“GuapRuns is not going to front like we’re hoping onto a movement for good publicity or personal financial agendas. We don’t just stand with BLM at this time, but we also stand in conjunction against a myriad of social injustices that also have yet to gain such widespread acknowledgement. Know that we are of the people, for the people. Creators existing and operating in a “free market” mixed economy, trying to better the lives of those around us by sharing our experiences and knowledge.”
A Creator’s Guide to the Revolution
As creators and artists, we have a gift. This gift being that of abstract communication. Whatever your medium, that gift is reflective of your superpower. And as established by Spiderman’s uncle, “with great power comes great responsibility.” First acknowledging that a lot of us function on the daily from a place of building ourselves and our own autonomy, I’d like to point out there is nothing wrong with strengthening yourself, but- you should always keep a higher purpose in mind. When your mission becomes bigger than yourself, you become an unstoppable force. Like everything and anything that is a responsibility, it is the choice to take action that ultimately makes the difference between a beneficial outcome and something that’s regrettable. No matter how big or small the repercussions of your choices, these effects are better seen in retrospect. Regardless you will be making waves. This being said, let's explore what it means to use your superpowers for good amidst large scale social change.
Although everyone’s moral compass is based in personal experience, it's safe to say that for the most part you share the same basic rights and wrongs as your community. Everyone on earth is fighting their own battle. When you fight your battle you are not only liberating yourself, but everyone that shares in the same struggle. All oppression is interconnected. Know that there is always a higher level agenda going on in your country and world wide, but you have the power to make change locally. It's all about network. This is true not only in this field of media, but in life as well. As we become increasingly dependent on the power of ideas rather than tied to the limitations of the physical world, it's up to us to make the best of that, and connect with people of our same values, likes, and interests. Connect with those you’d like to empower.
It's time as a community of creators and as people to become cognizant of our impact on people. There’s the age old question of whether we do what we do for the clout, for the love of the craft, or for the love of money. And to be honest, as a community of mostly black and brown creators- we should be doing it for all three and one more. That last element being for the liberation of our people. That can mean emotionally, financially, physically, etc. Hope I haven’t lost you; Let’s get into detail.
Whenever people speak on clout, it's highly hated on because we know whoever is looking for it is going about it in the wrong way, or taking their following as a power trip. In other words, misleading people for their own gain. If we can flip that idea, and realize that clout in itself is not a bad thing, we would have community building. So here’s this: “With great CLOUT comes great responsibility.” In reality, we do need more leaders and educators to build local networks. You don’t need a huge following to abide by a long living hip-hop revolutionary ideal, “Each one, Teach one”. Be your own leader. If you have more social currency/clout, it just means you have a responsibility to more people.
Now that you have your network, let's talk about how to educate them on your particular movement.
The creation of Hip Hop is a great example of what a liberation movement led by artists can look like. Hip Hop was about getting the bag on every level. The craft of MCing, Breaking, DJing, Graffiti were all elements used as tools to create an underground economy for a people who were disenfranchised in White America. We have creators like The Fuggees, The Coup, KRS One, Erykah Badu, and A Tribe Called Quest, as well as many others, who reflected their experiences honestly, and shared their knowledge through lyricism.
For those of you that are Latinx, you might be familiar with the Mexican genre of corridos. Corridos were our ancestors' way of passing down history in a country that was largely illiterate. Colonizers burned our history books, and all that was left was oral tradition that your grandparents might’ve shared with you. Stories of battles and war heroes were often the topic, but today this genre is polluted with ego stroke stories of drug kingpins. Same goes for hip hop. Hip hop was an oral storytelling tradition highlighted by rhyme and lyricism, that has been pimped out. Although there are a lot of great bangers, it is nonetheless time to start telling our generations’ story of struggle. Be authentic to yourself and the times. Every side of a conversation needs to be told to further the dialogue of collective freedom. Reclaim corridos. Reclaim hip hop. Recalim your sovereignty.
We’ve been pimped out to praise riches and high end brands, when a concentration of wealth is what got us into the mess of a racially segregated and oppressed America.
This is where collective fiscal empowerment becomes relevant.
Tying back to the topic of network and empowering people of your same values- aka your community, your goons, your hub, your gang- know that there is power where there is numbers, but more importantly, you are only as strong as your weakest member. You want to invest back into your community, because money is also power. Spend money at a local or POC businesses, so that they can hire people and create more jobs. Just like medieval marriage practices, we want to keep the money in the family. lol.
Lastly, put in the work.
You may be saying to yourself, I’m just a rapper, I’m just a videographer, I’m just an illustrator, I’m just an artist’s manager, etc. The first thing you need to do is take that “just” out of there, because you are much more than this humble title. You’re a whole ass person with the power to do whatever you put your heart and mind to. The second, recognize there is space for everyone in the revolution. You can further aide in the movement by covering events/recording history in the making, creating morale for those on the frontlines, or dreaming up a future to build out of the ashes. The oppressors will rewrite history their own way, but your job is to capture it as the people remember. Your job is to capture it as it actually happened. Seek truth, and tell yours.
Know that you are witnessing history in the making and you are either on one side or the other. If you're not on the frontlines, ask yourself what you want the future to look like when the old powers fall like rusty building blocks. How do you want your city to look like? Your neighborhood to look like? Your life to look like.