In light of recent shocking police brutality incidents in the USA towards young black men, I began to think about this so-called fear and threatening perception other races have of young black men globally. The media’s negative portrayal which spills into real life fears. London took a stand itself and staged several marches for justice supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. A movement which stands against police brutality, its purpose is to unifying against racism and senseless killings of the black man.
Reflecting on the Urban Hip Hop culture as a whole and analysing the contradictions between the fear of black men and the global love for hip hop culture, an extremely influential culture which derives from black culture and led by black men. The Grime and Hip Hop culture has a lot of facets to it from fashion to lifestyle, music and the language spoken. I began dissecting the contradictions between the fear and the influence which is ironic, people fearing something they imitate in all aspects of their lives. It is an unfair stereotype and label which paints the grime/hip hop culture as violent and bad influentially towards the younger generation, but then again it is also copied across the spectrum. The UK Grime & Hip Hop culture has grown immensely in the past few years, and continues to grow with artist such as Skepta, Stormzy, Chip, Krept & Konan, Devlin, Wiley, JME etc. selling out shows across the UK and Europe.
Strangely statistics show that the biggest buyers of grime & hip hop music are Caucasian. They do not only purchase but they also make up the overall audience at popular Grime and Hip Hop events/concerts such as Eskimo Dance and Culture Clash. If you put this in perspective black people only make up 4% of the UK, which is a minuet percentage of people but the influence is greater than those numbers. As previously mentioned, Hip Hop and Grime culture is more than just music, often pigeon held to individuals just rapping about ‘Gangs; Girls; Cars; Drugs and Alcohol’. Those types of stereotypical perceptions are what hurts the culture as a whole and puts a negative stigma to those unfamiliar with the reality, that is why the narrative needs to be spread with truth and knowledge. The culture as a whole is a compilation of music, fashion, food, sports, the barbershop, the youth, neighbourhoods etc. The way we dress transcends globally for example London fashion trendsetters Trapstar influencing legendry artists such as Jay Z and Rihanna and plenty more. And that is only one aspect of the culture. Globally renowned festivals such as Wireless allowing the likes of Skepta to headline, Glastonbury having the likes of Stormzy, Section Boys and BBK-Skepta etc is just another example of the growth within the culture. Grime and Hip Hop culture is here to stay, and it continues to grow and influence every aspect of people’s lives regardless of race either directly or indirectly. The language you spew, the way you dress, the way you do your hair, the music you listen and so-forth, that is Hip Hop.
North London based rapper Skepta is a huge testament to the growth of the industry, he has influenced a new generation of youths by being himself, not conforming to what’s expected, and his formula has worked extremely well.