Black Artists and their Portrayal in the Media
By: DeVante Webb
Hip-hop has been around since the 1970s, but the art and culture of it has definitely changed since then. In this era, artists are glorified if they are degrading women and/or have a criminal record. This happens so much that it is expected to come with a new artist.
This generation of hip-hop is so caught up on keeping it “real” or, as many say, being ”the realist n*gga alive.” In my opinion, being “real” has grown to have a negative connotation. To many, being “real” is having countless amounts of money and selling drugs.The perception that the youth have of being real is ultimately what the artists they listen to try and broadcast to be real.
B-Gr8 Records CEO Tairon Mossy said, “Outsiders [corporate America] really look at black musicians as slaves in the music industry. You sign the contract, get a couple dollars and some nice cars and they rule you from then on.”
Corporate America expects black artists to get in trouble and when they do, the media make sure it captures the moment and blows it up as large as they possibly can. One of the biggest examples Mossy points out is popular rapper Young Thug.
“Look at Young Thug: he dresses in women’s clothing and now that has some of these guys wearing extra tight jeans and what not. It is expected for us to take our own people out. These musicians don’t understand that we are hurting ourselves,” Mossy said.
On the contrary, positive movements that african-american artists have done on their free time are rarely broadcast unless they broadcast it themselves on their respective social media accounts. Mossy believes that hip-hop artist J.Cole is a great example of promoting positivity in the hip-hop community.
“The guy I admire right now is that kid J. Cole, he’s a prime example of being the opposite of what America expects of us as a race,” Mossy said.
In the past two years, J. Cole has done so much without promoting it. Before releasing his third album, “2014 Forest Hills Drive” Cole invited fans to his childhood home in Fayetteville, NC for a private listening session. Shortly after he released his album on Dec 9, 2014, he announced that he would be allowing single mothers to live in his old home rent-free. Most recently, J.Cole has also been selected by President Barack Obama to perform at the Democratic National Convention fundraiser according to Billboard.com.
Why haven’t you heard of this you may ask? The answer is because it might not be negative enough for the media to publish.
Cole’s current campaign is one that I believe is a campaign the youth need to follow.
“F*** Money, Spread Love.”
With the power of words and a good heart, artists like J. Cole can show the youth what life is all about.