Recently, the pseudo-intellectual Leftist segment of the Black community caught wind of the Chinese government banning hip-hop from appearing on television. This action has been deemed as anti-Blackness by the folks over at The Root.
Having lived in China, and knowing what I know about the world, this could indeed be a move against Black people. No other degenerate form of entertainment strongly associated with members of other races has been banned, although Justin Bieber was banned from performing in China in 2017. It should also be noted that actors with tattoos are also barred from appearing on Chinese television.
The ban on hip-hop does not explicitly prove anti-Blackism in China. Firstly, you should already be aware that the Far East does not exactly put Blacks on a pedestal. Secondly, this was government-mandated. Even according to The Root’s article, Chinese netizens have taken issue with the ban. If one equates hip-hop to “Blackness,” then this shows that the people, or at least an element thereof, are not practicing “anti-Blackness,” but rather “get it” and are practicing a “system of social justice.”
If you have two brain cells to rub together, you will know that appreciating hip-hop does not necessarily mean appreciating Black people. The flip side may be harder to digest, given media images that have bombarded us for almost two generations, but I believe it to be so, even if only on an individual level. Not liking hip-hop does not necessarily mean that one does not like Black people.
A ban on hip-hop means that Black people that want to enter the social/entertainment market in Mainland China will have to approach from a different angle. Most Black people that I know that actually live in China hate being pigeonholed into one category. This may be inescapable, but we do not know until we try. This will give us an opportunity to rebrand ourselves. Not only can we create new forms of music, as we have in the past, but we can and must expand into markets outside of entertainment.
We may even get a chance to fight fire with fire and “appropriate” other cultures for our own benefit.
Learning the ins and outs of other cultures and adapting within our ability will give us a better pathway into their societies. The knowledge that we gain from other societies, when modified, may help us to grow our own more stable society. Ideally, this knowledge will not be used to submit to others, but to cooperate and when necessary, compete.
I know that this may insult your pride. “We have to stick to our unique ‘culcho’ (culture). We be da original man and wombman, and da ‘Bleck’ wombman iz GAWD,” you may say. Even if there is some validity to this, these memes and sayings are all empty, feel-good rhetoric. Real pride is developed through accomplishment and victory. These can only be attained if we adapt to the modern world for what it really is.
In the minds of many, an attack on hip-hop is seen on an attack on Black people. There may be truth to this, especially in the West, given how the world associates images. Sitting around getting into our emotions will not solve anything though. Only strategic action will help us to elevate ourselves on a global scale. That is, if it is possible and isn’t too late to do so…