Many of us have become acquainted with something or someone that deals with race relations.
We celebrate Abraham Lincoln and his Emancipation Proclamation that declared freedom for slaves
We recall the moment Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial and shared his ‘Dream’ for an united America.
We acknowledge Rosa Parks’ courage to defy racial hatred and demand equal rights for all.
But racial relations have seen progress take a back seat in light of events such as Ferguson and Eric Garner.
But according to one particular person, if there is improvements in race relations, it can be accredited to music.
Jay-Z, the billionaire hip-hop mogul, salutes hip-hop music as serving to bridge the racial divide:
“Before, people partied in separate clubs. There were hip-hop clubs and there were techno clubs. Now people party together, and once you have people partying, dancing, and singing along to the same music, then conversations naturally happen after that.”
The rapper went on to explain that musical artists have a way of making others forget about cultural differences.
It’s very difficult to teach racism when your kid looks up to Snoop Doggy Dogg.”
Jay-Z argues that with the exception of MLK and President Obama, hip-hop has contributed more to racial harmony than most cultural icons.
While one can understand the perception that dancing and enjoying a club-like atmosphere can be appealing to many ethnic groups, it behooves us to give this a thorough evaluation.
It’s doubtful that President Lyndon Baines Johnson was persuaded by hip-hop when he tapped Thurgood Marshall to be the first black Supreme Court justice.
It’s highly unlikely President George W. Bush relied on the influence of hip-hop when he appointed Gen. Colin Powell as the first black Secretary of State.
In terms of immigration and what it means for the Latino community, can one really turn to hip-hop to determine if one can gain access to the United States?
In general, hip-hop is a conduit to entertainment and lifestyles, but it will take more than a beat and lyrics to make historic gains and meeting the challenges to today’s complex racial issues.