This is a guest post from Author Wesley N. Chase regarding his new book “As the Chasm Grows… The Black HipHop and Black-American Cultural Contrast” available on Amazon here.
Author: Wesley N. Chase (author name)
Affiliation: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
‘Community’ is an all-encompassing word that holds several different definitions depending on an individual’s perspective. The purpose of the following is to create a stable platform and a more focused debate within the Black Community about the breakdown of cultures that bind us together. A quick aside; while the proper terminology is oft-debated whether to use the label Black-American or African-American, let me say that I’m fine with either, but I prefer Black and Black-American when referring to my race/culture which falls under the overall Black Community that lives in America.
Outside of the basic terminology used, the previous sentence contains a critical distinction that must be understood when reading the following. There is the Black Community as a whole that exists in America and the various cultures of Black people that make up our community. These cultures are primarily represented by and include Black HipHop, Black-Caribbean, Black-Latino, Black-African and of course Black-American. Each one of these cultures is unique in their way and brings different ideas & cultural methodology to the table.
The primary focus of this book is to examine Black-American culture on one side & Black HipHop culture on the other in addition to how we all work together within the Black Community. While many will exclaim both Black-American and Black HipHop culture are the same; separation in this manner has become necessary to show the differences in the two cultures that have been confusingly intermixed.
For at least the past fifteen years, Black-American culture has been pleading that we engage in a conversation in America about race. I assume that discussion will mainly be between Blacks and Whites concerning the best ways to eradicate aspects of our society such as racism, in addition to attempting to ensure we are all operating on the same level playing field. Upfront, I will tell you the following text is not that conversation; this is not that book. I look forward to hearing from the person who wants to start that conversation or write that book, but I’m choosing to start by talking to each other within our Black Community; specifically with those who identify directly & solely with Black-American culture.
We have a tradition in our community that has placed a heavy emphasis upon the style that issues are addressed; but not enough priority regarding how to go about resolving these issues. Our community has become too enamored with who can describe our plight in either the most poetic terms or the most forthright/curt manner; as opposed to words that bring forth concrete plans to move forward. There are too many individuals within our Community that engage in blatant attempts to sabotage the ideas of another by creating a verbal miasma that disparages any course of action that doesn’t immediately end with us being in a dominant position. This is when the idea of what is perfect becomes the enemy of what is good or more accurately, the enemy of progression.
Perhaps the path to moving ahead is to ensure that we are developing and testing our ideas within our specified cultures. This concept allows us to tweak and retool plans without acquiescing to defeat and scrapping ideas that may bear fruit for our overall community to advance; hence these ideas need to be adequately developed and given a real opportunity to succeed.
It is necessary that I state the following is not a conversion project. If you are Black and are a proud representative of HipHop as your foremost culture, this book is not an attempt to tell you that you are wrong or that you should consider solely representing Black-American culture. Instead, this book is an effort to gather together those of us who represent Black-American culture as our primary or sole culture to determine how we go about protecting our history while nurturing our future to ensure our culture lives on.
– Wes Chase
Check out the book on Amazon here.