Over the last couple of weeks, a lot of controversy and discussion has swirled around Azealia Banks and the positions that she has taken along with how she taken them. We, as artists, educators and community leaders would like to recognize and honor our Sister Azealia and Brother Q-Tip as they work to clarify both the current state of and historical struggle of Hip Hop. While many are turned off by the raw nature and passion of Ms. Banks, we find her position refreshing, enlightening and illuminating important conversations around cultural ownership, appropriation and exploitation. We stand in solidarity with Azealia Banks, Q-Tip and all those who defend the integrity of Hip Hop and Black Culture.
Last year, Hip Hop Congress in association with Move to Amend launched a campaign called, “What the Bleep Happened to Hip Hop?” (Short answer—The corporate commodification of what began as a liberatory art form happened to Hip Hop). This campaign was launched only moments before Ferguson, Eric Gardner and the ever timely #blacklivesmatter campaign. The purpose of this campaign was to lift up Hip Hop’s roots, original purpose and potential, as well as identifying the poisonous and ruinous effect that corporate capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy has had on this cultural manifestation. It was also to identify and address the continued intentional whitening of Hip Hop by often white, wealthy, male corporate executives.