Panel Discussion Reflections - Amanda Palazzo
I will admit that rap music and the hip-hop culture is not something that I actively pursue and consume. With that, I was somewhat skeptical that the panel discussion â€œHip-Hop Culture and American Politics: Past and Present,â€? was going to be something that held my attention. Despite my trepidation, though, I found the panelists, Alexs Pate and Melisa Riviere, knowledgeable and informative, and their discussion interesting and thought provoking. They provided a different prospective to the world of hip-hop than that in which I was familiar (i.e. the â€œgangstaâ€? stereotype) and made me understand the history and motivations behind this music and culture.
In preparation for the panel discussion, I prepared a question to be answered by the panelists. My question was regarding the overwhelming popularity of hip-hop music amongst the white populace. I was curious to find out what the draw was for this demographic, as it concerns issues that might not be relative to most. In addressing this question, Prof. Pate stated that it is harder to trace urban purchasing of hip-hop music and products, because it does not take into account the bootleg copies being produced and other indiscernible ways of consuming this product. For white consumers, with more of an expendable income, information on their purchasing habits are more easy to come by, as their purchases are usually made at large retailers, on the record. This explanation seems to address discrepancies in the product consumption records, but does not explain why there is such an interest in this music, by this demographic.
What both Prof. Pate and Prof. Riviere mentioned that might explain this interest, is the way hip-hop music and culture â€œbrings people together.â€? They stated that rap and hip-hop is used when people want to resist and that it is essentially a rallying call, a means for people to gather and provide a united front against their oppressor. This explanation shows why not only white audiences, who may be fighting their â€œoppressorâ€? on a more local or personal scale, but audiences the world over, have been drawn to the powerful medium of hip-hop music.