Hip Hop and the ‘I have a Dream Speech’

martin luther king i am hip hop magazine

We begin a ser­i­ous study of Hip Hop Kul­ture with Dr Mar­tin Luth­er King Jr. The phe­nomen­on today we know as Hiphop; our col­lect­ive con­scious­ness and com­munity, comes from a Love and force that mani­fes­ted dur­ing the Civil Rights Move­ment. There were many prom­in­ent lead­ers dur­ing this peri­od in Amer­ica and indeed across the world fight­ing for justice and civil rights. People such as Mal­colm X, Rosa Parks, Steve Biko, CLR James, Myles Hor­ton, Josephine Baker, Jo Ann Robin­son and many oth­ers gave Hip Hop the cul­tur­al found­a­tion to become the world­wide uni­fy­ing force it is today.

Dr Mar­tin Luth­er King Jr was renowned baptist min­is­ter, act­iv­ist, human­it­ari­an, and lead­er in the Civil Rights Move­ment, known for his civil dis­obedi­ence eth­ic and non viol­ent act­iv­ism. On August 28th, 1963, he gave his fam­ous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. This event led to the actu­al­isa­tion of our Hip Hop Nation. We know accord­ing to Dr King, 1963 was “not and end, but a begin­ning”. Though, even to this day, we are still a young civil­isa­tion, it is true that Hiphop has met “phys­ic­al force with soul force”. The cre­at­ive expres­sion of Hip Hop and its five tra­di­tion­al ele­ments, along with its four addi­tion­al ele­ments is a pro­jec­tion of this soul force.

I AM Hip Hop magazine has count­less examples of this soul force in the vari­ous art­icles, reviews, inter­views and art pro­duced by vari­ous people from the Hip Hop com­munity.

Mar­tin Luth­er King Jr.’s speech was ori­gin­ally inten­ded to be delivered in a pre-writ­ten form, yet, when Mah­lia Jack­son urged him to “Tell us about the dream” he began to tell us his mes­sage unscrip­ted and from the heart:

“I have a dream that my four little chil­dren will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the col­our of their skin but the con­tent of their char­ac­ter”.

This is how Hiphoppa’s get respect today. Hip Hop in its early days, and even to this day, is based on our respect­ab­il­ity, loy­alty and how we con­duct ourselves. As an answer­ing to Dr. Mar­tin Luth­er King’s speech, Hiphop became that uni­fied force that tran­scends race, class and nation­al­ity. Hip Hop is in fact all of these sub­di­vi­sions of human cul­ture, and none exclus­ively. It is with­in Hiphop that was are truly judged on the con­tent of our char­ac­ter.

“With this faith we will be able to trans­form the jangling dis­cords of our nation into a beau­ti­ful sym­phony of broth­er­hood” Dr King con­tin­ued his speech:

“Let Free­dom ring from the Stone Moun­tain of Geor­gia.”

“Let Free­dom ring from Lookout Moun­tain of Ten­ness­ee. ”

“Let free­dom ring from every moun­tain­side, let free­dom ring”

Thus begins the early days of Hip Hop. It was this gen­er­a­tion of the people grow­ing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s that pion­eered Hip Hop into its mod­ern essence. It is us who are con­tinu­ing it now. Though mar­ket forces por­tray a par­tic­u­lar kind of hip-hop image for sale value, Hip Hop today is a young nation of human beings from dif­fer­ent classes, creeds, cul­tures and coun­tries uni­fied in their meth­ods of cre­at­ive expres­sion artistry and shared con­scious­ness. One could ima­gine Hip Hop to be Mar­tin Luth­er King’s Prom­ised Land today. Those of us who live Hip Hop’s Ovast­and­ings and per­ceive ourselves as Hip Hop know it to be so. Hiphop­pas are truly free to be them­selves.



You can listen to Mumia Abu Jamal on Mar­tin Luth­er King here :

Guest: ShaoDow — IAHH Radio Show by I Am Hip-Hop Radio Show on Mix­cloud

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Vish ShvaOne

Vish ShvaOne

Vish is an Emcee, edu­ca­tion devel­op­ment lead­er at the Hip Hip His­tor­i­an Soci­ety and recently, co-dir­ect­or of Every Per­son is Cap­able. He works on Hip Hop com­munity mat­ters and lives to uplift people.

About Vish ShvaOne

Vish ShvaOne
Vish is an Emcee, education development leader at the Hip Hip Historian Society and recently, co-director of Every Person is Capable. He works on Hip Hop community matters and lives to uplift people.

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