Why black lives should matter most to Black America.
By Amos Shabangenyere
No question about it; BlackLivesMatter, but does it matter to black people? This is the question I’ve been struggling with in the last couple of months. Of course I know black lives do matter to black people, but they sure have a way of showing it.
One of the hit songs from the last one year was by an artist that goes by the name Bobby Schmurder, song titled hot N****az. This song which came a long with unique dance style took over the world, from Taiwan to Israel, from Cape Town to Morocco and Cameroon, from Germany to Chile. What really got me surprised once I listen to the song, was the braguer or boastfulness if you will of dropping bodies, killing N**az and how savage the artist and his crew were. I noticed how, with so much ease, folks from a round the world dance to this kinda music without being taken a back a little with the content. So, myself and a Dj friend decided to experiment.
Our experiment was very simply, my good friend Amos played the song in a gathering at a house party, and as expected, everyone was nodding and singing a long to words like “bodies twirling and dropping.” We then used the same instrumentals which are heavy bass and catchy, recruited a friend of ours who is a good rapper. The task was to recreate the same music, same tempo, same beats but translate the music into our native African language and play it strictly to the audience primarily made up of people from our ethnic group. Keeping the story short, we made the music, threw small get together party and played both song. The idea was to play the American version of black rapper talking about savagely killing black people in America, which got positive response, then followed by the african version, with African language but same content. You can imagine how that went, hint, NOT WELL. I was surprised, as soon as the rapper started talking about walking a round with people who are ready to kill people in villages etc, everybody was caught up in the “What the F***K?” moment.
I then enquired from some Jewish friends, how they would feel if a Jewish rapper started talking about killing fellow Jews, if it’s something they’d nod and dance too in the clubs or parties, but the answer was loud NO! I went further, asked my buddy Lin from college who now lives in Taipei, Taiwan. I told him to play the song, and then imagine the rapper was Taiwanese rapping about the same lyrics in regards to fellow Taiwanese, and you guessed right, he didn’t like it.
What I noticed there for is, hip hop is one of the most popular black American culture export to the world, yet hip hop is what at the same time been the poorest choice of cultural exposure. Of course in hip hop, the more gangsta it sounds, the more you gain street credibility. This simply means that, hip hop, in some form, has been used to make it almost sound as if black people killing black people is a pop culture phenomenon, but it goes further. Why most “street Cred” rap songs songs talk about who is tougher, who can go and kill who etc, including some of my favorite artists, I’ve realized that, even myself, hearing black Americans talk about shooting black Americans is part of acceptable pop culture. There is simply no culture anywhere in the world where a group talk about self destruction and is pushed and supported by corporate media and encouraged. Whites, Indians, Chinese, Arabs and even Africans would find it easy dancing to Black Americans singing about going in the hood and shooting so and so, but as soon as you translate that to any of these particular communities, it just start sounding savagely horrible and nobody would have a stomach to dance to it.
I am a sympathizer of struggle and opponent of systematic racism, but black lives will matter the most when those affected really take the step and say, such and such is not in our name, we do not approve as a community.
The views expressed here do not by any means represent the views of Africlandpost.