The mainstream music industry (Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group controlled roughly 90 percent of the music market in 2012) sell sexism, drug abuse, homophobia, materialism, and gang violence as if these problems represent the cornerstones of Hip Hop culture.
The corporate media presents Hip Hop music and culture as a grotesque array of negative stereotypes, embracing criminality, sexism, homophobia, materialism, and domination culture. These corporate representations are part of a historical legacy of oppression of black and brown people; propaganda that demonizes and objectifies people of color is the ideological basis for the legitimization of oppression and prejudice.
Corporate stereotypes of Hip Hop culture--and by extension, the creators and participants of that culture--dehumanize us and affect the way we are perceived. There is a direct relationship between this dehumanization and the criminalization of people of color, police brutality, and public acceptance of those phenomena. Most people learn about cultures they are unfamiliar with through the media, internalizing narratives that place us as second-class citizens.
In addition, the corporate co-optation of Hip Hop culture has created a situation where our community’s platform of self-expression has been eclipsed and replaced with a limited, insulting narrative that affects our understanding of what our Hip Hop is, and what Hip Hop can be. Our culture has been stolen, repackaged, and sold back to us; this limits our cultural efficacy, as well as our ability, freedom, and initiative to talk about and organize around issues that affect our community. Our children have grown to become consumers of a bastardized version of Hip Hop that is devoid of its roots, rather than creators of their own self-expression.
HipHopForChange seeks to address these injustices of representation through education, community building, and the creation of a platform for people who identify with Hip Hop culture to express their true voices, selves, and culture. We create a space that emphasizes and encourages the root values of Hip Hop culture: peace, love, unity, and having fun.
From right to left
Eric Sasz - Event Director
Alyce James - Oakland Canvass Director
Raushanah Bashir - San Jose Canvass Director
Stephanie Liem - Communication Coordinator