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Hip-hop is often associated with materialism, luxury, and excess. However, many hip-hop artists have used their platform to bring attention to social justice issues and Support charitable causes. In honor of 50 years of hip hop, we want to celebrate 10 artists that have fought for social justice.
1. The Game – Operation H.U.N.T and Flint Water Crisis
The Game, a Compton rapper, has used his influence to bring awareness to social justice issues. In 2016, he led a peaceful protest in LA called Operation H.U.N.T in response to police brutality. He also donated $1 million during the Flint Water Crisis to help with the contaminated water supply, which affected many low-income families.
2. Chance the Rapper – Chicago Charity Work
Chance the Rapper is active with charity work in his native Chicago, particularly with children. In 2017, he raised $60 thousand in 10 days to buy EMPWR coats, a company that creates self-heating jackets for homeless people. He also advocates for public school funding and mental health resources in Chicago.
3. Kendrick Lamar – Donated to Compton School District
Kendrick Lamar, a Compton native, quietly donated hundreds of thousands to the Compton school district for music, sports, and other after-school programs. He has also brought detente between Bloods and Crips, two rival gangs in his hometown. He often incorporates social justice themes in his music, addressing topics such as police brutality and racism. In the song ‘Average Joe‘ Lamar sheds light on the difficulty of growing up in Compton with hard-hitting lyrics about gang violence, drug abuse and police brutality. He uses his own experience in the city to raise awareness of the issues that are often neglected by mainstream media.
4. Vince Staples – Contributed to Youth YMCA Program
Vince Staples, a Long Beach rapper, contributed to the Youth Institute, a youth YMCA program that aims to develop creative and critical thinking skills in young people. He is also an advocate for prison reform and has spoken out about the injustices in the criminal justice system.
5. Lupe Fiasco – Lupe Fiasco Foundation
Source: Fake Shore Drive/Youtube
Lupe Fiasco, a Chicago rapper, founded the Lupe Fiasco Foundation. The foundation encourages, inspires, and educates inner-city youth in the Chicago area. He is also an advocate for education reform and has spoken out against standardized testing.
6. T.I. – Marched in Atlanta Protests
T.I., an Atlanta rapper, marched with thousands of demonstrators in Atlanta protesting police violence. He also gave out hundreds of bicycles and scholarships to students in need. He is an advocate for criminal justice reform and has used his platform to bring attention to the issue.
7. Big Sean – Thanksgiving Turkey Drive and Sean Anderson Studio
Big Sean, a Detroit rapper, is best known for his annual Thanksgiving turkey drive. He also founded “The Sean Anderson Studio of Infinite Possibilities” at his alma mater, Cass Technical High School, to provide students with access to recording equipment. He is an advocate for education reform and has worked with the Detroit public school system to provide resources for students.
8. Vic Mensa – Marched for Laquan McDonald and Released Pro-LGBTQ Anthem
Vic Mensa, a Chicago rapper, has emerged as one of the most passionate political voices in hip-hop. He marched on behalf of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer. He also released a pro-LGBTQ anthem, “We Could Be Free,” in Support of the LGBTQ community. He is an advocate for social justice issues and has used his platform to bring attention to issues affecting marginalized communities.
9. Snoop Dogg – Snoop Youth Football League
Snoop Dogg, a Long Beach rapper, created the Snoop Youth Football League. The non-profit seeks to empower youths and build character through athletics. He is also an advocate for social justice issues and has spoken out about the injustices in the criminal justice system. Netflix even got involved with making a series on his work ‘Coach Snoop’.
10. Killer Mike
Stumping for Bernie Sanders and Social Commentary Killer Mike, an Atlanta rapper, has been active in politics, stumping on behalf of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election. He also delivers lectures, pens op-eds, opines in interviews, attends rallies, and debates “pundits” on cable news networks.
These ten hip-hop artists are just a few examples of the many musicians who have used their platform to make a positive impact on society. Their dedication to social justice issues, whether it’s through donating to local communities or advocating for policy change, shows that hip-hop can be a powerful tool for promoting positive change. As fans, we can learn from their example and do our part in fighting for social justice. By supporting their causes and giving back to the underprivileged in our communities, we can work together to create a more equitable and just society for all. Let’s follow in their footsteps and use our voices to make a difference.
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