From its roots in the Bronx in the 1970s til now, hip-hop and rap music has had its finger on the pulse of social issues in the United States. From Public Enemy calling to “fight the power” in inner-cities in the 1980s to Kendrick Lamar’s expression of what it means to be black in America in “To Pimp a Butterfly” and Run the Jewels’ songs of protest against police brutality, social activism has been at the heart of this genre.
Monday night, in the Carey Auditorium of the Hesburgh Library, Aisha Fukushima, a “rap activist” or “RAPtivist,” explored the ability of hip-hop and rap to act as a catalyst for change and explained how her background led her to a career in activism. Fukushima also performed a few recently released songs.
Fukushima said her unique upbringing contributed to her early political views and allowed her to witness the power of music.
“I grew up as a multiracial child, both African-American and Japanese heritage, and for me, that looked liked living in Seattle, Washington, as well as Yokohama, Japan,” Fukushima said. “I think at this early age, I started to see how global music was. That pulse of music to be able to travel around the globe. No matter where you’re performing … I didn’t know the word solidarity yet, but I was feeling that through music.”
Originally published The Observer at ndsmcobserver.com on January 24, 2017.