Hip Hop clothing gets beat down
I got an interesting email today about an article in the Washington Post talking about how “Hip-hop — the clothing, not the music — has taken a beating lately.”
The article went on to say that “the evidence was there Tuesday night in Detroit, when the city’s scandal-plagued “hip-hop” mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick, was reelected, but only after renouncing his affection for hip-hop and dramatically removing his signature diamond stud.”
First of all, for all those readers not familiar with Detroit politics, almost every mainstream article that refers to Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick as the “hip-hop” mayor. I guess because he is young, black, wears an earring, and probably listens to hip hop, he must be a hip hop mayor. I think this type of terminology is way out of bounds. Now I read somewhere that President Bush prefers to listen to country music but we don’t hear commentators refer to the President as the “Country” President George Bush, so why do we do it for Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick?
My point is that the same way Country music, cowboy boots, and big brim hats embody a culture that is associated with people who live in Texas per se, no one aspect (i.e. big buckle belts) of that culture can encapsulate the essence of the Country and/or Western lifestyle. The same holds true for hip hop and one earring and one non-traditional suit does not make someone hip hop.
Just last week though, our so-called hip hop mayor was contrasted with a suburban friendly opponent. It was amazing how many in the press were disappointed with Kilpatrick’s victory. But maybe if the press realized how much hip hop is an empowering force, they would know that being labeled as a “hip hop” was not necessarily a bad thing. This is not to say that hip hop has its problems because it does. But when we see Bush in a big hat, he doesn’t define Country music or the country/western lifestyle and when Kilpatrick wears an earring and wears Timberlands (I don’t know if he has some for sure) he does not define hip hop. But when people read stories about Mayor Kilpatrick, their views are clouded by this hip hop – ness, but I should save that for another post.
So let’s just embrace the fact that lifestyles and/or genres of music cannot be defined by something frivolous as how someone dresses.
Stay up fam,