rap music has always been a sub-culture of hip-hop music that is attacked by criticism from society for the way its content and over-all themes candidly contradict what is believed to be moral and righteous. Gangsta rappers have been giving out negative images of themselves as they degrade and disrespect the women and the black people in our society through the lyrics of their songs. For all the instances where they promote these negative ideas in our society, rap music becomes a negative social force. However gangsta rappers are tired of given this negative stereotype. They have started to change for the better as they start to do philanthropic acts that help prevent poverty and inspire others to do the same.
Born on July 6, 1975, Curtis James Jackson III (better known as 50 Cent) began drug dealing at a young age. He left drug dealing to pursue a rap career and rose to fame after releasing his album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ in 2003 – this made him realize how he could use his success to make a difference (Marcovitz 8).
When one hears the name ’50 Cent’, one brings about visions of a lavish, superstar lifestyle, as he is an aggressive enterprising person ever since he first found his feet. Now, he is in a position of power to make a real difference on a global scale.
... sex, violence, and drugs, which have a negative, influence and plague the music world. Rap music has always been under fire for promoting ... abuse and other things that society has rejected while on their quests. Children first used rap music in forming their group identity ... consider being young people rebelling against society or joining cults and worshipping Satan. Music has also been found to change ...
“50 Cent launched the G Unity Foundation, which provides grants to non-profit organization that work to improve the quality of life for low-income and under-served communities. He now looks to feed the hungry in Africa as he provides one meal for every shot sold of the Street King energy drink, which he has created” (“The Street King Story” 1).
Before going on to the arguments about gangsta rappers doing philanthropic acts, we must first understand the tradition of the African-American people of “giving back”. According to Tricia Rose, author of the book “The Hip Hop Wars,” African-American rappers have a powerful and long tradition of giving back to the community, which has helped them become who they are today (205).
In fact, Rose further says that according to a recent study conducted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, African-Americans give 25 percent more of their discretionary income to charity than do others of similar income. This is quite remarkable given the images perpetuated in some mainstream conservative circles of African-Americans as takers rather than givers (205).
This is very significant since from this, we can see that African-American gangsta rappers who do these philanthropic acts are not just doing it for fame but because they have a tradition of doing so.
Most gangsta rappers came from the hood, wherein they experienced poverty, depression and other societal problems associated with political disputes, drug dealings and unequal distribution of wealth (Rose 138).
After leaving that kind of life, they have found their footing and are in a position to make a difference. They feel that they are responsible to help others not experience what they have been through themselves. Some may point out that this is not necessarily true for all rappers as it is a fallacy of composition to say that this is true for every gangsta rapper, because in reality only a small percentage of gangsta rappers really do put an effort into making a difference in society.
Although not all gangsta rappers are making an effort to make a difference, I believe that we can never really change something in one shot. It’s like a ripple effect—if you want to make a difference, you need to first start with yourself and eventually, you will start to inspire others to do the same. In fact, in a recent article about gangsta rappers cleaning up their act, Lola Ogunnaike states that gangsta rappers have one by one started to cultivate their philanthropic side. They are not doing this just to change their image, but instead, they are sincerely trying to disperse the blessings that God has given them (pars 6-8).
For the past four decades or so African cinema has been construed by critics as a mode of film discourse that is understood historically but defined artistically: that is, a cinema concerned with information brought to light less by formal techniques than by an implicit world view. African films are presented as being African because they reflect African conditions, and critics have discussed the ...
This proves that, as Ogunnaike notes, gangsta rappers are tired of being viewed upon as gangstas that run around with guns. They want to show the people that they do have compassion and that they are also human beings (pars 6-8).
For often people only see the bad things associated with gangsta rap and not see the positives.
There have been a number of gangsta rappers who are already starting to clean up their acts and start their own charity works into helping others in their community. “P.diddy donates $2million for the children of New York city. Missy Elliot, on her single ‘Wake Up,’ raps ‘If young don’t got a gun, it’s all right. If you’re making legal money, it’s all right.’ Murder Inc., the hip-hop label, decides to drop ‘murder’ from its name. And 50 Cent saves his raunchier, more belligerent rhymes for mixtapes – sold on street corners and in specialty stores – releasing more restrained, radio-friendly singles for mass consumption” (Ogunnaike par 1).
