Friday, March 23, 2012

Historical rift between hip hop and the Black Church

by Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil

The generational divide is nothing new.

Youths, wanting to set themselves apart from their parents and grandparents, adopt new styles, ways of speaking and even music.

In the African American community today, the Black Church and hip hop culture represent the two ends of this generational rift, says Emmett G. Price III — but this chasm goes deeper than it has in previous decades.

“No previous generational divide has been as extreme, volatile and destructive as the present divide between the Civil Rights Generation and the Hip Hop Generation,” Price writes in his new book, “The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture: Toward Bridging the Generational Divide.”

In this edited volume, Price, a professor of music and African American Studies at Northeastern University, calls for dialogue between the two camps, the only way he thinks the black community can “move forward together.”

The idea for his book emerged when Price noticed that young people between ages 18 and 40 were “missing” from the Black Church and that the same demographic was increasingly identifying with hip hop culture. “So many young people leave the Church at age 18 because it’s ‘old school’ — it doesn’t recognize new methods and new means of expression,” explained Price, who is also an ordained minister. “If the Black Church was more vigilant toward what was going on in the community, then it would have been more receptive of embracing the young people.”

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