DeGarmo and Flaherty research on hip-hop as a means of expression and resistance

While traditionally associated with protesting oppression and lack of opportunity, hip-hop has also been adopted by socially marginalized groups worldwide as a means of expression, according to political science professor Anne Flaherty.

Palestinian rappers Tamer Nafar and Mahmoud Jreri performing. Photo courtesy of Claudia Espinosa

Department of Political Science Chair Denise DeGarmo studied how Palestine’s hip-hop draws on the lessons of rap and hip-hop in the U.S. and is adapted to fit the needs of peaceful resistance throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

For hundreds of years, music has been integral to rebellion, resistance and revolution, according to political science chair Denise DeGarmo.

“Music has the power to inspire alternatives to violence,” DeGarmo said. “Music and the arts are strategic tools of non-violent action.”

Flaherty said hip-hop can be adapted to fit the messages of a wide range of groups. Indigenous peoples around the world, not just in Australia, have found hip-hop as a tool of empowerment and to expressing their own voices, according to Flaherty.

“The indigenous peoples in Australia were in many ways treated more brutally than the indigenous peoples in the United States (and) the Australian government did not even officially count them as “people” until the 1960s,” Flaherty said. “This meant that the indigenous communities had not recognized rights and no claims to their own land and resources for much of Australian history.”

According to Flaherty, the indigenous hip-hop projects in Australia are an example of offering a way to encourage better social outcomes and social justice among indigenous communities.

“Hip-hop itself is a means of expression, but the organizations that support, utilize and create it can be effective mechanisms for change,” Flaherty said.

Flaherty said the teams of experts from Indigenous Hip Hop Project (IHHP) work with and for communities to help them develop awareness and positive messages to combat their problems.

“The (IHHP’s) projects are based on community needs and interests, so it might be about sexual behavior, drug use or healthy diets,” Flaherty said. “Youth in the community work with the IHHP team to create amazing songs and videos that celebrate their pride and cultures as well as spread information and messages about the chosen topic.”

According to Flahtery, studies have found that the projects of the IHHP have lasting effects on spreading information particular to the project topic as well as promoting engagement and self-esteem.

“This is a great way to engage youth and encourage them to promote their own messages,” Flaherty said.

DeGarmo said in today’s technological age is difficult to censor music.

“With YouTube, Facebook, and other forms of social media, music can be transmitted instantly to thousands of followers across the globe, DeGarmo said. “It is hard to stop it.”

Both Flaherty’s research: “Asserting Identity Through Music: Indigenous Hip-hop and Self-Empowerment,” as well as DeGarmo’s: “Liberation hip hop: Palestinian hip hop and peaceful resistance,” coauthored with Applied Communication Studies professor Duff Wrobbel, will be published in the book “The Organic Globalizer: Hip Hop, Political Development, and Movement Culture” by Bloomsbury Academic Press in November.


Be Sociable, Share!

Filed Under: Political Science

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Switch to our mobile site