The conscious humyn evaluates and integrates various influences of style regardless of race, gender or and social divisions. If “male” has a significance, you could receive the conscious male and his personality as influenced by Sade or Nina Simone. He, or better the humyn, could express a masculinity/femininity that is too distinct for either/or. Manifesting the Sade in him, he’s not afraid to express his experience of the sweetest taboo. Nothing’s loss of his power to create in the world, though he may tell you that he wants to feel an intense love like no other.
Our parents figured that their generation saw the end of “real” dancing. You know, they tell you that they danced artistically and romantically and that we have pioneered a tasteless substitute for sex. I’m embarrassed to say that I was starting to believe the hype, but this was before I paid attention to our generation of choreographers. Never has there been such a style that is so sensitive to both music and lyrics as that of our young people of color. Artists such as Ian Eastwood, Kenzo Alvares and Pat Cruz represent a new heritage of dance that brings the body, as an object of creative contortion, to the incomplete music of Hip Hop and R&B.
If I must have something that I don’t like about having locks, it would be that I can’t rock a snapback. Had there not been so much of a conversion in the herds of Black youth—fitted caps are nearly extinct among the heads of the coolest kids—my lament over snap backs would not even be an issue. No one can argue that the switch is another life-imitating-art fanatic, since none of the mainstream rappers—Drake, Maybach Music, J. Cole, etc.—wear snap backs. Besides, those types of perspectives, that restrict trends to imitations of media, demonstrate lazy thinking; instead, I think that the appeal to snapbacks connects to its forum for creativity.
Celebrity, the representation and popularizing of a face, determine our aesthetics—models that our minds, in one sense, refer to when judging a person’s beauty. We can say that the drastic changes in whom and what we find attractive are inspired by the popular surveillance of a specific body. Upon seeing a face manifest through a television source, a face that overcomes exclusive requirements to be there, a viewer can sufficiently convert their jealousy into praise. Without a doubt, we viewers further a history of valorizing particular persons for their “transcendence” of being average, and in effect view the box-glaring body with lust. I would have no problem with this fanaticism if the value of the person were substantial, yet the appeal of celebrities often comes from the pity we feel for ourselves; for not making it past the bouncer of popular media.
Last Saturday night, Kreayshawn and the White Girl Mob played a sold-out gig in Hollywood. And according to Spin Magazine, it was an insane show.
“…the audience rushed the stage where they proceeded to completely freak out — bouncing, stripping, cooking, and flipping into the crowd — until the music was done and they were forced bodily from the limelight by the venue’s security. It was intensely electric.”
The next day, she hit the VMAs, where she was nominated (and a favorite) for the Best New Artist Award. She lost to like-minded and equally controversial Tyler, the Creator. Like Kreayshawn, Tyler and Odd Future rose to prominence through YouTube, blogs and social media, don’t fit in any radio format, and have sharply divided critics and fans.
A lot of people aren’t taking Kreayshawn and Odd Future seriously. And that’s understandable. When something comes along that is so alien to mainstream standards and tastes, it always gets dismissed.
But don’t be fooled. Their success is organic and real; not some record label’s scheme. The rise of artists like Odd Future and Kreayshawn (as well as Lil B and Waka Flocka Flame) is subversive to Hip Hop’s status quo. And it might end up being a big deal.
[Like] posts have taken over facebook. You see them religiously on young Black teens’ walls, and (less acceptable) they appear on 18 and 19 year-old pages. I see no other reason for such creations except various situations of low self-esteem. No one can blame young folks; as teenage years mark the beginning of partner relationships, meaning the desires to be with others raises our consciousness of ourselves on the outside. Innocent beginnings like these deserve caution though.
Relationships, these days, get more undesirable as the option to leave everything after a kiss becomes more of a trend. Love’s new hot-minute flavored makeover has its moment of truth, this week, due to a new track by J. Cole. “Workout”, Cole’s first single of his debut album, puts all the hours we kill running “game” into perspective: all the thought we put into crafting swank outfits and all the ambition we focus into pick-up lines only get us one night of bliss. And ladies, J doesn’t forget about y’all in the track; better yet, he understands that not all womyn want to “love…forever” every person they have a good time with. I thought it was just college culture, but having quick affairs is the trait of a Black youth world view on love.
