Before my fingertips hit this keyboard to begin this post, I thought back to 1989.
Hip Hop’s Stop The Violence Movement, organized by KRS-ONE and Boogie Down Productions, released the powerful single “Self-Destruction.”
“We all agree tonight, all the speakers have agreed that America has a very serious problem.”
A quarter century later and only one aspect of that statement has changed. Now America has many serious problems — take your pick.
– There’s been a decline in our values.
– Common decency, and respect, isn’t so common neither is sense.
– Elected officials continue to deceive their constituents and solidify their own agendas.
– Police brutality continues killing off innocent people while backed by an unjust system.
– The recession is over? Cause the US economy continues to lag. Prices are sky high, but pay is sewer low.
– And more people continue to lose their lives overseas while their governments look to the US for help.
– Plus, there’s a growing terrorist threat in ISIS. Their attractive social media campaign and created rap music are recruiting naive people from this country, the UK and Canada.
To quote, the legendary, Marvin Gaye:
What’s Going On?!?!
There’s so much that needs to be done. But I’d like to go back to 4 values that were re-introduced to the Hip Hop generation. I think if we all focus on doing the best we can each and every day – we can, at least, make our lives less stressful. You and I. A little bit each day. It’s manageable and realistic. We can better serve humanity.
The first four were presented to Hip Hop by pioneer Afrika Bambaataa. Peace, Love, Unity and Having Fun. These values are the foundation of Bambaataa’s Zulu Nation, a Hip Hop awareness organization, started in 1977. Bambaataa used his influence in the streets, including the numerous relationships with gang members. Those connections along with his status in the Culture helped form a positive vehicle for countless, mostly, young people. Zulu Nation has reached international status with chapters in other countries.
Side note: In 1984, Bambaataa recorded a song with, the one and only, James Brown titled “Unity.” The song makes references to the other values while addressing socioeconomic and political issues. Their collaboration marked the first time James Brown recorded with a Hip Hop artist.
Although nothing is ever absolute, these values helped save countless lives through a cultural movement that had its share of challenges.
We should all strive for peace and not complicate our lives, or the lives of others. Our time here is short. There’s a saying I learned from my mother as a child:
“It’s easy to get into trouble, but difficult to get out of it.”
Love or, at least, simple kindness always makes daily living easier. Sometimes it may seem awkward, but it’s important to tell those people you care about that you love them. We never know when we may get another chance to do so.
Within our families, circles of friends, associates, churches, communities, organizations – an understanding of unity is essential. How many times have you heard, “Those people are unified, that’s why they get things done.” There are people among us who share similar goals as we do. Even if personalities clash, the concept of unity should always be practiced. When there’s a common goal in mind, it overrides any one person. Actions – not just words.
* Having Fun
Enjoying ourselves is one humanity’s deepest needs. When it’s done with others and is safe – it heightens the joy. It also has several positive health effects. For example, laughter is known to boost the immune system, relieve stress and strengthen relationships among other benefits. Maybe we can share a small joke, a helpful story, a smile with people – it’ll help brighten someone’s day change.
I added a 5th:
We all want it. And we should give it. The question: are we doing all we can to get it and receive it? Everyone deserves common respect as a human being. All hell usually breaks loose when there’s disrespect because someone is offended, their pride is hurt. Respect is a two-way street.
If we can all practice these values, each day, doing our part it’ll make our world safer and productive.