Hip-Hop Freedom of Speech or Social Irresponsibility

By Dr. John Hamilton


Hip-hop has been mentioned as the medium, which we can identify the pulse of the people.  This pulse is recognizable with many social movements (i.e. Black Lives Matter), social commentary, drug sells to drug use, the objectification of women, and politics.  Hip-hop has taken a stance of freedom of speech.  However, some of hip-hop forgets the lyrical social responsibility.  Many will argue their lyrics are not for everyone.  Nevertheless, the lyrical content is spread to the masses with the assistance of “the machine.” 


According to the legal dictionary, Freedom of Speech is “the right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction.” I believe hip-hop should be the governor of their lyrics.  It is power in the tongue.  We need to examine the power of the tongue. Hip-hop can either lead the masses to understand themselves, information to change communities, political processes, and education.  Or, hip-hop can annihilate urban society with the lack of sensitivity to challenge our communities to return to “the village,” change the trajectory of our young boys, and challenge the establishment for equality and equity.


The vehicle of Challenging Minds aims to confront “the machine” and hip-hop to do and be better.  We know we will not get many likes or double taps for our challenging words.  Nor will we receive many words of encouragement for the positivity we deliver giving the world the constructive side of hip-hop and a safe place for dialogue. 


The question remains, will hip-hop continue to use “freedom of speech” as an excuse for social irresponsibility? As hip-hop continues to evolve, I believe our commitment to social responsibility should evolve as well.


In the words of Chuck D, “If you don't think I'm a brother, then check the chromosomes…"

Post Author: Challenging Minds

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