Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sunday's Op-Ed: Is Pop Culture Distorting History?

As we go about our lives everyday, we are creating history that future generations will talk about, analyze, and possibly bolster. Generations yet unborn, will play a hand in how they honor current events that they are not even alive to witness. This is the baton that lays in wait to be handed to every generation as it emerges. Some will take this baton as a privilege, while others will see it as a burden. Some will feign indifference, while others will distort the facts- either purposely or inadvertently. The history of history tells us that these are some of the options.

Being a member of what has been branded "The Hip Hop Generation," I am currently observing how the sword of history is being wielded by certain people. Some artists and political figures reference pioneers and way-paving historical figures in a manner that bestows respect. When a popular modern day artist or public figure references a popular figure from the past, this is sometimes done to pay tribute or peak interest in an influential person from days past. This is great because acknowledging a person who made sacrifices for future generations is only right. In addition to this, it is a catalyst that sparks intellectual curiosity.

However, on the flip side of things, I am also witnessing millenium pop culture figures spewing questionable analogies and inserting the names of heroes into them. I was dismayed a couple of summers ago when a couple of heavy rotation radio tunes incessantly played for several weeks on popular radio stations, in which the recording artists compared themselves and their accomplishments to certain civil rights leaders. This trend is continuing in a current song in which an artist compares himself to Jackie Robinson because he "jacks, robs, and sins." I must ask is this just witty wordplay, or is it witty wordplay that can be as damaging as sticks and stones?

As a recording artist, looking from the outside in at the maneuvers of other artists, I am learning to be more sensitive in how I allude to certain situations lyrical. I recognize and acknowledge that I now belong to a generation that is responsible for how we educate and set examples for the youth coming up. They are studying our every move. With that being said, I would like to say, "Thank You" to all of the elders who sacrificed so much for my generation. It is my hope that my peers and I will follow in the best imprints of your footprints, while we also forge our own path. I would also like to urge people to continue, or start, to dedicate some time out of your day to study and read. Don't be duped by someone else's rendering of events. Judge for yourself, and build a foundation that will allow you to judge correctly.

Have a great week everybody.

Lots of Love.

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