Music: it affects our emotions, conveys our ideals, and often takes on a life of its own, turning itself into a culture for a generation. A modern example of this is the “Hip-Hop” culture that has invaded our radio stations, our advertising industry, our clothing stores, and our culture in general. It has long ago transformed from a fad into a way of life. It involves the entirety of our nation’s younger generation, from all races and walks of life. What started out as catchy music has turned into an assault on the morality and dignity of our nation’s youth.
Hip-Hop culture can be found everywhere: from Super Bowl halftime shows to voter registration drives. The music is energetic, witty, and easy to like -I myself have been a big listener- but what exactly is it that this culture is teaching us? What exactly is it telling us to place importance on? When you start to look beyond the thumping beats that make you bob your head, you start to see a picture of a world of misplaced values and absent of integrity.
The music tells us to treat our women like sexual objects. It tells us not only to do drugs, but what kinds of drugs are the coolest to be doing. It tells us to go far beyond disrespecting authority and the law. The culture tells us that your worth as a person is determined not by what lies inside, but what articles of clothing and jewelry shroud your body.
What is happening to a generation of youth that is sadly buying into this message? What kind of people are we creating by brainwashing impressionable youth into believing if they someday drive a Bentley they will be somebody? What effect will it have on our family structure if today’s youth carries the notion of sexual disrespect towards women into tomorrow?
At its very core, the Hip-Hop culture stands as a direct attack on some of the things our country should value most. The Hip-Hop culture has declared war on traditional American ideals. The ideal that someone like Sam Walton can drive a pickup truck and be pointed to as a pillar of success. The ideal that a man like Ronald Reagan can love and treat his wife as a queen and be looked at as an American icon. The ideal that an empty person wearing nice clothes is only an empty person wearing nice clothes.
Many in our country dance to the music in clubs, listen to it in their cars, and watch the videos on TV; but unfortunately not enough can hold it in perspective and not let it change who and what they are and hold dear.
Don Donelson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.