If you don’t already know, time is a cruel mistress who demands her “pound of flesh” by yearly ripping away our youth and vitality. Among my close circle of friends, all in our mid-to-late 20s, we have each begun taking action to thwart her evil plan. The telltale signs of aging are starting to become visible for each of us, which has lead to my group of friends and myself taking up arms. I have friends who make frequent visits to the church of skin ..uh sorry..derm(atologist)’s office, as well as others planning to have different surgeries to “touch up” what time tends to “touch down,” because there is nothing like removing a 20 year “touch down” line off of your face. Even I have entered into the fray, exploring vitamins, dietary restrictions, and looking at different non-invasive procedures (i.e., I sleep in a cryostasis pod filled to the brink with the perservatives found in Twinkies and McDonald burgers). This is a war people! If you aren’t ready to fight, then be prepared to die (read: decline like a property value or a car driven off a lot)!
Dedicated to Gopher! I support you ma.
Nothing spikes my blood pressure quicker than non-Black people that change their demeanor around Black people. It occurs mostly between womyn; non-Blacks add “u’s” to “girl”, perform the two snaps and around gesture, push their lips out to say “boo boo!”—the list goes on. A little imitation of your culturally different friends has never been a problem, but it’s getting to a point where there is no precedent. Now every sidewalk where Black folks encounter people from different races is a stage. And brown skin marks the humorous people enough to make Blackface unnecessary. You know where I’m going. Minstrel shows seem to not have died out, in fact they are much realer, and they continue to make Black people harder to take seriously.
What’s scarier than a racist that calls out “nigger” or “coon” viciously? The racist who’s night you save by being the “token blacky”. I pose two disappointments for the eager audience at a non-black party: no weed and no freestyle. Still I manage to be the life of the party, dougieing on every song, judging rap skills, and—check this out—having big lips. Although I get a lot more love at these parties, I can’t help but realize how socially destructive they are. What’s really under all this amusement is a non-black majority (usually White) taking delight in my abnormality.
Oh no! The folks back home will never stop smacking their lips over this one. As African American Studies grows across the nation, its scholarly diversity does not fall behind. Could white professors be added to the “things keeping Black people down” list? Possibly, but the fall of Black academia shouldn’t be instantly expected. Many of you, with folded arms right now, have already made the fatal mistake of pitting experience as the only knowledge of struggle. Did you hear me? I said that a white teacher can understand why Langston Hughes has to say he knows rivers; or similarly, scream with Nina Simone in Mississippi.
Somewhere in Chicago the most promising band has its members contorting their bodies a few more times before it pries open the mouths of audiences across the world. Whether the gesture be frantic fingertips of an emcee, a rattling head of a saxophone player, or a subtle hand-to-thigh clap of a singer, the soul of their music contains a contagious rapture that even the creators cannot even subdue. They call themselves Kids These Days, a befitting name since most of their members are still high school. Everything’s included: Greg Landfair Jr. (Drums), Lane Beckstrom (Bass) JP Floyd (Trombone), Nico Segal (Trumpet), Rajiv Halim (Saxophones), Liam Cunningham (Guitar/Vocals), Vic Mensa (Emcee), Macie Stewart (Vocals). Whipping all their ingredients for delivery, KTD stuffs HipHopSoulJazz down the throats of a progressively irrelevant youth culture.
We are living in that twenty-first century… Suicidal bombings, Dark Knight’s Joker, Kid Cudi and Kanye West black rose pop music display the new relationships to death. It was death that kept the powerless from doing whatever they pleased; think about “crime,” we approached it slowly, in fear of either real death—execution—or social death, getting locked up. Who would expect a soul desperate for freedom to not welcome death after generations of being bound by death to the worst case scenarios? Coming out the c-section of the anti-black world, the ghettoes, are the scariest group of black youth because the fear of death is dead.
These days I’m feeling more and more like a bastard when I hear “hip hop,” because the Hip Hop that raised me was intellectually gangsta. Guess that explains the initial hunger that goes through me when I hear a song by Somali emcee, K’naan. His debut single, “TIA: This Is Africa,” directly disses the American “hip hop” scene, calling rappers “p*ssy.” K’naan’s 3:53 of critical bars left me wondering of the whereabouts of the classic and genuine corner store heroes, American youth found at their local intersections. K’naan is the realist, when he teaches the so-called “illest” in the West that:
It’s no secret we know how to squeeze lead, But the pre-set is not to squeeze it/ Used to be at peace but now using t-shirts, And it reads RIP cause the peace dead… The rap game just got itself a new day, This is Africa, hooray/