Published: 23rd June 2011
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Hip hop has long been the poster child for negativity in society.Some of these images include the celebration of street warfare, drugs, promiscuity as well as the disrespect of women.

Another negative feature that hip hop has been accused of propagating is the use of foul language. Despite this though, hip hop has attracted a huge fan base globally. This begs the question whether the negativity associated with hip hop is not just one side of the coin. Even though it has been seen as largely negative, hip hop has had a myriad of positive effects on society.

One of these positive effects is that it has acted as a great unifier of diverse populations. It may have began as a subculture among African American communities but it is now a phenomenon of global culture. As a matter of fact, non black communities comprise seventy five percent of the global hip hop audience.

The fact that hip hop has crossed the cultural divide demonstrates its ability to unify millions of youth worldwide. This is reminiscent of a time when rock music was on everyone’s lips globally. The growth of the hip hop culture is prominent in the urban street style of dressing copied from hip hop artistes. The characteristic features of this style are baggy pants, caps worn backwards as well as expensive sneakers. Street slang used in hip hop has also become a global phenomenon. Street language which may have originated in American ghettoes has become a globally recognized.

Hip hop has also been vital in promoting social and political awareness among the youth. This has been done by the provision of a social commentary and promotion of political dialogue.

This is important in making the youth aware of the conditions they face in society and enabling them to discuss ways in which they can make a positive change in society. A few of the issues that hip hop has created awareness in are racial and gender discrimination, police abuse, voting and the importance of education. In relation to this, critical thinking which is an important skill is promoted among its fans.

Role models for the youth have also been borne of hip hop. This is mostly important for youth living in humble conditions. Most hip hop artistes came from a background of poverty and drudgery in the ghettos. Their making it in life by single-mindedly going after their dreams acts as a source of great motivation. There are numerous careers in the hip hop industry that can all serve as lessons for young people. Some of these positions are of producers, song writers, publicists, club owners among others.

The most important lesson behind these careers that one can step off the weather beaten career track and pursue their own unique dreams. It is important to weigh these positive effects before rebuking hip hop for being negative.

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