THE DIGITAL DIVIDE IS A TIME BOMB FOR AFRICAN HIPHOP

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The HipHop culture is very rich and HIGHLY INTELLECTUAL. From street codes to dance styles that pass out messages, in HipHop, information may be encoded in the way a person stares at you or throws they hands in a video and only a fellow HipHoppa would overstand, regardless of where they are from! In the graffitti element, we have messages encoded in graffiti paintings either directly or Indirectly and cleverly portrayed through the beautiful drawings in urban city walls….a borrowing from the ancient drawings found inside Egyptian pyramids. We have people that watched the Chinese Shaolin kungfu moves and cleverly mixed that with other styles to come up with breakdancing…….some people started talking like Mohammed Ali on the break beats of records that were being mixed with scrathes by Djs and thats a RAP! etc…..etc. Now it doesn’t matter whether one attended formal education or not! HipHop is AN INTELLECTUAL CULTURE OF INTELLECTUALS. This is despite the fact that most HipHoppas don’t give a damn about going to school or college! A famous quote of mine by Professor Ali Mazrui states thus….” intellectualism is a skill and a state of mind”.

See this………In HipHop, one is not illiterate but well educated and knowledgeable (look up the definition of education in the dictionary and meditate!)…….education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. Educational methods include storytelling, discussion, teaching, training, and directed research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of educators, but learners may also educate themselves. Education can take place in formal or informal settings and any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational……, so don’t feel insecure in anyway and start hating a brother or sista coz they attended formal education ( I have been a victim of this myself). People may comment, mostly out of ignorance,………..that the levels of illiteracy are quite high in Africa and that is why development is lagging behind in most areas, ultimately having a direct impact to HipHop!! Well…..this is where I beg to differ my friends. What is illiteracy first of all? This is one issue I like emphasizing to most students that I have had the opportunity of interacting with during the course of my service delivery to humanity. I BELIEVE THAT IN THIS GREAT WORLD THERE IS NOT ANY ILLITERATE BEING BUT AN IGNORANT BEING, YET IGNORANCE IS A CURABLE CONDITION THROUGH CIVILISED EDUCATION. The HipHop community is mostly ignorant and suspicious of the acdemic community while the academic community is also mostly ignorant and suspicious of the HipHop community, yet they can coexist perfectly! For example I have meditated this fact several times and came to the conclusion that if the Engineering Mathematics or the Chemical Biology and other subjects being taught in schools were mostly taught in our native languages, or even sheng that is being used in the urban streets, then these subjects would have become more interesting to people and we would be having many Doctors, Engineers, Professors etc all over the globe. If the Education system had room for more REALITY, HUMANITY AND CREATIVITY Lessons as well, it would have been one perfect system wouldn’t it?

In America they say that the largest population which consumes HipHop is the white Middle Class……Now, although HipHop is not racial, it is predominantly done by the black community, yet the largest consumer is the white fan!!!!……..See anything yet? Well, in Africa the issue is more about Class than it is about Race….We are predominantly a black race!……(and I am not a racist here)! This means that the divisions within most societies and communities in Africa are on the line of class and eliticism and not that of race.

HIPHOP MUST BE TAKEN TO THE WORKING CLASS IF WE WANT TO GAIN MATERIALLY FROM IT. THEREFORE, IT IS ADVISABLE FOR MORE HIPHOPPAS TO ENGAGE WITH THE WORKING CLASS WHENEVER AN OPPORTUNITY ARISES SO THAT THE WORKING CLASS UNDERSTANDS HIPHOP AND BEGIN TO FEEL THAT HIPHOP REPRESENTS THEM AS WELL…COZ WHEN THEY COME FROM WORK AND GO TO THE CLUBS, ALL THEY HEAR IS THE WHACK CRAP!!!!!

Brothers and Sistas! This is one issue that I have a very passionate view about. Let us be REAL here……..who do you think has that spending power to buy your CD??? Definately not the guy on the street corner who, sadly enough, may be living in a slum structure that has no electricity! let alone them owning a cd player!!!! In these times of extreme poverty, It would require someone earning enough income so as to allow them for conspicuos consumption, to buy your CD! How easily do we reach such people worldwide if not through the internet and the world wide web???

The reality here is this…we have a danger called the DIGITAL DIVIDE, which is defined as follows :

The Idea that you can seperate people of the world into two distinct groups:
Those that have acces to technology with the ability to use it,
those who do not have access to technology or are without the ability to use it.

The effect of the digital divide is the emergence of “THE HAVES” and “THE HAVE NOTS”.

The HAVES are characterised by the following:
They are found in cities.
They are people who have attended formal education.
People from upper income families.
More Industrgialised Nations.
Non-Minority neighbourhoods.
People without disabilities.

The HAVE NOTS are characterised by the following;.

Found mostly in Rural areas or urban outskirts.
People who have not attended formal education.
Lower income families.
Less Industrialised Nations.
Minority neighbourhoods.
People with Disabilities

In this age of Information and Communications Technology characterised by Electronic Commerce and Digital Marketting, this poses the GREATEST CHALLENGE TO AFRICAN HIPHOP!!!! The competition arena is very unfair here ladies and gentlemen!……How does a HAVE NOT effectively and efficiently promote their work on FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, TWITTER, REVERBNATION………ETC. The reality on the ground is that, it is quite challenging. HipHop is found mostly in the poor urban slums. In poor slums you find poor schools with poorly paid teachers who are not properly motivated. This leads to the children getting a poor education. With a poor education one is likely to get a poor paying job forcing them to live again in a poor slum and the cycle continues like that until “God shines the Light”!

And this is why I am telling HipHoppas to consciously begin collaborating and networking in exchange programs with local institutions of learning within proximity of their communities especially secondary schools, colleges and universities on various creative ventures that will expose the social entrepreneural opportunities that lie within the HipHop community so as to inspire students and their teachers or lecturers in the various proffessions such as Early Childhood Education, Primary and Secondary Education, Engineering, Software Development, Electronics, Sales and Marketting, as well as Public relations etc……to come up with programs that would streamline ceation of employment and eradicate poverty within the HipHop community through HipHop! We should make these people understand the global impact that HipHop has, and its lack of boundaries. BOTH PARTIES MUST LEARN THAT ON THE GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE, AS AFRICANS, WE ALL LIE WITHIN THE HAVE NOTS CATEGORY SO WE MUST COLLABORATE!

If we focus some effort on this, we shall be able to inspire some of the geeks that I have come across in the so called “academic alleys” of our institutions of higher learning, to use their formal educational skills and the intellectual knowledge shared by you, to develop information systems with interfaces and languages that even my grandmother, who never saw the inside of a classroom could overstand!! AMA????…….. My take is that they will respond positively if properly made to SEE the LIGHT.

RAP is now a category in the Kenya Schools and Institutions National Music Festivals , while KASPERSKY, maker of a world renowned antivirus software is considering pitching camp in Kenya due to its great creativity potential in the field of software development, after the innovation of mobile money transfer (M-pesa) worldwide!!!!!!….Who else is teaching these guys about RAP AND HIPHOP in they schools???……Grab the opportunity and teach to be taught!