By Jenny Deveaux, V Form
Modern Day Martins
Much like hip hop music, modern day United States culture is based upon movements for change and the spread of continental ideas.
Hip hop was born in the seventies, and first originated in New York City. The genre was developed largely by African-Americans, but evolved to incorporate nuances from other minority groups such as Latin-Americans. Today, hip hop is a multi-billion dollar franchise that has become a symbol of United States culture because it exemplifies a diverse and influential community that seeks to spread tendentious ideas. Artists like Common, Nelly, Macklemore, and LL Cool J use their prominence in the hip hop genre to address today’s issues. Macklemore did this recently in his song “Same Love,” advocating for marriage equality while producing a track that made the top charts in America.
In the wake of Civil Rights Act of nineteen sixty-three and the Civil Rights movements throughout the sixties and seventies, African-Americans utilized hip hop as an outlet to express themselves in a way that they were unable to do in decades prior. The essence of hip hop is to manifest controversial matters that are important to American youth. Millennials that have grown up with hip hop music embody the same values that the music aims to portray and demonstrate this through the movements like Black Lives Matter. Social media was flooded with #BlackLivesMatter posts and tweets, and simultaneously, hip hop tracks were created with similar messages of inequality, such as Beyoncé’s recent “Formation” music video, where the artist sits atop a sinking police car, demonstrating her frustration with police officers who have unjustly killed black people.
The United States today is the epitome of modern day globalization and an epicenter for outspoken and passionate individuals, and the success of hip hop has given those messages more global bandwidth. Today, millennials are known for speaking their minds and being passionate about pushing for change when it is necessary on topics such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. As the nation faces instances of inequality in most every way, it is clear that the youth of the United States aspires for change. The messages of hip hop music today embody that change because they demonstrate the values of Americans. Hip hop has augmented the way people express their frustrations with United States culture and promote the expression of “post-racial” tension. The United States is said to be the country of change, but that change is only possible when individuals are comfortable communicating controversial topics.
Jenny Deveaux is a V Form day student from Hopkinton, MA. She plays varsity soccer and basketball, is a Peer Discussion Leader, and loves hanging out with her greyhound, Jalapeño.