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NativeSon
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Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 11:47 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

We Are The Post Hip-Hop Generation
by M.K. ASANTE, JR.

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle (Feb 7, 2005)

The "hip-hop generation," a tag customarily attached to blacks born after the civil-rights movement, may have once captured the essence of the rebellious, politically discontent twenty-somethings of the 1980s and '90s, but not today.

With rapper/producer Kanye West recently amassing eight Grammy nominations, there is no doubt that hip-hop is an integral part of global pop culture. Global -- as opposed to American or black -- because, like scores of other innovations and phenomena that emerge from the black community, it has helped to shape the perceptions of people, especially young ones, all over the world. Although contemporary images often reinforce negative stereotypes, hip-hop was able to successfully break through a slew of music-industry barriers and bring many talented voices into the mainstream -- voices that had previously barely been heard and never listened to.

Hip-hop, like the black musical forms that preceded it, cannot, because of its cultural context, be looked at in a vacuum. To observe hip-hop then, is to observe the aesthetics, attitudes and ideologies of its progenitors as well. That understood, and with today's hip-hop boasting problems loud enough to drown out even the most seductive samples, the urgency for redefinition by a new generation couldn't be more evident.

The current crisis isn't just that rap, hip-hop's central asset, has drifted into the shallowest pool of lyrical possibilities, or that the latest version of hip-hop betrays the attitudes and ideals that framed it. It's that many young blacks who allegedly belong to the "hip-hop generation," feel misrepresented by it and have begun to realize the limitations of being defined by a musical genre -- a misogynistic, homophobic and violent one to boot. All of this against the ambivalent backdrop of globalization and the fog of a new war has led us to a generational tipping point, the moment when a dramatic shift is more than a possibility; it's a certainty.

The term "post hip-hop" describes a period of time -- now -- of great transition for a new generation of black youths in search of a deeper understanding of themselves in a context outside of the hip-hop monopoly. Post hip-hop is an assertion that encapsulates my generation's broad range of abilities and ideas and incorporates recent social advances (i.e., the women's movement, gay rights) that hip-hop has refused to acknowledge or respect.

Post hip-hop is not about the death of rap, but rather the birth of a new movement propelled by a paradigm shift that can be felt in the crowded spoken-word joints in North Philadelphia, the krump-dance dance-offs in Compton, and on a tattered stoop on a corner of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn where Rashard Lloyd, a high school senior grumbles when I ask him, "what does hip-hop mean to you?" After a moment of contemplation, he makes clear, "hip-hop don't speak to or for me."

While Lloyd's attitude may surprise most of us who mistake the ring tones, reality shows and glossy ad campaigns as indicators of hip-hop's dominance, it shouldn't. According to "The U.S. Urban Youth Market: Targeting the Trendsetters," a study conducted by research and analysis firm Packaged Facts, black youths like Lloyd "possess an overriding desire to remain outside of the mainstream." Claire Madden, vice president of marketing for Market Research, parent company of Packaged Facts, says that once "there is a perception from urban youth that these manufacturers are ignoring their origins ... they are named sell-outs and it is only a matter of time before they fall."

The commercialism of hip-hop, which has resulted in a split from those it's supposed to represent, is not new. In fact, it goes, in part, by the same name: hip. Just as the hip-hop generation was charged by rap, the hip era of the 1950s and '60s was fueled by jazz. In hip's case, and the same is true for hip-hop, Scott Saul, professor of English at UC Berkeley, points out that "it moved from a form of African-American and bohemian dissent to become the very language of the advertising world, which took hip's promise of authenticity, liberation and rebellion and attached it to the act of enjoying whatever was on sale at the moment."

No one knows what will be next, or if my generation will sell it. However, the post hip-hop ethos allows the necessary space for new ideas and expressions to be born free from the minstrel show that is modern hip-hop.

Post hip-hop is not about music, per se, although the music that is and will be created functions as a kind of soundtrack to a fresh set of attitudes, ideas and perspectives. Art, not just music, is fundamental to the post hip-hop development, as art possesses the remarkable ability to change not only what we see, but how we see.

