for "Rap"arations:
Survivin' tha Hip Hop Holocaust

Paul Scott

"But then again I got a story that's harder than the hardcore cost of the holocaust. I'm talking about the one still goin' on. "

Can't Trust it-Public Enemy

I turned on the TV one evening just in time to catch the middle of a rant by an irate reporter fussin' about how something or another was the worst atrocity to happen to mankind. I thought that baby girl was about to have a total mental meltdown as she passionately argued about people in tha hood dying because of years of being abused and how that it was time for decent Americans to stand up and demand amends...I was just beginning to think that white America finally got it and they were about to apologize for the horrors of the 400 year treatment of African people in this country. But naw, she wasn't talking about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, she was just sharing her gripes about Hip Hop...

Every since the media found out that Hip Hop CD sales were down a few years back and their cash cow was finally running out of milk, there have been numerous shows about the "evil empire" of Hip Hop and how it is destroying the moral fabric of this country (as if a country built on slavery and cotton picking had any moral fabric to start with) . Talking heads from Paula Zahn to Anderson Cooper transformed themselves into hip Hip Hop historians, like they were really walking around in 1982 with boom boxes and Kangols.

The Don Imus comments of 2007 only added fuel to the fire of anti-hiphopism, as the culture was now the reason for racism. But if Hip Hop is really the scourge of society that white America claims that it is, then shouldn't somebody, somewhere be breaking a brotha off a lil somethin'?

It is time that we hit the entertainment industry up for some "Rap"arations.

While some folks who have dedicated their lives to securing compensation for the descendants of our enslaved ancestors may consider this statement almost sacrilegious, there is a strong connection between the two struggles. Just as our ancestors were stolen from Africa and exploited by slave traders, Hip Hop was stolen from Africans in America and exploited by CEO's of major corporations. Our failure to teach our young people about this correlation has been one of the major drawbacks in our addressing the Hip Hop dilemma. Our children have no knowledge of the complexity of the Black liberation struggle, so when we use words like "mentacide", "colonialization" and Maafa, we might as well be talking Greek instead of Swahili.

Our people, in general, also lack a thorough knowledge of history so it is impossible for many to conceptualize the scope and severity of the Maafa and that impedes their ability to connect the dots between the past and the present. However, with a knowledge of our history one would be hard pressed to ignore the relationship between the atrocities of 1619 and the condition in which we find ourselves in 2009.

Either the Hip Hop Holocaust is part of the legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (Maafa) or just another phase of a holocaust that never really ended. Even the most hard core Hip Hop head cannot deny the fact that the corporate exploitation of Hip Hop has had a devastating on African people world wide. From the gun shots flying through hoods across the country courtesy of impressionable young Brotha's who think that killing a Black man is a rites of passage in St. Louis to the five year old Sista in South Philly who thinks that all she will ever be is someone's bitch to Brotha's and Sista's in Sierra Leone who think that "nigger" is a universal term of endearment based on the bootleg CD's that took the round (middle passage) trip back across the Atlantic, our people are suffering while white men in business suits get rich.

We demand "Rap"arations!

While the major focus of the demand for "Rap"arations will be, of course, focused on the entertainment industry, in reality, there are many people "eatin" off not only the exploitation of Hip Hop but also the death and destruction in the Black community. From the malt liquor companies who used rappers to push their "genocide in a bottle" (40 oz Malt Liquor) in the 90's to the blood diamond merchants on the African continent making millions from tha bling, they all owe us "Rap"arations.

Even the clothing companies who have made young Black children think that in order to be hip, they have to wear $200 sneakers that cost $12.50 to make are liable. How many young Brotha's and Sista's are in the grave right now because they refused to give up the $400 jacket to a stick up kid who just had to have it?

Time to pay the piper!

The argument that many white folks keep parroting for not paying reparations is that "no one alive now has suffered from slavery." This is not true in the case for "Rap"arations, as there are victims of the Hip Hop Holocaust in 'hoods across the planet, from the mother of three trying to make it on her own while her man does a 20 year bid to the father who saw his son take his last breath courtesy of a drive by from a Brotha who was acting out a rap video. We have all been touched.

Give it up or turn it loose!

The black community should demand "Rap" arations from the Fortune 500 companies that have made their fortunes from the suffering of African people. The victims of the Hip Hop Holocaust should contact the mega corporations like Viacom, Universal, EMI, Time Warner etc to demand that they issue former apologies (admissions of guilt) for the role that they have played in the destruction of the black family. These corporations should give substantial reparations to health, education and other social programs to help remedy the damage that they have created.

This is 2009 and we ain't talkin' about 40 acres and mules, we're talking youth programs and schools.

Paul Scott writes for No Warning Shots He can be reached at (919) 451-8283