Cultural Appropriation and being John the Baptist for

Posted by Bushel Basket in , , , ,

Alright, if you haven't picked up on it already, I'm infatuated with the video blog website It's run by Jay Smooth, who has decades of cred in the hip hop community. His postings cover a wide range of topics and cover a lot of ground in the hip hop and Black community including culture, politics, and the issues of misogyny and homophobia. I find what he has to say to be persuasive, multi-layered, and spot on. Not to mention entertaining. So, don't be surprised if I keep posting his videos until I get this blogger crush out of my system.

I'm sure you are dying to know why I find this so interesting. I've been a fan of hip-hop since I started listening to music. Some of the first cassettes I had were called Raps Greatest Hits and had tracks from Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Erik B. and Rakim. At the time, I was just one more white kid in the suburbs trying to be Black, or as we called it, a wigger. These were also the days of New Jack Swing, which influenced my sense of romance. Anyway, as time went on hip hop's lyrics and style influenced me, and I realized that if I liked this kind of music I also needed to pay more attention to the cultures and influences that shaped this music. This pushed me towards trying to understand racism and poverty in the United States, and started me thinking about cultural appropriation, the taking of elements of a usually minority culture by a more dominant culture.

To this day, cultural appropriation is one of the things that angers me the most, is rarely discussed, and is in reality a much more complex cultural interchange, as mainstream American culture is not totally seperated from the African American, inner-city cultures. So, I have tried to not be just a consumer, or a taker in Randian terms. As a member of dominant society, I must constantly check my priveldge and remember that I must instead work towards cultural exchange, where I give back as much as I take. I don't do this just in regards to hip hop and the Black community, but also in regards to interfaith dialogue, especially when it comes to Native American religions.

So, to bring it all back, illdoctrine has been a great reminder to me of the nuances of hip hop culture and the larger Black communities and I find Jay Smooth can help keep me on track. A good example of this is a piece he did on a church in Chicago putting up billboards telling people to not listen to some rappers. For all you ministers out there, what he has to say about this church's move is something to take to heart and mirrors much of what I learned in seminary about community dialogue.

So check it out. Don't believe the hype (even if it's my hype)

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This entry was posted on Saturday, January 3, 2009 at Saturday, January 03, 2009 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



I thought that was a great video! What a set of ideas. Thanks for the post!

January 4, 2009 at 8:31 AM

Have you watched The Wire ?? This isn't totally on topic, but just finished the last season and it's incredible.

January 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM

and I'm Nancy.

January 17, 2009 at 4:47 PM

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