Fox news pundit Geraldo Rivera was not a fan of Kendrick Lamar’s fiery performance at the BET Awards, which took place on Saturday, June 27th. For the second time this year, Rivera reiterated that Hip-Hop was worse than racism.
He cited images like a burning vandalized cop car in front of the American flag used on the show, and the content of Lamar’s lyrics (we hate po-po, wanna kill us dead) in the song “Alright,” as inflaming a riot.
This is why I say that hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years,” said Rivera
However, Lamar’s lyrics and performance has more to do with living in a culture where police brutality is commonplace, circumstances for brown and black youths are dire and dealing with the struggles of choosing street culture versus God is a daily battle in a society where people of color are mistreated.
But does Rivera have a point about the content and imagery used in hip-hop?
On “New Visions Commentary“, a site for conservative African-Americans, the blog presents similar arguments as Rivera. New Visions mentions hip-hop’s “themes of braggadocio… defiance of mainstream… [and] gaudy symbols of success,” as hurting the advancement of African-Americans.
Young African-Americans and hispanics are constantly bombarded with these depictions. Yet, what Rivera doesn’t say is how major corporations and big labels fail to show the “social conscience” side of hip-hop, or promote hip-hop music about religion, activism and politics, modes of thoughts from many musicians that rarely makes it to the radio.
If anything, Kendrick Lamar‘s work does not exemplify the themes that Rivera or New Visisons claims, instead it tries to subvert them while still embracing the imagery that is familiar in the hip-hop culture.
In the very beginning and throughout “Alright,” Lamar says that despite how difficult the street life that him and many young blacks and Latinos have to face and sometimes succumb to, with God everything will well…be alright.
Alls my life I has to fight, n*%%@, Alls my life I…, Hard times like, ‘God!’, Bad trips like, ‘Yea!’, Nazareth, I’m f–ed up, Homie you f–ed up, But if God got us, Then we gon’ be alright” – Kendrick Lamar (Alright Lyrics)
Here is a description of the song courtesy of Rap Genius:
Kendrick attempts to capture the post-depression moments where people are able to ignore their problems and comfort themselves with the idea that’ll be alright in the end. Once he looks past what he believes to be his failures, he is able to accept the fact that this is still all part of God’s plan, and that’s what is going to help him get by. If he repeats it enough it could possibly numb him from the pain and help him enter a positive mind-state.”
The music video for “Alright” was released yesterday, if you haven’t seen it for yourself, check it out and tell us what you think about it.
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