Hoodie Up - movement or hipster propaganda?

First off let me say this- Nothing is going to excuse this dude fro murdering Trayvon Martin at all so before I get the angry pro-black crowd attacking me. You see because this isn't about him or George Zimmerman in as much as it is about our reaction as a people and a culture in hip-hop. You see racism still rears its ugly head but it isn't as pervasive and wide reaching as it once was even though heinous acts still pop up. Reverse racism- or black doing the same to whites as has been done to us all of these years- isn't right, though somewhat understandable.

My beef right now is with the hip-hop community because I swear if I see Wayne or Baby or Ross wearing a hoodie for Trayvon Martin I'm going to scream. Guys like this promote the type of imagery that people like George Zimmerman have fed upon and use to legitimize their fear and anger towards our people. Constantly claiming and trying to be the toughest, illest, killers ever known to man and be so uber-macho and ultra-aggressive that no one would question your tendencies to wear leopard jeggings. Meanwhile Common who actually does try to preach some type of positive lessons can't really get the mainstream exposure of Drake, who could be an inspirational figure but instead chooses to limit himself to crooning about acquiring material things and women. Look, it's alright for everyone to not be political or even positive for that matter, the bigger problem is when the vast majority of what is put out for mass consumption overwhelmingly represents one extreme side of the spectrum, it does a disservice to the community as a whole.

I've said this before about a lot of the hip-hop elite because my feeling is that they do not take seriously the plight of our communities. More interested in going to strip clubs than creating and promoting urban opportunities, and while that would not have prevented this latest tragedy, what it could do would be to promote positivity. Too many images on the news are of black on black crime for us to continue to follow them up by choosing to show the same thing an in it, taking pride in being seen as something to fear. As much as it doesn't excuse what happened, we can't realistically try to show and glorify this side of us, then be mad when it is 'mistakenly' or flat out wrongly applied to an innocent person. You cannot have it both ways. While judgements like this are obviously dangerous, those of us in the position to show a different side of our culture need to make it their responsibility to do so. In hip-hop, our desire to show our toughness at all costs is not the responsible way to behave and changes need to be made there as well in our everyday lives.

This is not an excuse for the murder of Trayvon but it is another example of an incident that brings to light our willingness to unite and act in only the most dire of circumstances when we seemingly ignore many of the every day issues that affect our communities. It's not just good enough to talk a good game, or to take your #millionhoodies picture if that's all you're doing. We have too much influence, too much money, and too many opportunities every day to show and prove in a good manner. In the end, that is all I ask, that we don't treat yet another tragedy as a flavor of the month where we make some empty gesture and try to ascribe value to it even though it doesn't do anything. So put on your hoodies, get out and vote, clean up the neighborhood, and work toward a more positive future not because someone told you to, but because you want to.


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