Hip Hop Culture
Have you ever noticed the similarities between hip hop dance and African dance? Has the rhythm In African drums ever remind you of hip hop beats? How about Minstrel shows and the purpose behind them: are they similar to hip hop shows today? There is in fact a strong connection between the three topics and the hip culture. Hip hop is full of excitement, unity, passion and controversy. These characteristics of hip hop would be non-existent if it wasn’t for African dance, African drums and the minstrel shows.
African dance was such an Important factor In everyday life to all African people. Dancing was a form of expression and a form of communication. African people danced everyday nonstop. Equation (The African) once stated that “the people of Africa are a nation of dancers, musicians, and poets. ” This statement, although it puts the people of Africa in one category, was ultimately true. African people danced for many occasions such as weddings, funerals, war, and childbirth and even to celebrate a child losing teeth. Although dancing in Africa meant unity and brought implies together the actual act separated people.
For instance, In the ring circle, which was the area African people would dance, married men, married women, young women and young men were separate. These groups were separate because it minimized any confusion between the groups. Usually men danced more aggressively and women more soft. A message of unity, yet separating people did not end in African dance this strategy carried on into hip hop dance. In the hip hop culture people dance to express themselves and it Is a form of communication. Hip hop dance Is an outlet for many people.
In the culture dancing constantly and consecutively with the music shows passion and Its excitement. In the hip hop culture today people dance for different occasions as well. Not necessarily for weddings and funerals but to put on shows or even battle through dance. There are modern day “ring circles” where people come together form a circle and people dance in the middle and people cheer them on and dance along with them. This art form has the exact same excitement passion and unity as the African dance. Whether Its African dance or hip hop dance the movement of the body and music go hand In hand.
African dance was accompanied by the sounds of hands clapping, feet stomping and the rhythm of the African drum. The African drum played a major part in African dancing because it provided the rhythm people would dance to. The drum considered the most important Instrument in African culture because it symbolizes the heartbeat of the dancer. Professional musicians known as Grits as stated In the packet “have knowledge and experience with ceremonial music, tribes history, and tortellini. ” These particular stories were told through the use of the drum. In hip hop culture the beat rhythm or instrumental to a song is very important.
It brings the song to life. Like the African drum the beat is to keep people moving and dancing. In hip hop there is usually a DC or an MAC who plays music or tells a story which Is similar to the Africans Grist. They set the mood and the tempo with music. The drum was Like a story being told and hip hop beats are no different because connecting to hip hop music today consider hip hop culture as a whole. The concerts, PI’ shows and the overall image of hip hop. How did it evolve to be what it is today? Perhaps the Minstrels shows played a part in this musical evolution.
Many years ago Minstrel shows are created by racist white people. These shows Newer created to humiliate black people. Minstrel shows showcased white actors in ‘black face” which is burnt cork on coca butter or black grease. They talked ignorant and in broken English and mocked the way slaves danced. These particular shows made more money than regular shows and became an instant hit. With characters eke Jim Crow, Mamma, Buck, and Picnicking. Shortly after the Minstrel shows took off some black people embraced those stereotypes and starred in minstrels in black face themselves.
They starred in these shows mainly for money and fame. Frederick Douglass says “the filthy scum of white society, who have stolen from us a complexion, denied them by nature, in which to make money and pander to the corrupt taste of their white fellow citizens’. These shows created controversy everywhere. Many people were talking. Controversy didn’t stop there when it came to black performers. Hundreds of ears later there still lives the same concept of black people putting on shows that embarrass the race but it makes them money and gives them fame.
In hip hop it is seen often with rappers. Many rap artist are the target when comparing to Minstrel shows. This is because some talk ignorantly or with “slang”, dress like thugs or pimps and act as if they don’t care about life. This lifestyle is closely related to the minstrel shows because it’s done for money and fame not for entertainment or unity. Author Ken Budget wrote in his article “Minstrel shows” that “… The setting has changed from idyllic plantation to the mean streets of urban America, the process remains the same… This quote basically states that the culture hasn’t really improved but it Just relocated. The events and topics discussed are still relevant today in hip hop. Dancing is still huge part of the culture and it contributes to its overall meaning. The African drum compared to the beats of hip hop is still very relevant because the sounds of the African drum are still used to this very day. Hip hop is greatly influenced by African dance and music. Also, Minstrel shows influence hip hop whether it is noticed or not here is still an underlying theme that continues to show face.