Hip-Hop Movements through Music
The Mission. The Music. The Movement.
In a time where it feels that everyday a movement is being recognized, or individuals and groups are being oppressed, it seems there is an increase of artists and musicians speaking out against the hatred. Movements are no longer being televised as short segments but are now taking them into the streets and social platforms. Most recently, Hip Hop artists are using the public platforms to not only bring awareness but to showcase their stance against discrimination, isolation, and on a political platform, immigration.
The New Year started with the horrendous H&M advertisement displaying a young Black boy wearing a hoodie with the words “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” written across his chest. The hoodie, which tied to people of color, has been popularly demonized and even the source of Hate Crimes, as we account for the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed unjustly while wearing a hoodie. And now paired with the derogatory comparison that African Americans in history have been compared to primates with the intent to dehumanize them, adds insult to injury with the new advertisement. Social platforms went ablaze for reacting to the well-known brand’s complete lapse of judgment and public propaganda. Immediately, artists remixed and redesigned the slogan to what appropriately was deemed as the “King of the World.”
While reclaiming the royalty that racism will not be tolerated on platform, numerous artists in Hip Hop and abroad responded as such with even a hit to the pockets in partnership with H&M. Artists such as The Weeknd and G-eazy pulled their business with brand almost immediately and indefinitely.
“We understand that many people are upset about the image,” begins the brand’s apologetic statement. “We, who work at H&M, can only agree. We are deeply sorry that the picture was taken, and we also regret the actual print. Therefore, we have not only removed the image from our channels, but also the garment from our product offering globally. It is obvious that our routines have not been followed properly. This is without any doubt. We will thoroughly investigate why this happened to prevent this type of mistake from happening again.”
H&M issued their apology, but plenty of rappers had already commented on the issue, including Diddy, Pusha T, Belly, Nipsey Hussle, T.I., and many more.
In that same vein, from print ads to politics, President Trump’s comments towards immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and Africa referring to them as “Sh*thole” countries, created a news storm from Hip-Hop, artists and businesses alike to respond. Hot 97, with Ebro, Laura Stylez, dedicating hour-long segments with response to the remarks in addition to rappers Wyclef Jean, Lupe Fiasco and Plies taking it to his IG with video questioning the moral character of Trump. And let’s not forget Eminem and Trump.
We are now in a time, where musicians are mobilizing to take part against injustice in our communities and towards our diverse nation. Hip-Hop is creating a new mission from the pages to the public to address issues that will no longer go unnoticed.