Can Hip Hop Help Save America?
The answer is yes. But we have work to do.
Later in this newsletter, new Hip Hop-centric books & events…
FROM THE E-DESK OF MANNY FACES
Peace and love.
It continues to be a troubling and confusing time in the United States, and since I have other projects that go deep into breaking down and challenging political and social issues, this place will continue to be focused on what I see as Hip Hop’s role in helping fix this giant mess of a Republic — and how we can help Hip Hop help us.
I try and connect these worlds often. After all, my own podcast is literally called “Hip-Hop Can Save America!”, though I often admit that the titular concept could be viewed as a bit… overly optimistic. Even the most ardent supporters of Hip Hop culture probably look at the intricate social, political and cultural divides in our country, and wonder how anything — much less Hip Hop — could ever significantly lift our nation out of the continuously-deepening muck and move us toward our true potential.
Then there are those unfamiliar with the depth and nuance of the culture and its participants, who probably only think I mean “rap music,” and laugh off the idea before it could possibly germinate in their minds. Even the most well-meaning, progressive-minded folks might brush aside my theory as simply clickbait hyperbole.
But the podcast and this newsletter exist to help all of those folks understand exactly what how I believe Hip Hop can play a role in the betterment of society — and indeed, how it already does.
See, the educators, teaching artists, counselors, therapists, entrepreneurs, business consultants, ad execs, activists, politicians, community organizers, spiritual leaders, inventors, programmers, DEI consultants, non profit leaders and so many others who have had deep, authentic exposure to all of the good things that Hip Hop teaches us, and choose to incorporate those characteristics into their lives and work, are out here helping make the world a better place every day — in very unique ways — and often, where so many others have failed.
They have the receipts. And I have a platform.
So, thanks to your support, their stories will continue to exist on the pod and in these e-pages, and I’ll keep sharing valuable information and promote important discussions that can provide some inspiration as to what the next 50 years of Hip Hop culture can, and should look like — centered on its unique and powerful abilities to help uplift and unite humanity.
Because I think it’s important we continue to expand our collective imagination, from jaded older heads who feel as if Hip Hop music and culture have strayed too far from social justice roots and community building potential, to those who are less familiar with Hip Hop culture and largely unaware of the brilliance and ingenuity that exist specifically within those who embody its ethos.
I hope this intrigues all of you, and that you’ll stay connected, share your thoughts, and spread this newsletter around. I’d love to see it grow and am working on ways to make it even more informative and interactive.
In the meantime, if you have stories or info you’d like me to share, send them by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or follow and tag me on Twitter (@MannyFaces & @HipHopAdvocacy), Instagram (@MannyFacesOfficial), Facebook (@MannyFacesOfficial) or TikTok (@MannyFacesOfficial) and I’ll be sure to help spread the love.
And if you or your organization want to know more about how to authentically connect to Hip Hop culture and its brilliant changemakers, disruptors, innovators and leaders, to help innovate YOUR industry, let’s talk about talking.
There are a bunch of new, very dope Hip Hop-centric books on the market I thought y’all should know about. Successful Hip Hop book sales will lead to more Hip Hop folk getting book deals, which I selfishly would really appreciate since I’m working on two and could use a good book deal myself 😄… But I digress. Go buy these books!
Hip Hop Heresies centers New York City as a space where vibrant queer, Black, and hip hop worlds collide and bond in dance clubs, schools, roller rinks, basketball courts, subways, and movie houses. Using this cultural nexus as the stage, Shanté Paradigm Smalls attends to the ways that hip hop cultural production in New York City from the 1970s through the early twenty-first century produced film, visual art, and music that offer queer articulations of race, gender, and sexuality.
In this book, author, adjunct professor of sociology, and former therapist, Shanita Hubbard disrupts the “ride or die” complex, and argues that this way of life has left Black women exhausted, overworked, overlooked, and feeling depleted. She suggests that Black women are to susceptible this mentality because it’s normalized in our culture. It rings loud in our favorite hip-hop songs, and it even shows up in the most important relationship we will ever have—the one with yourself.
“Nowhere near famous but still infamous,” Psalm One is a legend to rap nerds, scholars, and “heads,” and has gone on to work with the brightest names in rap and have her work celebrated and taught around the globe. In Her Word Is Bond, Psalm One tells her own story, from growing up in Englewood, Chicago through her life as a chemist, teacher, and legendary rapper. Intrinsically feminist, this story is a celebration of the life and career of one artist who blazed the trail for women in hip hop.
Deep In The Dark With The Art: Conversations With The Creators Behind The Best Cover Art From the Wu-Tang Clan and Their Killa Beez Affiliates is 36 chapters celebrating the creative offerings from Wu-Tang to the art community. With interviews from over 36 cover artists and designers – and chapter interludes with a variety of industry-leading influencers, academics and icons – Deep In The Dark is over 230 pages exploring the artistic and creative process of the best, most celebrated, most artistic Wu-related cover art.
Contact the author here for purchasing info (with 100% of profits going to More Than Words - a Boston-based nonprofit bookstore for at-risk youth)
Ice Cold: A Hip-Hop Jewelry History presents the bling culture of rappers and their jewelry. Using 40 years of iconic imagery and compelling stories, this visual history shines a light on the world of hip-hop, where mega stars from Run-DMC to Tupac and Jay-Z to Migos and Cardi B flash brilliant custom pieces to show status and personal style.