Bridging the Gap: Hip Hop and Techno's Shared Activist Roots
Posted Jul 16 2008
Slide 17: Afrika Bambaataa's influence went beyond one record. His organization The Universal Zulu Nation was developed for community development. I've used his imagery and language several times as an entry point to discuss the political power of music. The African ties are obvious, but I've also discussed his anti-gang work and significance of his fashion.
Slide 18: Yup, fashion and stereotypes. On dress alone, does Bambaataa's crew have more in common with The Village People or contemporary mainstream rappers? There are so many ways to go with this one, including self-expression and stereotypes.
Slide 19: A discussion of how music reflects society. The first pic is of the Temptations and Motown at its height. The focus was more on defying the stereotype of ignorant, dirty, uncultured African Americans by being even more fashionable, articulate, and well-mannered. The second pic is to show the changing emphasis on individual expression and Black pride, including afros, as well as pushing social boundaries in public settings.
Slide 20: It's a mistake to play this music, and the different approaches in the Civil Rights Movement, against one another. They're intertwined efforts for change that were also interdependent.
Slide 21: When I say hip-hop music didn't exist, I meant that you couldn't run to a store and buy a tape or record. It was created and drew upon various sources, recontextualizing this material to create something new.
Slide 22: There are countless responses to those who think that hip hop is the only music to build upon or recreate older music.
Slide 23: This clip is so layered that it doesn't require much explanation. However, the intro has some swearing so be mindful when showing this in class.
Slide 24: I didn't show this clip, but could be useful
Slide 25: Most students I work with don't "breakdance" and there are countless local dances. At a deeper level, one could discuss definitions of hip hop, but at a basic level, students relate more to "newer" street dances. As I teach in Oakland, I often referenced a style of music called turf dancing. This particular clip features The Architeckz, who've turned their skills into a business.
Slide 26: I like to compare "new" dances with older dances so there's historical context. Very useful opening activities in my history classes.
Slide 27/28: This an example from Detroit known as "jit," which I trace backwards (see following slides).
Slide 29: I didn't use this in my presentation, but has been useful in my classes.
Slide 30: If this one's purpose isn't clear, watch JB and his dancers, then go back and watch the previous clips.
Slide 31: I didn't show this clip, but since "jitting" comes from the "jitterbug" it's a useful clip.
Slide 32: Besides his footwork, the song itself is a useful talking piece about drugs and social vices that hip hop gets blamed for.
Slide 33: No notes
Slide 34: I didn't show these clips, but they show how 1)cultures influence one another or 2)similar practices develop independent of one another so who can claim "ownership." This has been useful in the sense that while I often focus on the African and African American roots of these examples bring up commonalities across ethnic lines.