Tonight I was discussing hip-hop with a co-worker, not simply the great names who dominate the commercial industry, but the origins of purpose ingrained within the art itself. The roots, which sink so deeply into history are an evolution of community sharing of experiences through the medium of story. This medium was then harnessed into a vehicle of resistance against injustices leading to a modern form of political speech. It may, perhaps, be difficult to fully appreciate these roots given the commercial, disposable nature of today's hip-hop culture, but for those who choose to see it can bring forth a fresh appreciation for the genre.
I recently watched a documentary on Netflix detailing the history of the conflict between Northern and Southern Ireland. In this documentary the key focus was upon how murals painted onto buildings denoted, much as typical graffiti does today, unofficial territory markers. Different militias used artwork as propaganda to rally locals, and to intimidate opposition paramilitaries.
I am constantly in a state of awe at the innate reflections of the Creator which spring forth from our individual being, despite our callous indifference to the divine which I simultaneously lament.
In spite of our best efforts in favor of all out rebellion our spirits remain resilient in the face of our nature, and defiantly proclaim the creative in the face of the destructive. Art is creation. Its purposes can be twisted, but there is no doubt in my mind that as we were created by a Creator, our purpose as image bearers is betrayed by our tendencies.
In the face of oppression groups band together, share song, art, spoken word, touch...all as natural to us as breathing air, because it is our true nature. Obscured and confined, desperately fighting to be restored to the forefront of our being. We are creative beings. We are not meant for destruction, decay and isolation.
That is why we find the stories of the brave, unarmed innocents facing down the dogs, batons, fire hoses and bullets of the oppressor without being daunted so inspiring. We long deeply for justice and victory over darkness. We are inspired to move through the natural abilities we are given to create. These are our weapons in the face of overwhelming odds.
This is the resilience within us.