Hip Hop Can Help Prevent Domestic Violence
- February 20th, 2009
- 3 Comments
Even though we are all very aware that domestic violence exists, it sometimes seems to take an entertainment/gossip headline to make people think critically about serious issues. It’s almost like no one thinks about it unless everyone else is talking about it. And right now everybody, especially teens, are talking about Chris Brown and Rihanna.
Until recently both young pop stars had been receiving a lot of attention for their positive influence and making headlines for their talent. Conversely, hip hop culture has been accused of having misogynist portrayals of women that may contribute to domestic violence in urban communities (a lengthy discussion has ensued over at Ill Doctrine). I’d say both images are in need of an update, and young people can learn some valuable lessons in the process.
If Chris Brown, marketed up to now as a “good boy” with a squeaky clean image, could reveal such a dark side, maybe teens will start to recognize that not “all that glitters is gold.” Even the perfect couple on campus may have their share of issues.
Of course, the only way to make sure that this message gets across is through raising awareness and activism. Enter the
The Family Violence Prevention Fund, which launched a teen campaign that we’ve mentioned before on Ypulse called ThatsNotCool.com. The campaign focuses on digital abuse: disrespect, threats, and pressure from someone you’re dating via mobile devices, through chat rooms or instant messaging, on social networking accounts, and the like. The website for the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, LoveIsRespect.org, also provides a Teen Dating Bill of Rights and Pledge to help teens understand their right to be in a healthy relationship among other things.
This episode may also prove the catalyst that the Hip Hop community needs to directly address the issue, and become the solution rather than the alleged problem. If Hip Hop is able to generate masses of young voters for the recent election, can’t it do the same for domestic violence awareness and education? KRS-ONE, Minas da Rima, Flex, and the PUBLIC OFFENDERS are just a few hip hop artists whose lyrics openly educate and spread awareness about the negativity of domestic violence. Hip Hop was the answer in 1971 when a gang peace treaty was signed in the Bronx. Homicides and violence were replaced by huge parties where battles occurred only on a microphone, dance floor, turntables, or walls of graffiti art instead.
As sensationalized as domestic violence has become because of Chris Brown and Rihanna, young people need to be reminded regularly by both the media as well as influences closer to home that this happens all around us all the time, but there is always someplace to go and someone to talk to when it does.
P.S. The Ypulse Youth Advisory Board is working on a collaborative vlog on the subject of teen dating violence. We’ll keep you posted when it’s live on the Ypulse YouTube channel.
Gynae is Ypulse’s new Urban editor. She currently works with The Cipher Project in Austin. She’s also been involved in Better Hip Hop Bureau Austin and is currently in training to be a Lonestar Rollergirl, which has a program for young girls called Austin Derby Brats.