Saturday, April 26, 2014

Moving the Culture Forward

In order for his escape to be successful, he had to get to a free state where slavery was abolished. He gained the help of two men James Smith and Samuel Smith, one was a black man and the other was a white man who owned slaves. He paid these men $86 to get in contact with an abolitionist in Philadelphia named James McKim. The plan was for Henry Brown to hide inside of a box and be shipped to Philadelphia. This box was three feet long, two and one-half feet deep, and two feet wide. Henry, inside of the box, traveled 27 hours by wagon, railroad, steamboat, ferry, and finally a delivery wagon before the box arrived in Philadelphia. James McKim received the box as a delivery and when he opened it; Henry Brown jumped out and began quoting the book of Psalms. He was later given the nickname “Box” (because he hid in a box). Henry “Box” Brown didn’t stop at just being free; he became a speaker and spoke all over the world telling about his great escape.

Many rappers today remind me of Henry “Box” Brown because they feel like they have to hide in a box, in order to escape their surroundings. Unlike Henry Brown, their box isn’t a physical box – it is a mindset, a stereotype, and a pre-packaged image. Many rappers feel as though record labels and consumers will not support them unless their content matter and image reflects the “typical” rapper’s image.  I’m here to say that, first of all, you are bigger than any image or idea another human being has of you. God didn’t put you on this earth to live up to another person’s image. He put you on this earth to live up to HIS image. Secondly, you will never move the culture forward as long as you stay stuck in that mindset. There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your story, what you’ve seen, grew up around and where you come from. But, what is the moral to your story? Are you discouraging those things or promoting them? Do you know the difference? I support rappers (who have the talent for rap) because I believe that rap is an entrepreneurial endeavor and I love that, but I believe that many rappers stifle their own growth and cut their potential short by limiting their thinking. If you truly want to advance the culture, advance yourself. Expand your thinking and your experiences. Invest in yourself and your knowledge, become a well-rounded human being, and expand your business ventures. In the process, you and your music will become better. When your music becomes better, the people who listen to your music will become better and, then and only then, will you truly move the culture forward. Slavery is over homeboy, the revolution is here.

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