Yes, I am guilty of dancing and bobbing my head to the lyrics of Hip-Hop that promotes violence, degrades women, and portrays material things as means of true success – not truly being aware of the impact such subliminal messages have on my life and the lives of millions of people throughout the world. But after an overwhelming experience last night, I made a decision to become more conscious about the things I expose my mind to.
Well, I guess you’re wondering what could have possibly happened to me last night that compelled me to say this? I went to a screening of the documentary, “Bling: A Planet Rock.” Can you imagine, living in the midst of a civil war fueled by rebels who use their country’s most precious resource (diamonds) in exchange for weapons to murder thousands of their men, women and children as a means of control? It’s unbelievable and surreal for some of us, who have never been exposed to such cruelty and devastation. And since we live in the “First” world, some may say that the atrocities faced by people in the third world may have no significance in or impact on our daily lives. In reality, they do. You may say, well how so? The answer is through the messages we send to others through the images we portray and the music we create. Unfortunately, commercial Hip-Hop is a prime example of that.
I don’t want to bash the entire Hip-Hop industry, but I can’t help but feel disgusted by the negative images portrayed by commercial Hip-Hop “superstars”, who are idolized by today’s youth – for what: their BLING, their music, their beautiful women and flashy clothes. I don’t understand. If you want to get a better understanding of what I am talking about, watch the film, because it depicts how the rebels in Sierra Leone used some of the most violent lyrics by Tu-Pac as the driving force to brutally slaughter their people with knives and machetes during a civil war that lasted ten years. Imagine that! And at the root of it all was the BLING – the country’s most powerful resource (DIAMONDS) sold in exchange for guns that robbed the country of its wealth.
I think we all need to open our eyes to human rights’ issues. Especially those of us who play an influential role in the lives of others – like our Hip-Hop “superstars.” We need to be more mindful of the messages we send out to the youth and set positive examples of the things they need to focus on in their own lives. It can’t always be about the “BLING,” as corny as that sounds.
We need to provide them with a promising future and teach them that education is the key to success. There is nothing more powerful than opening a book and gaining more knowledge. I know we all can’t solve the problems of the world, but it does begin, by thinking with a conscious mindset. Thus, allowing ourselves to experience things that will enlighten our lives and the lives of those around us. If you help one person, it makes a world of a difference.
Think with a higher conscience.