Every Picture Tells A Story: “Breaking Barriers”

by JT on December 9, 2011

Hip Hop music, created in the South Bronx and since has evolved into a culture that has reached the farthest regions of the world.  It’s a culture, a way of life.  The music isn’t the only representation of this.  Graffiti art and break dancing were always synonymous with the essence of Hip Hop.  From the very beginning it was about the music, art, and dance.  At the time, all were new forms of expression that would forever alter the course of musical history, as well as my own.

I remember listening to NAS “It Was Written” back in 1996.  To me there was nothing like it.  The gritty storytelling and intelligent lyrics that transcended any hardships I may have been going through in middle class suburbia at the time, but it stuck with me.  Did Hip Hop music make me want to get into a profession that helped at risk youth?  It certainly had an influence and for that I am forever thankful.

Since the “Golden Era” of Hip Hop, I feel it has been on a downward slope, with some glimpses of hope at times, but one thing that is apparent is its influence on society in a positive way.  Hip Hop music, dance, and art are being used to expand the creative minds of our youth.  Organizations like B.E.A.T. are using break-dancing, beat-boxing, and beat-making to teach children in schools throughout NYC.  Graffiti and other forms of “street art” are being used to spread positive messages of hope, build community, and give artists a chance to display their work without fear of breaking the law.

Arguably the most positive influence is its effect on other cultures.  I’m not talking about the effect it has had on popular culture to where the masses are being manipulated into thinking some forms of music are deemed “Hip Hop.”  Or how television has brainwashed many into thinking they need to act or dress a certain way because that’s “Hip Hop.”  I’m talking about the photo above titled “Breaking Barriers.”  A B-boy in the foreground, people from all walks of life, the majority from different states and countries, in the background.  All smiling, in awe, experiencing joy for this moment in time.  Breaking barriers.  That is Hip Hop.  Everyone in that photo is Hip Hop!  I, a goofy white boy from New Jersey, am Hip Hop.

25% of the proceeds from “Breaking Barriers” go to B.E.A.T. (Bringing Education and Arts Together).

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