Hip Hop Panel Discussion- Liz Vieira
The discussion of the role of academics in hip hop and the divide between theory and practice were very enlightening to me because I am writing my honors thesis on the struggle between theory and practice for Cultural Studies. Professor Pate's argument that he wants to be the academic who is separate from the hip hop world was compelling to me. The importance of having people who are separate, external forces who "legitimize" the lifestyle is an area that is probably overlooked for many traditional theorists who only interact with other academics.
The discussion of how popularizing rap has affected its abilities to act a radical protest approaches the answer to my question about how a popular form of entertainment can function as a critique of dominant hegemonies. The struggle between "bad" rap becoming popular but introducing students to black tradtions and the historical successes of groups in promoting a message demonstrates that it has the abilities to subvert hegemonies. Important moments in hip hop history have centered on political activism, like "The Revolution will Not Be Televised" and Public Enemy. So it definitely has the ability to be a political mode of communication and the problem is that the dominant means have seized the same mode of communication, but the ability to use it in subversive ways is still potential.