I battled for a long time to work out why I wanted to agree with this article but couldn’t whole heartedly. I think I’ve figured it out.
It’s not about these artists speaking out. To be frank I don’t need to know Miley’s thoughts on Ferguson anymore than I need to know Ja Rule’s thoughts on 9/11 (Chappelle Reference). The real problem can be summarised by the phrase:
“Black culture is popular, black people are not”
It’s all well and good getting involved with hip hop for the clothes, jewels and the turnup but if you don’t know the struggle, leave hip hop alone.
To take hip hop without the struggle is to only love your spouse when it’s convenient. Love is made for the hard times and hip hop was made for the struggle…even the party records.
Hip hop isnt just a sound, a dance style or dress sense you can co-opt for the sake of fashion, it’s a collective consciousness that expresses itself through these outlets. Using it as fashion is the perfect way to enjoy its fruits whilst being distinctly uninvested in its toil.
Justin Bieber can put on his thug bravado but he wont get treated like Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown. When the police come for him, it will not be 6 officers, an illegal chokehold and a lack of accountability. He cannot speak to what the original purveyors of hip hop understand and that is in truth, the problem at hand.