When I talk with many young people about the lyrics of the rap-songs that glorify the violence that has infected many of our urban communities, their response is that those songs are not part of the problem, but rather that they are just “keeping it real!” In other words, what they are saying is that the rap artists and the rap lyrics are not part of the problem; they are just telling it like it is!
But, even if they are just telling it like it is, or as they say; “keeping it real,” the very act of focusing on and glorifying the negative experiences of our urban communities is, in fact perpetuating the problem! The very act of “keeping it real” is what in fact, helps to keep it real! Now, I am not advocating we completely ignore the reality of the situation by closing our eyes and pretending that it does not exist. What I am saying is that I think there is no really positive purpose served in constantly verbalizing how bad things are! In fact, as I stated earlier, the more we talk about the way things are; the more we keep things the way they are! There is no solution to the problem in glorifying the problem!
So, instead of the rappers and the like, trying to “keep it real,” why not rap and sing about an alternate reality? In other words, instead of focusing, singing and rapping about the way it is, why not focus, sing and rap about the way it ought to be, or the way it could be? It’s just a basic human fact; whatever we focus upon, we attract and it expands in our life experiences! Rapping and singing about the violence in the streets breeds even more violence! It really is serving to “keep it” real!
Think about it! Why keep it real when you really don’t like the reality you have? Instead of keeping it real, let’s work on the dream of making a better society real! We can do that by no longer financially supporting the negative messages that are being broadcast on the airways. The average person thinks there is nothing they can do, but if the records, albums and CD’s don’t sell, the artists, producers and record companies will not make money! If the public decides to no longer tolerate and support the negativity on a massive scale and the radio stations find the moral courage to no longer broadcast toxicity in the name of art and free speech, I guarantee the messages will change!
You say, you’re keeping it real? Well, it doesn’t take much to talk about what is, but it takes insight, foresight, creativity and vision to talk about what ought to be and what could be! Why focus on keeping it real when the same energy could be better used to make a new reality?