Millions if not Billions world wide watched the Super Bowl yesterday. The Super Bowl Half Time show has turned into a cultural tradition thoroughly intertwined with the game it self. Who’s going to perform is as anticipated as who’s going to play(for some more so) This year the fierce and fantastic Queen Bee Beyonce took the stage and wowed us in what many felt was too short a time. This was the 50th Anniversary Super Bowl and coincedently this year is the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party for Self Defence. Beyonce took to stage and during the 50th Super Bowl Half Time Show gave an artistic salute to the Black Panther Party on its 50th anniversary. Today I took to Face Book and saw Bay Area Hip Hop Artist and Activist Equipto (famous for recently blasting Mayor Ed Lee of San Francisco for the gentrification of SF & land grabs from the poor) had posted this awesome pic of Beyonce’s dancers giving the Black Power salute.
I was like “wow” thats dope!!. I later saw a slew of critical comments from mostly conscious women who did not feel the “sexy remix” taken on the Black Panther uniforms. They felt the way the dancers were dressed misrepresented what the Black Panthers stood for
Reading these Face book post inspired me to give a responce breaking down why I felt Beyonce’s boldness was a positive and why it would be affective in at least sparking conversation on social issues.
My comments were as follows…..
Once upon a time African medallions , clothing with African colorful style & Afro centric accessories were all in style. So was having some sence of consciousness. This was because Hip-Hop music artist pushed these images & messages via audio & visual media. It was music that helped spark my consciousness. Beyonce’s dancers & her imagery in her latest video are seeds …not the greatest seeds but seeds that if followed up with more socially conscious material will grow. The way you communicate to intelligent conscious people is different than the way you communicate with the majority of the masses. This is one reason why NWA soon out sold Public Enemy. I hear people talk about the conspiracy to destroy conscious hip hop by forcing lables & radio to push gangsta rap. Im like ok thats possible but I know that gangsta shyt just slapped & my peers even chided me for “always talking that African stuff” thus i developed my “Gangsta Knowledge” philosophy https://youtu.be/_lLW6cmhaG0
So I know gangsta rap simply just resonated with the common man/woman from the streets more so than a conscious mc dropping big words over beats that might spark thinking but dont move your body. We are talking about educating the masses the proletariat & we have to speak their language. One reason I dig what Beyonce dancers represented is that their imagery wraps soicial consciousness & revolutionary ideals in sexy & cool the same way I wrapped those same things in lyrics laced with the glamour of gangstarism. Now can Beyonce’s dancers sexy representation of “the revolution” potentially weaken & co-op the original message? Yes but only if its not followed up by further conscious content. I read Leslie Dale’s post of Davey D Cook’s response to a comment about Coachella co-opting the Panther look & as Dave said “its up to us to go beyond the clothing” we who are conscious must push the envelope & yes we must push artist to do & to do more for social equality & justice.
I dropped this ideal in the 1st part of #TheHipHopManifesto www.hughemc.com Reaching the minds of our people through the muck mainstream media pollutes the airwaves with is difficult & we have to use proven tacticts to succeed. The tactics advirtisment companies and promoters use are proven and I think we all should follow them.
I had a brief twitter convo with Talib Kweli about my HipHop manifesto idea & he felt instead of asking “all” rappers such as gangsta & trap music style rappers to drop conscious content in their songs we should ask the people to support more conscious music. Now I agreed this should be done also but I said to Talib these young people do not buy conscious music like the way we would hope so how are we going to get the message to them? People will buy what they like to groove to so just asking them to buy music they dont like is not going to work. Talib said asking street rappers (I really dont know what to call this new crop of thuggie druggie mc’s because these are not gangsta rappers ala Ice Cube) to drop conscious content wouldn’t be sincere about what they were saying & he felt that would be ineffective since it wasn’t in their heart (im paraphrasing here and it appears our twitter convo on it is to old for me to retrieve) I explained Rick Ross was a prison gaurd but the people buying his music dont give a crap about how sincere he is when he raps about selling yayo. Millions buy his music & millions absord the messages with in his music. Im saying all this to point out how some times the conscious community ties their own hands when trying to reach our people because they are unaware of or not willing to use certain tactics the enemy does. This is why we’ve been unsuccessful,especially in regards of our methodology concerning mass media as a tool to really spread our message. A man named Edward Bernays laid out the road map for modern day media advertising.
These are two good introductions to Edward Bernays:
The enemy uses these techniques every day & many of us in media use his techniques without even knowing it but we need to step our game up. Beyonce was “selling” the revolution to the world. Now its up to the conscious community to ensure she doesn’t sell it out.
After writing this I saw that Fox,TMZ ,The Bay Gaurdian and several other media outlets recognized the Black Panther imagery and spoke on how Beyonce brought light to the recent murder of Mario Woods by the SFPD
-Now thats effective use of your platform as an artist to bring light to the social ills plaguing our country