The Weekend was slow. I did some homework, slept, cleaned my room and did some shopping. And I watched lots of QI episodes (a UK quiz show).
In the two articles I read by Danny Hoch and Afrika Bambaataa, both men explain the origins of Hip-Hop, what it means and how it has changed. In my initial response, I focused on the cultural and geographical origins of Hip-Hop that were in the texts but not necessarily the people responsible for the beginning of Hip-Hop. At the time that I analyzed these papers, I had no knowledge of who Afrika Bambaataa was or why he was relevant or was so important that he had to be interviewed. I had only been exposed to the Hip-Hop that I had grown up with in the 1990s throughout to today. With the help of class discussions and the Hip-Hop Remix project, I began to understand how it began.
In my initial critical, I understand through the texts that “Hip-Hop has been influenced by many cultures such as those from African and the Caribbean Islands as well as those from South America.” The origin of this may have come from Dj Kool Herc, who was born and raised in Jamaica during most of his childhood until he came to America and began his life in the South Bronx, hence where the Caribbean influence of Hip-Hop may have come from. With the many ethnicities that were in the Bronx at the time that Kool Herc began his musical movement, such as those of African and Hispanic descent, their musical practices may have been immersed into Hip-Hop.
So why is Afrika Bambaataa so important to be interviewed? This is because like Kool Herc, he is also deemed one of the forefathers of Hip-Hop. With DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash, they form the “Trinity” of Hip-Hop and Afrika Bambaataa has left his footprint in the history of Hip-Hop and shaped it as well. Before this critical response, I knew very little about what Hip-Hop was comprised of and throughout the semester and all the research and projects we had done as a class, I began to understand these articles much more.
Although I agree and understand what I wrote during my first look at the texts, I can see that the critical response I wrote had very little background knowledge but now that I do, I see where Hoch and Bambaataa are coming from. Hip-Hop came from a time of devastation and strife which shaped it for artists as they expressed their emotions and life situations. It is why Hip-Hop changes; the way it is expressed and why it is.
In this text, McIntosh explains how White Privilege has been apparent in her life and how she had been taught not to acknowledge white privilege in her life but to treat herself as “morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal” so as to seem as the good race when influencing them to be more them and they believe they will benefit others.
In some of the daily effects of White Privilege, I related to some of them but they were not just isolated to “White” privilege but to privilege in general. What is privilege? In this article, the audience looks at those with privilege as those whose were once where or are the dominant party. This may be in terms of wealth, social status, level of authority or level of oppression. In the effects, McIntosh believes that they “work systematically to over empower certain groups.” In this case, privilege is in terms of level of authority or of oppression and further deals with who are the minorities too.
In terms of White Privilege compared to Black people, we can look at history, which shows colonization of Black people in the form of occupation of their land, abduction and resettlement through the Slave Trade and overall lack of civil rights. Although these practices have been abolished, they have left a irremovable stain on the societies of the world and echo privilege to White people who, in McIntosh’s article, seem to avoid acknowledging it as a subconscious way to forget mistakes of the past. As a Black women, I am deemed as the most unprivileged through society as the world has been infamously been patriarchal and caucasian – influenced throughout history and as I stated earlier, I could relate to the effects of White Privilege but the effects listed in the article could be used for anyone who is the minority in any situation.
Privilege is something that can affect everyone of races and background and can be earned or not or presumed but we must not just accept the privilege and stay silent if we can see it. We must learn to discuss it.
In Smitherman’s reading, she shares her earlier experiences with the education system and how her pronunciation as a black person failed her in a speech test. She focuses on how as a young child she grew up in a black community with similar speech patterns and although her community did not speak the “standard American English,” she and her fellow peers were still successful in their academics as her teachers were also black and so they would communicate with the same “Black English.” When she moved with her family from Tennessee to Chicago then Detroit, she describes her new educational experience as the “first taste of linguistic pedagogy for the Great Unwashed;” comparing her dialect as undesirable and misunderstood by the White American English speakers or the “Washed.”
