Hip-Hop isn't just American
Two weeks ago I attend the intelligence² debate at the Barbican, London. The event hosted by Google+ featured a star-studded panel with pioneering hip-hop artists such as KRS-One, ?uestlove and Q-Tip speaking alongside esteemed professor of Africana studies Tricia Rose, civil-rights campaigner Jesse Jackson, and more. The group debated the motion:
Hip-hop doesn’t enhance society, it degrades it.
Although it was hosted live in London, not one current UK hip-hop artist was present on the panel. This was the first mistake – what about all the socially conscious UK artists such as Anglo-Iraqi MC Lowkey? As the discussion ploughed on, it centred solely on commercial American hip-hop. The inspiring Egyptian rapper Deeb was on the panel but wasn’t granted much mic time and the central role of hip-hop in the recent ‘Arab Spring’ was skimmed over entirely. Similarly no one made reference to the popularity of hip-hop anywhere else in this great big world of ours. There’s no denying it, hip-hop is a truly universal phenomenon and the debate missed a great opportunity to consider it on a global scale. Next time I’d like to see artists like Sister Fa being invited to speak. Hailing from Senegal, the skilled artist, rapper and activist, is popular in the countries closely followed scene and has harnessed her fame to campaign for an end to female mutilation.
Here is a clip of Sister Fa in action. The lyrics are about the hardships of life in the Senegalese countryside for a woman.
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