Hey yo homies! Ya know, I feel lucky to be born in a time as today where we snoop and seek for peace in everything through people, cultures, experiences, situations, books, movies and much more. I watched this movie Freedom Writers. And oh my gosh!! That teacher’s zeal to change a bunch of kids facing racism starts with Tupac’s song “Keep ya head up”. By the end of the movie it almost felt like hip hop declaration of peace where those kids realise what’s right for them and shape their lives as per. If anyone’s not yet watched this movie, dig in manh! It’s dope!
Tupac once said in his English class, “our raps, not the sorry story raps everyone is so tired of. They are about what happens in the real world. Our goal is [to] have people relate to our raps, making it easier to see what really is happening out there. Even more important, what we may do to better our world.”
And that’s how it should be, ya know. It’s true that Hip Hop portrayed it’s good as well as bad side to us but that doesn’t define why it was formulated. Hip hop WAS, IS and WILL always be about peace, love, unity and having fun. For this message to reach out far and loud, our pioneers created something amazing called Hip Hop Declaration of Peace. Hip Hop gained recognition as a world culture when this declaration was accepted by the UNESCO on May 16th, 2001.
What does the Hip Hop Declaration of Peace state?
Many of our pioneers have their share in creating this pronouncement that states 18 principles for the headway and preservation of hip hop culture. Definitely we are discussing them here but if you wanna go through the Hip Hop Declaration of Peace then drop in HERE. And now let’s get diggin’ these principles in the proclamation.
Understanding of “who we are”
The first principle talks about the concept of collective consciousness that refers to a set of shared beliefs, behaviours, ideas and knowledge common to a social group. Here, Hip Hop is that collective consciousness or lifestyle which all we hiphoppas follow and spread out through the 9 elements – Breakin, Emceein, Graffiti Writin, Deejayin, Beatboxin, Street Fashion, Street Language, Street Knowledge and Street Entrepreneurialism as mentioned here. These elements are the pathways to understand “who we are” and “what are we here for”.
– (1st Principle of Hip Hop Declaration of Peace)
Avoid violence by abiding by the laws
In an era where we are inflicted by various forms of injustice due to the unnecessary social and political separation within communities, countries and cultures; violent actions can easily manifest in our minds. But Hip hop teaches us peace and asks us to respect and abide by the laws, commitments and agreements of the culture, country and institutions in order to avoid war or any acts of non-violence. Thus the 13th principle states, “Hiphoppas are encouraged to consider forgiveness and understanding before any act of retaliation.” So cool na! Every individual in hip hop has suffered from some violence. But like Wu-Tang clan believes more violence is never the answer to violence. We gotta be aware and prevent it.
– (3rd and 13th Principles of Hip Hop Declaration of Peace)
Living with freedom and social justice
Many of our blogs state hip hop to be an Afro-American culture, but that is only for educating us about our history and knowledge. Thus, it isn’t a country, caste, creed or colour based cult because when we scan through the hip hop culture NOW; we see people with social, financial and cultural differences and yet we meet and greet each other with respect. Hip hop has become an international culture “for and from everyone” and thus influences globally. No form of hate, hypocrisy and discrimination is promoted by the culture, instead it focuses on spreading love, equity, faith, social freedom and justice.
– (2nd, 11th and 12th Principles of Hip Hop Declaration of Peace)
Relationship and Ethics
We all prioritize our relationships, don’t we? We hold our family, friends and work colleagues on high. Nurturing these relationships with ethics like honesty, trust, respect and love is what the 10th principle states. Absence of cheating or abusing in any relationship is going to uplift the state of minds and certainly the world too. The culture thus states to be honest amongst each other at home, hood and work.
The idea of crews in hip hop stands strong on these principles. And that’s exactly how hip hop has reached millions of people. Relationship ethics lead to a sense of belongingness and love and thus hiphoppas share resources freely and frequently. With the above rights to freedom and justice, hip hop culture teaches us about our duties towards the social welfare.
