The Black Consciousness of Hip Hop Chart: A Teaching Tool for Teens
The Black Consciousness of Hip Hop chart is used to draw a straight line from Marcus Garvey to some of the most popular and successful rappers in Hip Hop today.
Responsible rappers have taught the knowledge that has been passed down to us via Garveyites and Black nationalist movements. Garvey taught about Africa, embracing a true version of Christ, Black pride, our contributions as the original people of the planet and more. Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X were exposed to these teachings and taught them to their students and the world. The Black Panthers, once called the children of Malcolm, embodied the actions and love of an independent, political and conscious people. Minister Farrakhan is carrying on this message via the Nation of Islam and is heavily respected in Hip Hop.
Some well known, popular children of Panthers (Tupac and Kanye West) and those affected by them have created music that is politically charged and culturally rich, thus carrying on the legacy. Hip Hop has also been affected by Panthers who worked to politicize gangs. One such Panther was Fred Hampton.
Hip Hop Chart
This chart is an important visual aid for teens. Black teens are usually struck with a burst of pride and thirst to learn more. White teens are usually baffled that they are so ignorant about Black subjects and Black creations - including religion and music. They also usually want to go back and listen to their cds to see if their favorite artists really are teaching strong information that is stated in the lecture.
The first question I ask teens is, "Who invented Rock?" Most white teens say Elvis.
When teaching about irresponsible artists that refuse to teach knowledge (and those who glorify violence), I point to the racism that went into COINTELPRO, the U.S. government program that helped destroy the Panthers. This created the gap that caused the problems associated with today's gangs. I also point to those who make money off of death and prisons. This leads to a discussion about the private prison market and increased police budgets. There is also the control and co-opting of our culture by people who disrespect us and by those who know our history and have always worked to kill a unifying message. Anyone who is successful at decreasing the deaths and incarceration via education, activism and advocacy are usually discredited, jailed or killed.
Finally, I use Spike Lee's movie Bamboozled to show how the exploitation and embarrassment of yesterday's minstrel shows, cooning and bootlicking images are present today.
The final statement I make is, "Thirty years from now, if we allow history to repeat itself, we will be saying that Emminem created Rap. The white teens laugh showing that they have realized the lesson learned. The Black teens usually say that they will never let that happen.
Mission Accomplished in more ways than one!!!
Originally appeared in Poli-tainment.com.