It’s hard to miss the bright eyed, smiling faces of Hip Hop For Change advocates canvassing the Bay area streets. Besides their sharp and trendy logo blazing white on black hoodies, each canvasser has a pulse about them that lures you to a halt in front of their binders. Unlike other grassroots advocates who, despite their best intentions, sometimes spin a generic and scripted line to sell you on their charity or cause, each HH4C member creates their own unique rhymes about why the cause is worth supporting. Their passion and the truth they share about the music industry will encourage even young children (as I witnessed earlier this afternoon) to stop and give at least five dollars their way.
So what is Hip Hop For Change?
This guerilla style advocacy group, founded by Khafre Jay, has made it their mission to revolutionize the way hip-hop culture is shaping our society. In their outreach and campaigning work, HH4C shines a light on the behind the scenes corruption and negative stereotypes that mainstream music industry is filtering through pop culture. They support community building and events, promote local artists and teach youth how to express their own voice and creativity. Hip Hop For Change wishes to transform the message of hip-hop nationwide into one of “love, unity and having fun.” They are adamantly committed to preserving the purity of their cause and all donations and funding comes from community support. They write:
“HH4C is committed to operating outside of the systems that have degraded and appropriated hip hop culture. For this reason, we will never take government or for-profit corporate funding to accomplish our mission. This affords us the freedom to speak truth to power and to correctly identify agents of social injustice; however, it also means that our work is 100% funded by community support!”
Through my work with hypnosis and the collective unconscious, I have come to understand the direct effect that music, movies and mainstream media has on our belief systems and thus our actions and behaviors. The effort that these inspirational revolutionaries are making to change the way we think and act in the world is a perfect example of the new form of social justice and activism so needed in our society. Instead of complaining about the problem, they have formed the solution and are taking the steps to make it a reality in their own backyard. By reaching the youth at an early age and empowering them with the tools necessary to create their own beliefs and ideas about how to live their lives, they are making huge strides at reducing crime, violence, racism and hate in the world.
I encourage anyone who can to donate and support this incredible organization. Each dollar you give goes towards helping local youth and artists write a new song towards peace, unity and equality. Also, be sure to check out HH4C’s local radio show at KPOO. They broadcast jazz, reggae, salsa, blues, gospel, and hip hop music and give voice to low-income communities of the Bay area. If anything, a visit to their website or to their offices in Oakland will make you want to bust a rhyme, flip a beat and dance your passion in truth and justice for all.