Black Youth Consciousness In The Post-Violence Era: Rebuilding Ethics In The Streets
The generation’s identity reveals itself in the sound waves that stimulate the collective conscious. Speech, which is the vocal reality of knowledge, enters the minds of youth through Hip-Hop among other things. We’re not only listening though. Young MCs speak, talk about the experiences of the black future in 2012. Our generation’s sound waves saturate with highly critical meditation, pocketed into chilled beats. If it’s true that history moves in proportion to the era’s creative thinking, then the speech of Hip-Hop empowers our generation’s history-making.
What are the messages of our generation? Anybody that wants to know can easily tune into Joey Bada$$, a young theorist out of Brooklyn. Black youth have spent nearly two decades in an era where the black adult cannot mature. Corners still deal with the collapse of the previous idol for “inner-city”/hood violence. Brooklyn 2012 is like Brooklyn 1999, where you got kids looking for knowledge known as the code of the streets. Inside the experiences of the black future, I mean black youth, is a confusion about ethics:
Just got word from my mans on the island/
He said he needed guidance/
Niggas on the streets is wildin’/
He looked at God but can’t find him/
To us, “Hardknock” by Joey Bada$$ and CJ Fly is important because it thinks about our generation’s struggle with violence. Like these MCs, the black youth conscious still doesn’t know how to deal with the aftermath of the 60’s. In the anti-black response to our ancestor’s history-making, all possibilities for transforming American racism have been obliterated from the black conscious. At a time when the black mind flourished with ways of reserving violence for defense against oppression, the American government unleashed cointelpro. Ever since the assassination of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, black youth have buried their consciousness of each other as sisters and brothers.
In other words, black consciousness lost faith in change because of the American counter-revolutionary force. Gathering a collective of individuals to fight for relief from violence seems like a suicidal logic now. Without means to transform the daily experiences with systemic violence—police brutality, poverty and dietary malnutrition—black consciousness inflicts pain on itself. That’s why CJ Fly comes to a point where the turn, the transformation is necessary:
But fuck that, aint tryna live that life no more/
My mind corrupted, but my heart is still pure/
Gotta be brave, can’t be affraid/
Whereas self cannot assemble the crew to change reality, self gets jaded and can no longer see the crew. Instead the streets are filled with individual enemies, meaning there’s a disconnection between the collective consciousness of blacks and the individual consciousness that are collected. Living in the streets makes unconditional compassion illogical, because the individual cannot care for the other individual. Somewhere in our history the violence that we reserved in the 60’s eventually exploded inward. Black youth, especially those in the streets, have inherited a loss of respect for the humyn.
Hence the question of our day: how can black youth live a life without necessary violence at a moment when black consciousness has disrespects itself? Not only is it tragic that some black youth prey upon their community members, but such direction of violence causes others to discontinue ethical relationships. As a consequence, the black youth collective conscious searches for resolutions to its guilt. At the point when our emcees, our critical consciousness speaks and declares “I just can’t live my life like this,” the mood is transformative.