From 'Round the Way.

Author:Artemis, Black
Position:Letters to the editor - Letter to the Editor

While I appreciated the sophisticated objectivity of 'ROUND THE WAY ("It's Urban, It's Real, But Is It Literature?" BIBR, September-October 2004), as a hip-hop activist and author, it pains me when our community refers to books about street life as "hip-hop fiction."

Hip-hop involves four elements--DJing, MCing, b-boying/b-girling and graffiti. Many of us who work with young people of color use hip-hop as a tool for personal empowerment and social change, employing these elements precisely to entice them away from the lifestyles depicted in these books, to foster an analysis of the social, political and economic conditions that compel too many of our people to adopt these lifestyles and to inspire them to challenge those conditions. This powerful aspect of hip-hop receives little to no media exposure because it poses a threat to the status quo, who prefer to equate all of hip-hop subculture with the narrow subgenre of the music...

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