Ex-prof talks faces of hip-hop culture

Former Eastern Michigan University faculty, Robert W. Simmons III, talked about the many faces of masculinity in the hip-hop culture, Wednesday in the Phelps-Sellers lounge.

Simmons, now a professor at Loyola University, has spent his entire life in education. He has used hip-hop to critique social issues, and he continues to study it to determine how it affects views.  

Simmons said he, “consumes random ignorant hip-hop, and also intelligent hip-hop.” 

“It is important to speak to people,” he said. “Because due the complexity of how the music is laid out, all sorts of people are consumed in hip-hop.”   
The discussion was interactive and questions were fielded to the audience, talked about then answered.

Simmons asked the students what hip-hop is.

A variety of students agreed hip-hop is a form of artistic movement that is expresses feelings and culture.

Examples of “random ignorant” and intelligent hip-hop artists and songs were discussed.

“People have lost the history of hip-hop, and have transformed it into just a money maker,” Simmons said. “It is no longer used to help the community, for example.” 

Simmons talked about the ideas and fundamentals hip-hop was built on.

“[They were] not trying to hurt each other, but they rapped amongst each other,” he said.Simmons also said hip-hop was built on an artist’s will to survive and overcome.

Throughout the discussion, songs were played to determine the different messages and how they relate to black masculinity. “At the core of hip hop, it is not about the beat,” Simmons said. “It is about the lyrics.”

He also discussed the current consumer culture affecting the black community.

“Hip-hop often influences young black men on how to dress,” Simmons said. “Black masculinity does not just refer to how black men have controlled hip-hop. Black men have victimized women. Black masculinity has determined what is allowed to be put out as the woman image.”

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