The day I stepped foot onto the lawn of the “grounds” of UVA as a burgeoning grad student, my skin tingled. I couldn’t understand the goosebumps that adorned my arms, nor the uneasiness of my stomach and spirit.
Hip-hop and rap is a form of art. It’s the perfect composition of rapper and an instrumental, but also an extension of what it means to be Black in America. To understand how Hip-Hop plays a role in black culture, one must first understand what Black culture is, which can can be defined a number of ways, but every definition stems from the history of Blacks in America.
Black women continue to be the main support group for black men, sacrificing for the advancement of everyone but themselves. Even with that reality, black women still out-educate, outperform, and are out-earning black men. For years black leaders expressed the role of male leadership, assisting in the erasure of the important role black women have played in society, as black women have literally been the basis of every social movement in this country, for nothing more than ego stroking and for the appeasement of their white counterparts who will never see them as equal regardless.
We relive our trauma together, but we all handle it in our different, and sometimes unhealthy ways. I noticed that some like to take on several extracurricular activities, but experience burnout and purposeful isolation. Some, smoke and drink all weekend to forget, but sleep on the reason they came to school. Others say we need a leader and blindly follow someone for answers. Some will lie, cheat, or use others to get ahead, because he or she knows life will always be hard for us. But, why is seeking help never an option?
I invite all who read this to share their writings, poetry, music, art, or any form of expression. Come with your agendas and opinions on an array of topics. Educate each other, initiate conversation, and challenge each other in healthy ways. This is our space, and our time to promote a unified existence.
We need to remember that because we are of one race, we face many of the same social struggles in day to day life. In order to better progress as a community, it is imperative that Africans and African Americans work together, rather than subscribe to stereotypical thoughts and mock others with racist clichés.