By Rachel Taylor
The hip-hop community is calling for us to come together following the Zimmerman verdict — not in protests or riots, but in positive civic engagement and love. Wyclef Jean and rapper Prodigy sat down with Sway on yesterday’s “RapFix” to discuss Trayvon Martin, the rap industry and where we go from here.
Wyclef says we have the power to make the change. When asked how celebrities can use their voices positively, the singer said, “You see, the real celebrity is you. … You give me the power and you make me famous … so imagine if you took that same energy and decided that you wanted to go change a law in congress.” The hip-hop veteran says guns are not the problem; mentality is. “The first thing we need to do,” he told Sway, “is huddle as a community and say, ‘how can we start showing each other more love?’”
There’s been a slow but noticeable shift in hip-hop from glamorizing guns to saying they’re not a good look. Twenty years ago, Snoop was rapping about gangs and his guns. Today he says, “No Guns Allowed,” and it’s even earned him a VMA nomination for Best Video With a Message.
Prodigy is an example of the shift in the industry. The legendary Mobb Deep rapper was arrested on gun charges in 2003 and 2006, but he says now he feels it’s his duty to speak on how progress can be made in the rap community and in society as a whole. “People need to learn the law, learn about politics, focus on what’s important,” Prodigy says. “If we galvanize and put our thoughts together and put our energy into legally trying to make a change … that’s where it starts. That’s the only way it’s going to change.”
So where do we go from here? To schools, libraries, and local political meetings. “Start with the man in the mirror,” Prodigy says, “If everybody does that we’ll be a little step closer to a solution.” Check out Wyclef’s performance of “Justice (If you’re 17)” below and take action in our widgets below.
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