Dr. Martin Luther King has been dead for 55 years and today his life is still a bench mark in what the fight for freedom is about. As a living man he sacrificed his freedom, time with his family, and devoted his life to faith and to the pursuit of liberty, justice and equality. Since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was taken from us, he has been used not only to show who the blueprint of fighting for equality is. He is also used by white supremacists and racists as a character of staying under control of their power and reach. By misusing his words and turning his speeches into rhetoric for their agendas to control society, the truth of Dr. Martin Luther King has been sought after for many years since schools have not taught the truth of the man and his "I Have A Dream" speech is not taken into full account but used as a moniker of all people being together. Doing such a thing does not allow us to have a clear path to the understanding equality through the responsibility of reparations and restitution of what was taken from the people that are harmed by injustice in our country and the free world.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" (Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. 1963).
Hip-Hop was born 5 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as it help some of the principles he taught being peace, love and having fun between all people as told by Parliament Funkadelic as "one nation under a groove." People of different races and classes came together through song, dance, and more to enact the holding of hands and the practice of togetherness against a society that stood against the have nots and those without voices. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for the same people of all races and fought to keep America honest by how it treats the people of the country. Hip-Hop took those lessons and brought the fight to the mainstream in grand scale.
Hip-Hop has to fight racism in ways Dr. King never has to fight. He was labeled a communist and the society turned on him only to "love" in in death. Hip-Hop was labeled a fad and was to "die" in due time due to nonacceptance by mainstream America. The inner city "Blacks" and Hispanics were to be left to themselves as the new racism called "The War On Drugs", turned the communities of people in war zones of addiction, terrorism, and murder that was unseen in the 1960s when Dr. King was alive. Though he was not there to witness the horror of the late 1970s and the 1980s, Dr. King's message was still upheld by the people that saw his legacy as a necessary tool to bring hope and a light to the Hip-Hop community. Songs like Self Destruction, and We're All In The Same Gang were made to bring people to the war zones of inner city America.
When American states played their hands with not only waging war on the people off the inner cities, the heroes of the people were attacked. The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was passed as a nation wide holiday in 1986 and the fight against it was was waged well into the 1990s were Hip-Hop culture took a stand for the memory and memorial of Dr. King and his sacrifice. Pheonix, Arizona's Mayor Evan Mecham told the world that the holiday was made illegally and other states followed that trend with Alabama, Texas, and Mississippi following suit to not recognize the day or give people a day off from work. The Hip-Hop revolutionary group Public Enemy stood against this act of political hatred and made the song and music video "By The Time I Get To Arizona", as an answer back to the Mayor's words and the video was highly censored on MTV (Music Television) cable network. The video was a declaration of war against those that oppose to acknowledge a man of the people but instead have a celebration of Christopher Columbus and the genocide of people during Thanksgiving Holiday. The fight to have the celebration of Dr. King's life and legacy remembered is what Hip-Hop's mission from the beginning was which was peace, love and having fun in togetherness.
Hip-Hop came to represent Dr. King again when the Selma movie dropped in 2015. Common, and John Legend coupled with the cinematic flair of Ava Duvernay helped to bring the Dr. King legacy to a new generation of Hip-Hop's Culture. With schools not teaching the real history of this country and CRT (Critical Race Theory), taking Dr. King and his message out of the learning environment of our youth, Hip-Hop has to stand for him again. With the prejudice of today's mainstream saying Hip-Hop is all about sex, drug use, and murder we can say Hip-Hop has people making statements to push the positivity forward with artists like Nas, Jay-Z 's 4:44 project, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Lupe Fiasco, Talib Kweli and many others that still continue the lineage of Public Enemy, KRS-One, X-Clan, Wu-Tang Clan and more.
We at Heritage Hip-Hop honor Dr. Martin Luther King on his day to show the world we matter and his message still lives on. Dr. King's message was more than the I have a dream speech. He talked about the taking away of rights by the banking system, and the torture of the aboriginal people of America that was labeled negroes and how America owes the negro a blank check to restore was was rightfully theirs due to the gross negligence of fair treatment of the people that were here and built this country from it's beginnings till now. Hip-Hop is connected to God and Dr. King being a man of the cloth spearheads one of the foundational beliefs of Hip-Hop. The belief of being free. Free from oppression be it the society that inspires the lyrics or the labels that have people's lives and creativity under control. We urge all parents and the entire culture to learn and teach the truth to our future generations to up hold our culture and legacy so we are not erased from history or the minds of our future leaders in the making. Lack of knowledge of the past sets up our people for failure in the future. Let us remember what happened so we can protect ourselves and our world for the next people that will lead our children into the next era of life. Hip-Hop is everywhere including education and politics. We are God's people and Hip-Hop is our culture. Now it is reasonable and true to say Hip-Hop is world culture, so let's remember those that paved the way and take time to do something to ensure we never lose our greats, and ancestors that helped build our culture through their sacrifices of time, freedom and life to see us advance beyond where they were able to go.
Dedicated to the memory of Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. :