Panels and Workshops
Now's the time for all good men to get together with one another. We got to iron out our problems and iron out our quarrels (...) We got to make this land a better land than the world in which we live. And we got to help each man be a better man with the kindness that we give (...) Oh yes we can, I know we can can Yes we can can, why can't we? - Treacherous Three "Yes We Can", 1982
Wow. In 1982 Kool Moe Dee was "giving kindness" and "Ironing out quarrels".
Fast forward to 30 years later, where are we? What's hiphop doing with our beefs? and most importantly, how is hiphop being used to "help each man be a better man with the kindness that we give"?
Here are some questions to keep in mind when we talk about hiphop and reconciliation.
HIP HOP AND RECONCILIATION
Hip Hop is such an emotionally strong music, that when we hear "hate", it usually isn't far from the involvement of guns, gangs or other violent measures of solving a problem. Why does our form of "Street Justice" have to be so violent?
It's not a big secret that when we hear lyrics about "shoot 'em up", "buck 'em down" or leave them lying sideways", that the MC's are usually more worried about rhyming schemes than crime schemes, (unless you are X-Raided, who actually went to jail for confessing to an actual murder on record...oops!). Many times gangster profiles are easy to slip into, as MC's get to use the same literary tools that Hollywood movies use: character development. Why did the peaceful daisy age/native tongue/Afrocentric hiphop of the late 80's disappear yet the thug style kept selling more and getting stronger?
Well, just like Hollywood goes through fads and phases, so has hiphop undergone various trend transformations. It went from Puma Suede track suits, to african medallions, to gold chains, to record affiliated pieces hanging low on the platinum chains. But at what moment will it go to being about peace? How did a community based music never go in a community building direction? Did it, and if so, how did it lose that momentum and commercial strength?
RECONCILIATION AND HIPHOP
It's extremely hard to "turn the other cheek" in every circumstance. If someone hits me, I'll probably want to him them back. Historically, the hate grows roots and gets so deep into the subconscious of entire communities that forgiving and starting a healing process is next to impossible. Yet, it has happened. After every war, there must be conflict resolution or the war's will never stop.
In your communities, can you identify who or what is the "separating motive" that keeps a war going. How close are they to mending their differences? There are many processes in Reconciliation: negotiation, mediation, diplomacy, litigation, justice, healing, etc. Where is your community with their reconciliation process.
How does hiphop play a role in this?
Do you feel that hiphop's stereotype actually hinders the process?
Has hiphop in your area been involved more in solving problems, or has it been used to incite people into further fighting?
Authors of Curriculum:
• Seth Markle, Assistant Professor of History and International Studies
• Davarian Baldwin, Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of American Studies
• Jasmin Agosto, Exec. Assistant of Sankofa Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium
• Jose Camacho, Director of the Underground Coalition and Zulu Nation 860