Hip Hop has taken our South Sudanese youth for a nightmarish ride. In East Africa and in the diaspora, the social media is fully loaded with these youngsters trying to be rappers Drake and Kanye West. Every now and then, you are almost certainly going to find them promoting all kinds of music on facebook and twitter. Let’s face it people; at the end of the day, not all of us can be great Hip Hop artists. Some are way more gifted than others. If you are not a natural born musician, then how are you going to reinvent yourself to become one? If all our youngsters want to be like Lil Wayne and Kanye West, then what are they going to do when they come face to face with their black Americans cousins, who are already well cemented into Hip Hop culture, three decades before none of them came into this world?
The competition is going to be costly stiff and stressful. The music business is a sort of a calling. It is meant only for a selected few, who have the passion to make career out of it; some are meant to do something else with their own lives. One thing that many of us gets blindfolded over and fail to see clearly is the wealth accumulation of the United States. The USA is filthy rich through and through. When the Hip Hop music started to take root in the early 1980s, America was already wealthy enough to welcome it to the fold. When a nation has enough economic resources to spare, then it frees the majority of people to spend more of their income on such entertainment needs, such as music. South Sudan and black Africa in general, are grossly poor. Our youth are better off spending their little highly esteemed time on something beneficial to their welfare. For me, it is not how they dress, that sends chills to my spine; it is what they do with their time. They are free to go to the mall wearing bikinis and underpants; who am I to dictate how they freely express themselves; I am yearning for democracy to take center stage.
The case of our youth in the diaspora, turning to gang cribs and what have you, is quite tricky. In the diaspora, our youth are closer to our black Americans youth and the media. Our black Americans cousins have been in the gang game for close to four decades now. In places like Australia, media is easily accessible and openly available to the mass public. So our youth are vulnerable to societal contamination from any given angle. They could easily get influenced and fall prey to gang-related activities.
Every human race loves their own kind above everyone else; so it is this racial love that gets pass onto racist white Australian or white American police officers. They see as us blacks as some sort of invasive species; purely telling us that we are not part of Australia or the United States. It is not that all white people are bad, or that all Asians are bad. There are greater number of good people in every race of our humanity. Racial pride is what that gets blown out of proportion and taken up by white police. Racist white police officers see black people as offenders of an already established order; while, on the other hand, they see their people as these sweet, innocent victims that need constant protection from their law enforcers. These same white police think they are the maintenance of history, where white supremacist ideologues of the days gone by, were the norms. In other words, they still think that blacks will always be inferior to their white specimens.
Our youth whether they are in East Africa or diaspora, should take it easy with Hip Hop culture. Our black Americans cousins have a long distorted history of inequality. Their ancestors didn’t start on an equal footing with Caucasian Americans. These are people who throughout their history have been intentionally kept at bay in every sector of socioeconomic development. They will fully and eventually recover as a people as time goes on. They have been vulnerable throughout their history; so when Hip Hop culture started to take off through rap and R & B music, gang violence accidentally took over. I once asked a black colleague of mine at work about whether gang violence is nearing its end with black Americans. This dude laughed it off and said, “it is never gonna end.” “In the jungle of Africa, there is always one lion that always wants to take over and become the ultimate alpha lion, the same thing applies in the hood,” he continued. My response was: “What if at the end of the fight, this alpha lion succeeded in killing off its competitors, who is going to respect its domain when everyone else is dead and gone?” This hood mentality is scary and heart-breaking at best. Our ghetto youth have a dilemma. Those they have remained behind are fighting off abject poverty, and those in diaspora could easily run into evil-possessed white police.
Now everyone has turned on Deng Athiak Adut, a South Sudanese lawyer, who has been bailing out our youth who had ran afoul with the law in Australia. Deng recommended that each and every youth who doesn’t want to stay within the domain of the rule of law must be returned to South Sudan. Mr. Deng is right on the money with that recommendation. Who in his/her right mind would allow his/her people to rot in jails, not to mention how the jail custodians and law enforcers are going to treat them while in confinement? Anyone who has been following police brutal acts against the South Sudanese community in Australia in the last four years knows the reason why.
I must admit that this young generation know how to swag; in other words, they have style and they are in the game, following the latest fashion trend. Having said all that; the question that has been nagging me to ask them is this: Where do our black youth see themselves, compared to their whites, Latino and Asian counterparts? Aren’t they at the very bottom of the pecking order?
As a people who are living in abject poverty, our youth shouldn’t be busily preoccupied with getting to the top of the rap game. The ghetto lifestyles of our black brothers in Chicago and Los Angeles is not a culture of progress. There is no such thing as a black on black crime. All black people whether they are Darfur, Bantus, West Africans, Pygmies, or Nilotics; we all descended from the Khoisan people of Southern Africa. These are entertainment endeavors we should leave to our future generations to contend with. Had our nation been well off; I would have recommend our youth to make their own movies and act in any Compton gangsta way they like; but no, we are too poor to spare any change for entertainment purposes. Anything negative that our youth hears on the latest rap music video shouldn’t be taken as the latest hottest thing to work on; any juvenile should just let it pass and work on things that matters in his/her life.
By Apioth Mayom Apioth
NOTE: the opinions expressed herein are entirely for the Author of this article. The Upper Nile Times have no responsibility on the contents published here.
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