Ethnic Studies Review

Ethnic Studies Review

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Ethnic Studies Review



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Black Lives Matter Special Issue


“Hyphy,” a genre of rap and lifestyle associated with Bay Area hip hop evolved into a counter-cultural social movement for marginalized youth in early 2000. Hyphy originated from Black youth as a musical protest in response to their historical lack of social power, economic resources and systematic institutional oppression. Hyphy provided a space to release tension, celebrate life and freedom of expression, primarily as a means of resisting hegemonic perceptions of Black youth and their cultural productions. Applying a cultural studies theoretical approach, this ethnographic research examines literature and media coverage pre and post Hyphy highlighting the ways in which it fostered a personal and political agenda, attracting organizations that employed hip hop to provide direct services to youth as a means of advocating for social justice. This article argues that the Hyphy Movement although dated, supported the foundation of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Bay Area by playing a pivotal role in shifting the revolutionary consciousness of young people when addressing police violence during a pivotal social upheaval in 2009, the unjust murder of Oscar Grant III.