There’s been a bit of controversy recently. In January, a woman was kicked off a New York City subway over her hip hop playlist, citing that she had “too much culture” on her cellphone, as reported by the New York Times. Now, the woman (who refused to be identified in the New York Post, but was not named) is claiming that a Toronto radio station did similar to her — that a couple of DJs there were “talking down to her” and “making fun of her”. She is reportedly getting her legal team together to file a complaint against WQXL.
In the same article, she said that “you have to be able to speak up when your community is being degraded … or when a company or corporation is doing things that are against my race or gender or religious beliefs.”
In this context, hip hop seems not to be the only “community” involved. In a similar context, in November a Chinese man who is the owner of a chain of restaurants, Cafe Bistro, was asked to leave a restaurant because of the way he described the restaurant’s patrons. He was refused services by the staff, and refused to allow an employee to leave the premises because she had an iPhone with a hip-hop song playing on it.
Here’s one example. A man from India was recently refused service by one of those restaurants after he refused to listen to music that made fun of Islam on that particular day.
This isn’t an anomaly. Here’s what a local radio station in Calgary told its listeners last year: “To us, hip hop … makes you think. … hip hop is a form of entertainment that’s really not all that edgy, or hard.”
It’s all too clear, then, that the people who are saying, “Stop making fun of my community,” do so in the context of mocking that community. And those people are using Hip Hop Culture to do it — to make fun of their community. This is a clear misuse of a form of cultural expression. There’s not going to be any doubt that what’s happening is not OK.
Is hip hop cool?
What is hip hop?
Here’s the problem: hip hop used to be hip: for one thing, hip hop culture began almost 10 years ago with the rise of hip hop bands like The Pharcyde. (Also, that the Pharcyde’s music was basically hip pop but not at all dissimilar from what you’d hear
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