The late Martinican writer, Frantz Fanon, once said, "each generation, out of relative obscurity, must discover their destiny and either fulfill or betray it." The post hip-hop generation must fully engage in exploration, challenge and discovery -- acts that will result in a revelation of contemporary truths that will help define us, and in turn, the world.

M.K. Asante, Jr. is the author of the books "Beautiful. And Ugly Too" (Africa World Press, 2005) and "Like Water Running Off My Back" (Africa World Press, 2002). He wrote and produced the film "500 Years Later" and is completing his masters of fine arts at UCLA.
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Schakspir
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Post Number: 168
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Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 12:20 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

M. K. Asante Jr. is right to reject hip-hop. Unfortunately, he isn't very bright. The women's movement and gay movement began long before hip-hop was even dreamed of.

And WHY does he have to use all this silly obfuscating jargon just to get his point across??
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Cynnique
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Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 01:15 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What a well-written, incisive article. Its message inpired me with hope for the younger generation.
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Cynnique
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Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 04:27 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Shakespir, I do agree that the author's reference to both the woman's and gay movement could be described in no lesser term than "naiveness". I have found that so many kids today aren't aware that what's new to them is old to others. As for his obfuscation, I guess the guy had to add filler to fulfill a word count.
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Schakspir
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Post Number: 172
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Posted on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 - 06:25 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yeah, sounds reasonable, seeing that it was published in the S.F. Chronicle. Another way for writers to get over nowadays.

But other than those flaws, it's good to see young folks turning their back on hip-slop sexually insecure minstrelsy.
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gunit
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Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 05:03 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

schakspir,
you're obviously not familiar w/ this young man. If you were, you would have never said this: "he's isn't very bright." Do your homework, homie.
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Tonya
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Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 05:57 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The women's movement and gay movement has only recently taken off in the black community. I think that's what he was talking about. It's been around a long time for whites but embracing gay rights is new for black folks and is currently only being done by the younger generations of blacks, similarly for women's rights.

What I found most interesting about the article, though, was this:

According to "The U.S. Urban Youth Market: Targeting the Trendsetters," a study conducted by research and analysis firm Packaged Facts, black youths like Lloyd "possess an overriding desire to remain outside of the mainstream." Claire Madden, vice president of marketing for Market Research, parent company of Packaged Facts, says that once "there is a perception from urban youth that these manufacturers are ignoring their origins ... they are named sell-outs and it is only a matter of time before they fall."

The commercialism of hip-hop, which has resulted in a split from those it's supposed to represent, is not new. In fact, it goes, in part, by the same name: hip. Just as the hip-hop generation was charged by rap, the hip era of the 1950s and '60s was fueled by jazz. In hip's case, and the same is true for hip-hop, Scott Saul, professor of English at UC Berkeley, points out that "it moved from a form of African-American and bohemian dissent to become the very language of the advertising world, which took hip's promise of authenticity, liberation and rebellion and attached it to the act of enjoying whatever was on sale at the moment."

______________


I agree 100%.

I stopped listening to hip-hop years ago, precisely for that reason
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Felix
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Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 06:20 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tonya what did you think about Kola Boof's assertions about hip hop? Was it really a holocaust? Isn't that overstating it just mildly?

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Tonya
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Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 07:32 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My girl Kola and I do not totally agree on hip hop. So yes. I think it was a bit of an overstatement. And you know she was killing me with that paragraph about Mary J. Blige, right?? LOL. But as I was reading, I thought to myself how Kola would be telling me at that very moment to write my own goddamn book if I didn't like what she had to say. Well.... Why on the very next page did she write "if you don't appreciate. . .write your own goddamned book!" ...LOL

So you know I was laughing my A$$ off after that. Too funny.
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Schakspir
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Post Number: 174
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Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 08:13 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"The women's movement and gay movement has only recently taken off in the black community. I think that's what he was talking about. It's been around a long time for whites but embracing gay rights is new for black folks and is currently only being done by the younger generations of blacks, similarly for women's rights."

Not true. The white feminist movement took its inspiration from what black women had done BEFORE white women. It was black women who spoke out for equal rights between men and women (e.g., Ida B. Wells) before most white women did. And of course, the white gay movement drew a lot of ITS inspiration from black gays--in fact, the Stonewall Riot of '69 was largely ignited by black drag queens. Also, the Harlem Renaissance was largely homosexual(Langston, Countee Cullen, Bruce Nugent, etc.).

