Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I'm So Hood!!

First let me start by saying the following is not my own writing. As I was browsing the net this morning I ran across this article and felt it was too good not to repost here on mine. So shout out to Real Talk NY for this article!!

“I’m So Hood!”

I love DJ Khaled’s song titled, “I’m So Hood!” For the past few weeks, I’ve listened to it while in my vehicle at least three times a day. And need I say that it was played at a very high decibel. I shared my affection with the song to a friend of mine and he asked, “How could you like such a song?” I pondered the question for a moment and then asked myself “why shouldn’t I like it?” It then donned on me, from his perspective, he obviously interpreted the song as one glamorizing the negativity which has a stranglehold on our community. However, that was not my interpretation at all.
Written by Cornell Dews

Years ago, Chuck D from Public Enemy proclaimed that “Hip Hop is the Black CNN.” This means to me, just as the cable news network has the responsibility to report credible news to its audience, so does hip hop artists. And this news which is supposedly reported by “credible” sources should encompass all. With that being said, nowadays if you tune into urban radio in any major market you’ll hear rap songs that consistently spew the same tales. There’s no variety of sorts. This would lead someone, who didn’t know any better, to think that there was nothing positive to champion in the hood. I beg to differ.

“I’m So Hood!” On Friday, during their lunch, I asked a class of middle school students, my students, if they liked DJ Khaled’s song. Two girls immediately raised their hands, one sixth grade student and the other a seventh grade student. I then asked them both, “why do you like the song?” The sixth grader said she like the song because “T-Pain is on the hook,” while the seventh grader said she liked the song because “the way they talk about how the boys dress.” I then asked my students, “What does it mean to be hood?” Here’s a list of their responses:o

To shoot someone in your neighborhood
Certain clothes you wear
Someone ghetto
To not follow rules
To disrespect women
To be disrespectful to your elders
To talk trash to one another
To steal
To carry a gun
To sell drugs
To beat people up
To destroy other peoples property
And one girl said, “Wearing fake hair is hood also.” I said, “Damn, maybe I shouldn’t like this song.” Then I remembered Chuck D’s statement and how this song initially registered with me.

I’m from Baltimore, Maryland; east Baltimore to be exact. As a matter of fact, my parents still own and live in the house that I was raised in and I frequent the neighborhood on a daily basis. I grew up on Harford Road and Darley Avenue, commonly referred to as Harford and Darley. It’s the hood to some, but its home to me.

“I’m so Hood!” Why would someone want to be? Well it depends on ones interpretation. If I only associated the hood with negativity then it wouldn’t be a place that I would gloriously identify myself with. But I know that the “hood” has more to offer. It has me to offer and many more like me. So, I guess I’m hood in the sense that I was raised in a section of the inner city of Baltimore descriptive of what many people associate being “hood” with; however, I managed to escape the same societal ills and pitfalls that have engulfed so many in similar predicaments. I guess I’m hood in the sense that I can honestly relate to the tails depicted in DJ Khaled’s song, but again managed to escape somewhat unscathed and minus a criminal record might I add. I guess I’m hood in the sense that I live where I teach, in the inner city. And I still find the time to return to my old neighborhood to engage my younger brothers in conversation with the hopes of inspiring them to do something different. I guess I’m hood in the sense that at times my appearance could allow for someone to misinterpret my status based on preconceived notions and stereotypes. By the way which, I welcome because it allows an opportunity for me to proudly profess what the “hood” has to offer when I detail who I really am. I guess I’m hood in the sense that though I wasn’t dealt the “best” hand, I played the hand I was dealt to the best of my ability. And though the game isn’t over, I’m convincingly holding my own. I’m hood in the sense that I know who I am, where I’ve been, what I have seen, encountered and overcome, what I could have been and some may say should have been, but I refused to accept it. I guess I’m hood in the sense that I’m proud of my experiences and wouldn’t change anything if I could. I guess I’m hood in the sense that I’m proud to be from east Baltimore and hopefully one day I can make east Baltimore proud of me.

Pac described it as “A rose that grew from concrete.” Jay once rapped “Look man a tree grows in Brooklyn.” I’ll end by saying this, “I’m east Baltimore to the core. I’ve been slick since the year before ’84. If a tree can grow in Brooklyn and a rose through concrete, then a diamond can be found on these east side streets.”

“I’m So Hood!”

Written by Cornell Dews

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