I find a lot of people are taken aback or surprised by the fact that I am so passionate about hip-hop. I don’t seem to fit the typical audience. It throws people off.
I love hip-hop music and culture but I try to remain open to other forms and genres of music. I think that this is important. I remember that I used to declare, loudly, to anyone who would listen, that music I did not like, “sucked.” I don’t do this anymore. I try to keep an open mind when it comes to music.
I think I know why people have a negative view towards hip-hop. I have blogged about this several times but I think it really boils down to this one thing. People are critical of musical genres because they have a stereotype about the audience and they don’t see themselves as fitting that image.
Students have often asked me why I don’t look like a rapper. To that, I always say, “And what does a rapper look like?” It sparks an interesting discussion. I can show them photographs of me as a teenager when I very much did fit the image of a rapper. Now that I am older and a professional, I make sure I dress the part. I think teachers should look nice and dress well.
Of course, I have also been asked why I dress up for school. I like to wear ties to work. I think it puts forth a good image for the school, students, and staff. I don’t really think about it. It seems like the right thing to do.
Maybe we are all too attached to the image we have of ourselves. I dress well at school because I am working. If I were to be on stage and performing some of my rap songs, I might dress differently, I might not. I don’t think that fans of a musical genre need to fit into an image of the stereotypical audience. Like what you like, and don’t be afraid of the image you perceive to be associated with it.
I listen to rap, I live and die for hip-hop but you would never know it from how I dress. Is that okay? Is that acceptable? I think it is.