by Fatra Hussein
(This article was originally published on the South End Stories Youth Blog.)
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BLACK?
It means that people hate you for your skin, your Afro hair, your style, for the way you walk, for the way you talk, for the way you live. You are hated for no reason at all. Being Black means seeing those you love gone at the hands of a police officer. Being Black means starting to fight for your justice when you’re only a kid. But being Black also comes with the amazing stuff like strength and beauty and our food. It comes with also learning that our skin color is our armor that protects us, so even if the world hates, we love back. Being Black means when the world pushes you down, you get right back up. It means fighting and never giving up. Being Black means having this amazing power that helps you push through everything the world puts you through. Being Black means seeing the worst but hoping for the best. But most of all, being Black means keeping your head up no matter what and NEVER EVER GIVING UP!!
Continue reading What Does it Mean to Be a Black, Muslim, Oromo Girl?
by Beverly Aarons
Crumbling brick buildings litter a once thriving business district. Two-story homes blackened with soot sit boarded up and abandoned. Children find pipes and needles in sandboxes. Twenty students share five books in a freezing classroom … no heat. No food tonight, just too expensive. No new shoes — wear your older sibling’s pair and line the holes with newsprint. This is America: Late ‘70s and ‘80s. To be clear, this is America’s urban ghettos: Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, and yes, even Seattle. One generation earlier, much of Black America fled the vicious Jim Crow south seeking safety and opportunity in the north only to find itself pinned into economic wastelands with no capital and little opportunity for growth. And it is within this context that hip hop was born. During my interview with Daudi Abe, a Seattle Central College professor and the author of Emerald Street: A History of Hip Hop in Seattle, he shared his thoughts on hip hop and its political and cultural impact.
Abe, who was born and raised in Seattle, teaches a class on the history of hip hop at Seattle Central College. Most of his students are in their late teens and early 20s, and they have a hard time understanding the context from which hip hop was born, he said. But context is key to understanding why hip hop survived and thrived while other music genres such as disco faded into history.
Continue reading Seattle Author Daudi Abe Explores Hip Hop’s Political Roots and Seattle Rappers’ Cultural Influence