Blog # 2-there is no censorship in this blog.

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So I've been thinking a lot about class last night. I left with a weird feeling in my tummy and tons of questions. I think a good theme for this blog would be censorship and the impact it has on one's perspectives. I can say that my eyes were opened to a completely different perspective after watching the DAM video for "Meen Erhabi." One of the most striking parts of that video for me was at the end with the man talking about how his olive trees, that had been there for hundreds of years, had been plowed down. It is almost like those trees could represent the Pakistani culture and the injustice that they have dealt with.

I know the question arose whether or not Pakistani rap would be considered hip-hop and I think it does. I youtubed DAM and another song that I liked was "Born Here." Among the many powerful lyrics was a line alluding to the fact that nothing in this song is censored. I've often thought that hip-hop songs that you hear on the radio and TV weren't 100% hip-hop since they are censored and listeners aren't hearing the full message of the artist. But now after listening to DAM, I think a lot of America's mainstream hip-hop is just a fucking joke. These guys don't have millions to spend on clothes, dancers, and sets for their music videos. They are wearing street clothes and shooting in their own neighborhood, and I feel that the message is much more powerful because of that. I feel that the "spirit" of hip-hop is about struggle and so much of the mainstream music has forgotten about that. It's really quite sad that groups like DAM aren't being played on MTV (unless MTV is doing a True Life on Pakistani rappers: I checked and they aren't.) I feel groups like DAM can really open the eyes of people and change perspectives that have been brought on by censorship.

p.s. here is the video for DAM's "Born Here.

4 Comments

The readings from this week and especially this video make me think of another struggle going on in the Middle East, in Iran. During the obviously rigged elections in the country last year, there was a lot of protesting going on especially among young people in the country. There was also I video that became famous surrounding the elections of a young woman protester being killed. The video became famous because it was posted on Youtube.
Censorship is a lot harder in the 2000's because of the internet. Not only in rap music but in political revolutions, people can post things on the internet that can be seen around the world even when their countries government tries to censor them. As I was watching the movie in class on Wednesday I thought that that was a great result from the internet. A class full of young Americans can learn about the injustices that are occuring half way around the world because you can't successfully censor on the internet. And it's also great just to be able to hear hip hop music in this way also.

It's easier for America to censor hip-hop than in other countries for two reasons. First, you gotta remember that some nations, such as Palestine, just got into hip-hop. It would be take years for the government to even figure out what rap is yet alone censor certain lyrics. Think of the birth of hip-hop in the States. It took media corporations almost 25 years to consider censorship in rap lyrics.

Also, hip-hop is accessible to EVERYONE in America, especially the children. Thus I would understand why American media corporations would censor more words or phrases than media outlets elsewhere. I don't think hip-hop has reach that level of accessibility yet in the Middle East.

I have to agree that the video footage from last week was very eye opening. I found myself later that night going on youtube as well to see if there was anything else out there from DAM. I even had one of my roommates listen to "Meen Erhabi", and he thought it was very interesting as well. I think how they use hip hop to express what is going on all around them makes for a very powerful message.

As far as American hip-hop goes with all of the censorship and how the media decides what can be put out to the public. I think it would be hard to put music out without censorship due to all the listeners and the backlash that would be associated with some of the strong lyrics in hip hop.

Our hip hop is different now because no artist in America is going through anything like DAM. Our artists can still have many struggles, but it is a much different type of situation. I feel as though when one is pushed down and tried to be silenced that they need to find a way to overcome and have a voice, and I really respect how DAM and others have found a way to say what is going on.

This unit has really allowed us as a class to see how other communities and cultures are impacted through what we define as Hip-Hop. DAM made a point in the video we watched to let us know all of their influences adn what opened their eyes to this breed of artistic expression. However, what the most significant thing is how they put their own challenges and life struggle into their music.

What I thought was very amazing was the fact that they started their art in english because that is how they discovered Hip Hop, but realized it was silly and were able to make fun of themselves. This is where I believe they truly created an art, when they switched from expressing there lyrics in english to preforming them into there native tongue. In my opinion that was where the class took their music to heart the most.

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