And did you forget about James Baldwin, who was out publicly when most white gays felt it safe to stay "in?" Remember Giovanni's Room?

White liberals are just like white conservatives in that they try to write black folk out of the historial record.
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Tonya
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Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 12:46 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Shakspir, we're talking about people who are of the the hip hop mindset.. mainly working class average black folks. Yes, I know of James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room" and I also know that artist such as legendary blues singers sung about lesbianism proudly; that there were clubs frequented by gay, lesbian, and other patrons; and that shortly after reconstruction, it was those kinda folks (working poor, dirt poor, working class blacks) who adopted gay/lesbianisnm into their subculture, without attaching stigma to it. But if you recall, the black middle-class, (who were adamant in their stance that being accepted by whites through "respectability" was the only way the black community outta go) instructed the masses (via christianity and other social controllers) to adhere to behaviors and sexual practices that were thought to be appropriate. In doing this, the black middle-class set the tone among blacks, regarding gay/lesbianism, for decades.

Even in 1956 when Balwin's Giovanni's Room was published, the tone set forth by the middle class had become the norm. By the late sixties through the seventies and especially through the eighties, brutal assaults replaced the hatred arisen from the notion of "respectability" and spawned a violent form of homophobia within urban settings. It was only when authors like bell hooks, and then later on, E. Lynn Harris, came along did middle-class urban dwellers like myself started taking issues such as gay rights and women's rights seriously.

When you take that into account and then look at the context in which ASANTE makes his claim: "Post hip-hop is an assertion {or as he also defined "a period of time"} that encapsulates my generation's broad range of abilities and ideas and incorporates recent social advances (i.e., the women's movement, gay rights). . ."

it becomes clear what meant.
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Schakspir
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Post Number: 176
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Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 04:06 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Shakspir, we're talking about people who are of the the hip hop mindset.. mainly working class average black folks. Yes, I know of James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room" and I also know that artist such as legendary blues singers sung about lesbianism proudly; that there were clubs frequented by gay, lesbian, and other patrons; and that shortly after reconstruction, it was those kinda folks (working poor, dirt poor, working class blacks) who adopted gay/lesbianisnm into their subculture, without attaching stigma to it. But if you recall, the black middle-class, (who were adamant in their stance that being accepted by whites through "respectability" was the only way the black community outta go) instructed the masses (via christianity and other social controllers) to adhere to behaviors and sexual practices that were thought to be appropriate. In doing this, the black middle-class set the tone among blacks, regarding gay/lesbianism, for decades.

Even in 1956 when Balwin's Giovanni's Room was published, the tone set forth by the middle class had become the norm. By the late sixties through the seventies and especially through the eighties, brutal assaults replaced the hatred arisen from the notion of "respectability" and spawned a violent form of homophobia within urban settings. It was only when authors like bell hooks, and then later on, E. Lynn Harris, came along did middle-class urban dwellers like myself started taking issues such as gay rights and women's rights seriously.

When you take that into account and then look at the context in which ASANTE makes his claim: "Post hip-hop is an assertion {or as he also defined "a period of time"} that encapsulates my generation's broad range of abilities and ideas and incorporates recent social advances (i.e., the women's movement, gay rights). . ."

it becomes clear what meant."

Of course, the black bourgeoisie has always lagged behind culturally and ideologically speaking(they opposed, for the most part, and in varying degrees, all of the progressive movements of the 20th century). They never really liked jazz, the blues, gospel, not to mention the sexual revolution, black power movement, etc.

One reason why hip-hop frequently remains so ignorant is that it is ideologically and culturally influenced by black bourgeois thinking(on the one hand) and the jailhouse/gang mentality(on the other).
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Tonya
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Post Number: 1789
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Posted on Monday, February 13, 2006 - 08:04 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"One reason why hip-hop frequently remains so ignorant is that it is ideologically and culturally influenced by black bourgeois thinking(on the one hand) and the jailhouse/gang mentality(on the other)."


That's true.

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