by Dr. Boyce Watkins
Music opens the mind for suggestion, making us vulnerable to messages that we implant. The most sinister part of it all is that most of this happens without us knowing what’s going on.
Corporations are now earning billions of dollars every year mass promoting music and imagery that many consider to be destructive to the African American community. White-owned companies like BET and VH1 liberally share the images of black men as thugs, black women as hoochies, and black youth as drug using, violent criminals who love to waste their money. The most powerful part of this marketing is that it tends to work best when you don’t know that you’re being marketed to. But anyone who spends time around our youth realize how quickly they pick up trends that have been promoted by their favorite artist on the radio.
This issue is of interest to me from a Financial Juneteenth standpoint because one of the most valuable resources of any community is its young people. Even Hitler once stated that if you want to control the future, you must take control of the minds of the young. So, corporate-sponsored hip-hop now has more influence over the minds of our children than their parents, many of whom are either incarcerated or addicted to the drugs that have come to infest the black community. Even parents who are in the home and fighting against the bombardment of destructive messages find that their children are influenced by their friends at school, who hear the same messages. As the rapper Yarima Karama once said, “This music has become like crack cocaine for our people.”
To dig deeper into this matter, I spoke with noted psychologist Dr. Monikah Ogando. Dr. Ogando is the founder of Flourish Live, a business conference for women. But she also understands the way the human mind works and is able to tie this understanding with the power of marketing.
Jimi Hendrix stated, “Music is a spiritual thing of its own. You can hypnotize people with music and when you get them at the weakest point, you preach into the subconscious what we want to say” (Life; October 3, 1969, p. 74). In a live interview, Gene Simmons, the co-founder of the rock band KISS said, “…I was also aware that you could also say kill, and you know just somehow this surge would happen” (Cross TV, 2002).Recording artist, Marilyn Manson related, “I don’t know if anyone has really understood what we’re trying to do, to lure people in. Once we’ve got ’em we can give ’em our message” (Hit Parader, October 1996, p. 28). Guitarist Tom Morello of Audio Slave, said on Rage TV, “We are able to seduce some people in by the music who then are exposed to a different political message.”
The interview is below.
If you’d like to hear more about my perspectives on the impact of commercialized hip-hop, you are welcome to buy a copy of my audio lecture series on the topic. You can get a 20% discount by using the passcode ILoveHipHop at this link.