– (6th, 10th and 17th Principles of Hip Hop Declaration of Peace)
Prosperity and Elements
Hip hop has hella rich set of elements that show us a path to financial prosperity. According to the 7th principle, these elements can be used to gain power, money, honor, respect, food, shelter, information and other resources but that doesn’t mean that Hip Hop culture can be bought or sold. It isn’t a product. As mentioned above, it provides us with mere roads that bestow us the ability to define, defend and educate ourselves. Such an ability encourages, develops, preserves, protects and promotes a hiphoppa to always put forth his/her best work and ideas.
The 7th principle states, “Hiphop is the priceless principle of our self-empowerment. Hiphop is not a product.” And that’s why I feel it is very important for all the hustlers to know the 8th principle as given, it states –
“Companies, corporations, non and not-for-profit organizations, as well as individuals and groups that are clearly benefiting from the use, interpretation and/or exploitation of the term Hiphop, (i.e. Hip Hop, hip-hop,) and the expressions and terminologies of Hiphop, (i.e. Hip Hop, hip-hop,) are encouraged to commission and/or employ a full-time or part-time certified Hiphop cultural specialist to interpret and answer sensitive cultural questions regarding the principles and proper presentations of Hiphop’s elements and culture; relative to businesses, individuals, organizations, communities, cities, as well as other countries.”
I mean no offense to anyone here. But my point is, if you are doing so or intend to do so then kindly ask for a hiphoppas assistance in terms of knowledge, terminologies and other expressions. Quality is held high in hip hop than the quantity which could benefit you as well as the hiphoppa since he/she has built their art with great experience and hard work. This way the economy, productivity, awareness and placement opportunities increase a lot for everyone. Hiphoppas as well need to take an initiative on their part to educate and forge opportunities for self-employment and empowerment.
– (5th, 7th and 8th Principles of Hip Hop Declaration of Peace)
Duties to the Nature and Humankind
The 14th principle explains that hiphoppas are encouraged to speak up against injustice and address social issues that trouble the mankind. In the same way, it is our sacred duty to pay our respects to and look after Mother Nature, all her creations and dwellers. I guess, we haven’t acknowledged this yet globally. We are all very keen and alert about our rights and duties for our kind but I guess it’s time we do the same for all the beings of Earth and address the environmental problems. I think, hip hop would be the coolest medium to do such awareness campaigns. This could be the least we all can do for our mother planet! Don’t y’all agree?
– (14th and 15th Principles of Hip Hop Declaration of Peace)
Passing down the heritage
We all acknowledge that all about hip hop we know today is because of our pioneers, teachas, elders, ancestors and many such contributors. It is through various remembrance days that we can celebrate, honour their work and pay them respects by passing this legacy to the new generation. The hip hop culture thus holds many such good hoods like The M.A.S.S. at Temple of Hip Hop who can teach, promote, modify and defend these principles. Check the video for more.
– (4th, 9th, 16th and 18th Principles of Hip Hop Declaration of Peace)
Important people and days
This proclamation was signed by various organizations like Temple of Hip Hop, Ribbons International, UNESCO, 300 hip hop activists, UN delegates and pioneers. Along with KRS-One many other people like Afrika Bambaataa, Pop Master Fabel, Harry Allen helped in creating this declaration of peace.
The day of it’s acceptance is May 16th, 2001. Some other important days that were announced then were as follows:
Hiphop Appreciation Week – 3rd week of May
Hiphop History Month – November
Rap Music Day – May 3rd
There are could be many such days when we can celebrate and honour all the hip hop contributors. But first, I so wanna thank them all. Thank you to all our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers for such a wonderful efforts.
This blog I felt was too long, but you know what it was necessary. Our pioneers have worked a lot to give us all a better life. The purpose for which they toiled so hard must gain fruits. I am sure not many of us were aware about this. WERE YOU AWARE OF THIS DECLARATION? It’s time, we empower ourselves and everyone. Let this message reach out far and loud. Long live hip hop!
Happy deciphering until the next time we meet!