I’ve recently been catching up on WestWorld season 2 with the rest of my family, an HBO show some of you might be familiar with. My least favorite part of the experience is not the story itself but rather the many cliffhangers they leave you on at the end of every episode. I am so used to Netflix shows which I can usually watch all the way through which diminishes the idea of the cliffhanger. WestWorld however is forcing me to wait for the next episode and the suspense is enough to make me go crazy. When will they answer all my questions!?! Similarly to WestWorld, some of you may have been reading my stories which has ultimately lead to a cliffhanger. When we last spoke I put all my cards on the table and left the audience in a real life cliffhanger. Did I get the interview? What will happen in the next chapter of Andrew’s life? Does he have anymore ridiculous embarrassing stories about himself(Yes)? Well I wish I could answer all your questions, but sometimes the joy of the experience is the lead up to the climax of the story. I figure if this life didn’t have any suspense, we would be a very bored people group. So while I can’t answer your questions with an ending that is neatly wrapped up in a ribbon, I can give you more insight into what’s been going on in my head these past couple days.
I never wanted my intentions to come across as only selfish, I didn’t want anyone reading to think I merely used my gift of storytelling to get something I wanted. Instead I thought it would be a great intersection of my passions and my career goals. So, I just want to make it clear that my storytelling doesn’t end with the question of job search. No matter the result of this journey I assure you I am still committed to this passion for storytelling in my heart. There’s no easy transition to the topic of story on my mind these past couple days, so let’s just jump in: Hip-Hop.
I mentioned Hip-Hop before, it’s probably the thing I am most passionate about in my free time. I spend my free time listening to all kinds of hip-hop, I write my own lyrics, and believe it is the most powerful form of storytelling the world has ever seen. When I say hip-hop I am referring to more commonly known as “rap” music. To some of you it’s obvious, but you would be surprised at how many people ask me what the difference between hip-hop and rap is. A fair question indeed, so to settle the score, yes for our purposes they are one in the same. When the hip-hop movement started, the term “hip-hop” referred to multiple “pillars” of the movement. Rap, DJ, Graffiti, and Break-Dance. Now, it’s most commonly associated with the work of the artist, or rapping. These past couple days I’ve been reflecting on my purpose in life and how badly I want to do the work of sharing with the world the importance of hip-hop. So many people don’t see the music for what it really is. I’m not saying the music is perfect and I’m not saying you have to be the biggest rap fan to be socially conscious. Rap music however, is extremely unique, it’s a musical genre that started as a resistance movement against oppression and racism. The majority of people who make rap music are people who are and come from a people group that has been excluded from national conversations for decades. What better way to know how to help a people group than to hear their story? Rap music is a platform for the unheard to share their realty. Too often we want to go to places of hurt and try to insert our own ways of thinking towards a solution. It’s the same problem of America going to developing countries and assuming that what works for them will work for so many diverse countries. A lot of rap is criticized for the ways it glorifies violence and drugs but we fail to see it as the reflection of realty it really is. What a lot of rappers are talking about is their life around them. So we dismiss the music instead of seeing it for what it is, a story that needs to be heard. Now hip-hop is not perfect, it has its problems but the more we can give it an ear the more we learn about communities that don’t usually get heard from.
I could write about this for hours, but I won’t do that to you all. My point is to just get you thinking, the same way I’ve been thinking my whole life and especially these past couple days as I graduate and look forward to a life of serving others. My passion is in giving people a voice to share their story with the world, and the story that has struck my heart the most is hip-hop. Kendrick raps about life in Compton, 21 savage raps about Atlanta, and our very own Goldlink raps about DC life. They write about violence yes, but they also write about love, hope, and unity. They tell it how it is, and they always strive to see the people around them succeed with them. This music can’t be ignored, it is the most lucrative music in the WORLD. So the question is not, “where is the voice of the oppressed?” The question is, “are you listening?”