Societal issues are only showing us what’s preventing us from truly living freely, and if we address these things instead of being controlled by the fear of them, can become a means to transform them to be something of high use value.
Hip Hop for example, like most things that aren’t understood at first, has gotten a bad rap from society. (Pun intended)
This is understandable considering the track record of negative publicity hip hop artists get, as well as the content of many of their lyrics and how it promotes gang violence or the degrading of women.
This is understandable - but Hip Hop music isn’t bad, it’s just a creative tool that can be used for either a positive reason or a negative one and it comes down to the intention of those using it that determines whether or not it is.
So how can this Hip Hop music have a positive influence in our society?
Everything has the potential to be either good or bad depending on how you perceive it. Even the seeming negative situations in life are opportunities to grow and transform, and when we harness this power to rise above limitations, big changes happen. This trend can be seen throughout history – whenever there are wars, there are those who wake up and protest, when there is injustice or a need, there will be those who will be motivated by this pain instead of defeated by it. Necessity is the mother of all invention, and often in our very own backyards there is a need that is within our power to fill.
The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow, and in the words of Ghandi,
“If we are to have real peace, we must begin with the children”.
But let’s be honest, most kids these days are bored, over-stimulated, and underwhelmed by what the world has to offer. There are many flashing lights and things that go boom, but what’s missing at the core is value. Oceans of knowledge and information flood our schools and politics yet it is rare to find a drop of wisdom, and in a world where young people are increasingly becoming more aware and perceptive of when they’re being lied to, especially with a tool like the internet at fingertip’s reach, more and more what youths are wanting is genuineness. Connecting to them requires that you be real and get on the same level as them – no one enjoys being talked down to – and it is only here where a lasting change can happen, because when someone opens up to you and you have a positive effect on them you can change their life.
Hip Hop is a prime example of this. Many youths growing up are often misunderstood by society and their own families and feel like no one can relate, but when they throw on a rap record and listen to someone else’s life story and find that it parallels many of their own difficulties, it gives them hope to know that they’re not the only ones going through what they are, and that others have had it worse and still made it through.
What is Hip Hop and why does it have such a powerful influence on the youth?
Hip Hop is a culture - it’s not just about rapping. Besides several branches of music, Hip Hop also encompasses dancing, fashion, an attitude, and is a symbol for pushing boundaries. For many it has become a way of life and for this reason this culture has had a massive impact on society. Although many see this impact as negative, it can be all the more powerful just because of how far it has spread if used for the right reasons.
Cambridge’s very own Argus Residence and Candy Funhouse have taken an initiative in making a change in the community by applying this very mentality and have chosen Hip Hop as a means to make it happen. There are many youths out there with a lot of talent and unfortunately not many readily available outlets for them to express it. For this reason, among others, Hip Hop Candyfest was created. Made with the intention to provide a creative platform for hidden talent to be exposed and shared, this ‘American-Idol’ style talent contest will feature the musical creativity Cambridge has to offer, as well as headlining acts by professional Hip Hop Artists. In this way, we can see how something seemingly negative can be used for a positive purpose. There is already a system in place, we just need to make choices that are based on positive intentions to make it work for us. In this case, using it for the sake of encouraging creativity and helping kids stay off the streets is a positive use of Hip Hop.
There’s an old African Proverb that says, “It takes a whole village to raise a child”. In other words, when a community comes together in a unified purpose, only then can we be the example that younger generations need to grow up in a stable way. Hip Hop Candyfest is a step in this direction and hopes to set the tone for future events to come.