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.
Sony Music Group
Universal Music Group
Warner Music Group
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.
HipHopForChange uses Hip Hop as a tool and a positive cultural exchange in several ways:
Education. Our events push conscious Hip Hop artists to the forefront to talk about the issues that afflict the Hood. With these events, we build a positive platform for conscious artists to stand upon. Events are also a fun way for communities to unite and celebrate collective action. As such, we are also committed to providing free music events, along with fundraising events, regularly for all to enjoy. Our Grassroots department has discussions with members of the public about the socio-economic injustices in both American urban spaces and within the Hip Hop industry. We distribute and give context to conscious art as it relates to social trends in our communities. We work with youth in advocating hip hop as a means of expression to deal with and narrate the challenges that American youth are facing.
Empowerment. We employ people from the Hip Hop community with jobs that pay well and fit their aspirations. These jobs perpetuate a positive culture and teach new artists skills they can potentially use to market their own music and communicate their message.
Efficacy. We raise funds to further advance our cause and to fund projects that can make an impact on the very communities in which Hip Hop has its roots. Thus far, we have contributed to programming that supports work with the poor and communities of color in the Oakland area. We have worked in coalition with other social justice organizations to amplify our impact. We will continue to build more local programs that contribute to these populations.
HipHopforChange is unique in our ability to take our message to the streets through grassroots activism. Our Grassroots department provides education for the people with whom they speak surrounding issues that have been pushed to the margins. Through these interactions, we allow the community to make donations that fund events and shape a socially conscious local Hip Hop scene. In this way, we can harness the energy of active communities to demand music that informs and uplifts. We will eventually be able to reduce the demand for negative music by increasing the public’s access to inspiring cultural narratives. In the end, the only thing feeding the degradation of Hip Hop culture is our own dollars.
We have built an organization with the ability to expand into cities around America while maintaining local control and programming for the benefit of each chapter. We will work to employ, educate, and empower a progressive Hip Hop community and thereby provide a counter-balance to the mainstream industry.
We have identified three strategic goals which fit into a larger 5-year strategy that we will be focused on in our initial years of events and campaigning. Accomplishing each of these goals will be major stepping stones toward building a powerful and effective organization.
Change the perception of Hip Hop perpetuated by the mainstream industry. Each event, every discussion with one of our canvassers, and every CD that HipHopForChange puts forth will add a fresh perspective of progressive and positive music within the genre.
Create an empowering organizational culture. Our goal is to support and enrich the creativity and individuality within each HH4C employee. We will work to ensure that everyone at HH4C is paid a living wage, has healthcare and works in an environment of respect. We will work to ensure that diversity and inclusion are celebrated and sought out as an organization.
Build infrastructure for justice in the Hood. We want to give back to the communities from which hip hop derives its narratives and inspiration. Creating local programming focused on issues such as empowering people of color, food justice, environmental respect and awareness, and resource access and distribution to the poor will be our initial focus as we build our programming.
Founder and Executive Director
Khafre Jay might be the hardest working man in Bay Area Hip Hop. He’s rocked with legends in 38 states like Rakim, Method Man, Dead Prez, Krs1, Jean Grae, and even Tone Loc to name a few. He is a veteran of the Bay Area music scene, and is an accomplished stage performer with over 25 years of experience on the stage, performing in almost every state. Along with his history in theater, choir, and Jazz trumpet, he understands what it means to be an MC.
Khafre’s brand of hardcore, revolutionary, anti-misogynist, community-oriented Hip Hop, mixed is a plus on any stage. From the street corners of Hunters Point San Francisco to the halls of elementary schools, to the main stage of the Democratic National Convention, if you want your audience to be moved, Khafre Jay is your answer.
Khafre’s experience in merging activism and expressive cultural arts has led him to found HipHopForChange as the next manifestation of his ongoing work. He has spent many years doing work with disadvantaged young people, using his hip hop roots to bridge social gaps, and help kids find identity through their culture. He never slows down.