Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hip-Hop, Authority, And Relationships

On Wednesday, Frostburg State University hosted an event called Bust It Open. This program was designed to explain the history of hip-hop and its correlation to the roles that black males play in relationships.

Dr. Derrick Jenkins
This photo was taken from
the  University Of Cincinnati

Dr. Derrick J. Jenkins was the host of the event. Before starting the event, Dr. Jenkins went through his quick background. He began by telling us about his personality when he was a boy. Being the only boy of four, he described himself as the surrogate husband to his mom. Yet he then went on to say, "Authority really wasn't my thing." Which ultimately lead him to military school. (His reasoning for going to this school was that he saw the logo and like the sword that was part of it.) However, Jenkins didn't really like the environmental since all military school is authority. He went on to go to the University Of Cincinnati where he majored in African American studies.

While in college, he and a couple of his buddies decided to join fraternities in order to meet new people. He later went on to talk about how some of these frats that they joined seem to always be at war with each other. "It was the Best and worst thing I've done." What he learned most from joining a fraternity was the role of identity. Jenkins described identity as creating or mirroring an identity created by popular culture. Which is how we segued into the identity created by the popular culture of hip-hop.

Before talking about hip-hop he asked the audience what a "ratchet culture" is. The audience collectively agreed that these days a ratchet culture is described as ignorant or "ghetto" people. This then lead to the mini-history lesson on the word ghetto and how these days it has been used greatly out of context. When we talked about ratchet culture, Jenkins steered the conversation to the context of hip-hop music and how it can represent a ratchet culture.

"Does hip-hop influence relationships or does it start in the home?" This was an exercise created by Dr. Jenkins. He told us to stand in three sections to express our answer to the question: Agree, Neutral, Disagree. Out of 20-25 people, only 4 people disagreed that how you act in relationships was based on how you were raised and not lyrics. Tony Mancuso said, "It starts with how you're raised. It's through experiences, not music." However, the opposing side had a lot to say. They came to the conclusion that hip-hop is a culture in itself. It forms the way we think. "It started as music or genre to voice oppression." Chris Inskeep was very adamant when explaining that hip-hop was originally how African Americans voiced their opinions and their likes and dislikes. Listening to those likes and dislikes eventually become our likes and dislikes.

The idea that hip-hop is a culture and it affecting our feelings is a prime example or media priming. Media priming is when any mass medium starts to affect our thoughts and feelings. Media Priming is how you decide you have a favorite music artist or actor. While influence does start in the home, it also is affected by anything watched, listened to, or read. Think about the information you're taking in people!

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