They have started cultivating their philanthropic side and changing their image for the better. In fact, not only are they helping those within their community but also other countries that are experiencing extreme poverties and depressions.
Critics say that these so-called philanthropic actions that they are starting to do are just merely facades to make them more popular. Matthew Oware, author of “Brotherly Love: Homosociality and Black Masculinity in Gangsta Rap Music,” says, “The supposed expressed… philanthropy… may be mere facades. The feelings conveyed may not be real… Without actually interviewing each and every artist and questioning his true intent, how can we, the listeners, know the truth from fabrication?” (18).
The opposition is right to say this, since philanthropic activities is also a good way to earn money and be publicized to let the whole world know that you are doing good. But rarely do the gangsta rappers’ acts of philanthropy are shown in the media, as Tricia Rose states that people give very little attention to all the good things done by the artists. This contributes to a one sided negative portrait of the artists associated with hip-hop (202).
From cool jazz to Chicago blues, gospel to R&B, reggae, and gangsta rap. For a century, African-Americans, Blacks, Negro's and or Niggas, or (what ever label or category is decided this millennium), have been in the vanguard of recorded music in every style imaginable. Rap's origins stretch far back to African oral tradition; it has a more immediate predecessor in the spoken-word ...
In an article in Worth Magazine, Tricia Rose quotes Jermaine Dupri as he says, “It’s not about the bling. It’s just doing good for the hood. I think that’s the most important part of the whole situation” (qtd. Rose 201).
This is really significant, as I believe that it shows their pure intention to help prevent poverty. But is the way that they give to charity good? Tricia Rose raises a point when she says that “If black artists in hip-hop make millions of dollars pandering images that degrade black people and then give money back to the community in the form of charity to uplift them, aren’t they fundamentally undermining the spirit of giving back? Doesn’t this behavior mimic the manipulative pattern of an abusive lover… who insults and then showers his victim with gifts?” (210).
She then goes on to say, “It matters how [they] are represented and what images, ideas, and icons are endorsed and perpetuated. Philanthropy cannot undo what constant repetition in mass media reinforces” (211).
This is a very good point to look into since this connects their acts of charity to social justice. Benefactors of the money being given by the gangsta rappers think that that money being given to them is tainted and therefore should not be accepted. This might be a reason why gangsta rappers are starting to clean up their act. But in the end, what is really the importance of these acts of charities? Mike Skrypnek, author of the book “Philanthropy: An Inspired Process,” states that, “The real value of philanthropy is harder to see, yet often more important, is the effect on individuals who benefit from these acts of generosity” (99).
Gangsta rap, with all the negative stereotypes associated with it that lives on in the minds of the people, presents to society a form of music that certainly would be categorized as a negative social force. However, it is difficult to ignore the good will that it has given to our society. People often overlook the positives associated with gangsta rap and the emergence of philanthropy from it. What’s important isn’t the images gangsta rappers give out nor the publicity that the rappers could gain from this. What’s important is the net effect of these acts of charity has on the poor children suffering from poverty. Gangsta rap is therefore a positive social force as from it comes gangsta rappers that try to make the world a happier place to live in step by step.
Joan Morgan captured the aspect of misogyny from hip-hop artists in a compelling way. When she explained about her semi-abusive relationship with her boyfriend of many years, I felt how she might have been feeling. I felt this way because I caught myself doing the same things that he was. Not that I just outrageously or belligerently disrespected my girlfriend, I unconsciously say things that I do ...
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50 Cent-Created Energy Drink for Charity to Be Distributed by Pepsi. ARTISTdirect. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. .
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The Making Woodstock Joel Rosenman woke up on Friday, August 15, 1969, at 6: 00 A. M. This was the first day of what is now known as the most famous rock festival in history, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Joel, along with John Roberts, Artie Kornfeld, and Michael Lang, created Woodstock. Joel woke to one of the biggest traffic jams in history located outside The Pines, the hotel where ...