In the reading, she explores why this is so through research and the work of others like Woodson, Fanon and others where in Woodson’s work, he echoes the ridicule that people had for the Negro dialect rather than understanding of where it originated! Fanon explores this deeper, focusing not only on the oppression of Black people by White people but all colonized people by colonizing powers as whole stating,
“Every colonized people – in other words, every people in whose soul an Inferiority complex has been created by the death and burial of its local cultural originality – finds itself face to face with the language of the civilizing nation; that is, with the culture of the mother country.”
When I read this article, I could relate very much to much Geneva Smitherman had gone through and what she was writing as I was not born a First Language English Speaker but because Zimbabwe was once the British Colony Southern Rhodesia, many practices in schools and outside of the academic system revolve around British way of life. Because of that, I had to learn to speak British English as a First Language English Speaker and neglect my mother tongue, Shona, greatly. In much of society past and present, the excepted linguistic dialects have been decided by those in power and so the alteration of the language of those oppressed has not just been a way to assimilate them into the dominant power’s culture but a reminder that the opposed will stay oppressed.
Project: Old School vs New School Hip-Hop
Citation: Chang, Jeff (contributions by D.J. Kool Herc). “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation.” Macmillan, 2007.
Here was the unreconstructed South-the South Bronx, a spectacular set of ruins, a mythical wasteland, an infectious disease, and, as Robert Jensen observed,”a condition of poverty and social collapse, more than a geographical place.” Through the 1960s, the Bronx’s prefix was merely descriptive of the borough’s southernmost neighborhoods, like Mott Haven and Longwood. But now most of New York City north of 110th Street was reimagined as a new kind of “South,” a global south just a subway ride away. Even Mother Teresa, Patron saint of the world’s poor, made an unannounced pilgrimage.”
What Strikes Me The Most:
In this excerpt and the background leading up to it, journalist Jeff Chang illustrates the atmosphere that Hip-Hop started to grow. The Bronx had deteriorated to a grave and depressing point and tension from the people that continued to live there had distinguished itself in a new form of segregation as we can see in this excerpt. Instead of having many little areas within the Bronx with very little interaction, the southernmost neighborhood’s had interconnected and became almost one area in times of strife, and the birth of “hood culture.” I can see through the alarming times of the Bronx being under fire that as the “new South” was forming, this may have led to the development of new social practices and ways to channel their frustration of dealing with the extreme poverty (recognized by Mother Teresa) and other hardships within the Bronx
In Alim’s article, “Bring it to the Cypher”, we explore the Hip-Hop Nation Language (HHNL) and Black Language (BL) and the relationship that these two have together. Many people assume that HHNL and BL are inaccurate in terms of the way they are spoken or written as they are usually compared to the English Language. This is not true. The nature of the languages has stemmed from the rich cultures of the Caribbean and of Africa, further being transformed and reconstructed in areas such as Brooklyn, New York and Detroit, Michigan to name a couple.
This article definitely changed my perception of the Hip-Hop and African-American Languages as I also assumed that, in many phrases, there was an incorrect usage of the words and a sense of confusion but as I learnt how many words and phrases are altered and enhanced with HHNL and BL, they convey a new message with a different meaning such as the following excerpt which illustrates how HHNL and BL would be instead of Standard English:
“You lose flavor. You lose the slang. You lose the basic everyday kickin it, you know, knowing what’s going on at all times, you know what I’m saying? Knowing the new names for ” 5-0s” . They ain’t even 5-0s no more! They call them “po-pos”. That means everything changes. And they call them “one-time”, you know what I’m saying? But you got to be in there to know that the police might know these words already. So they got to change up their dialect so that way it sounds like Pig Latin to the police.
(Spady et al. 1999: 308)
In my literacy assignment, I shall be exploring Hip-hop and its history as well as its evolution. Some of the questions I have to answer are as follows: How did Hip-Hop begin and what were its distinguishing qualities then? What were the four elements of Hip-Hop and how, if at all, did they change? What are the distinguishing qualities of New School Hip-Hop? What are the differences and similarities between Old School and New School Hip-Hop? As I research, I believe I will have more questions and hopefully, I will answer them.