Especially the Parents of the Girls….
I went to this really cool show sponsored by the American Embassy for African American History Month, featuring a hip hop crew from Houston, TX, called HaviKoro, and this really awesome group from Jordan called 962 Street. (962 is the telephone country code for Jordan.) There was this great combination of popping, beat-boxing, break-dancing, and choreographed studio hip hop.
I think we’re so distracted by Hollywood billionaire rappers and the images of the inner city you find in HBO’s The Wire that we often forget that hip hop culture started as a social justice movement, a pop culture parallel to Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam calling for an equal say in their government. Here in the Arab world, though, I think hip hop culture is exactly that.
Still, with all the imagery around us that links hip hop culture to violence, vandalism, crime, drugs and misogyny, how cool are these kids’ parents that they not only let them participate in these hip hop classes and events, but that they were right there in the audience cheering their kids on? I mean, most of these kids were under 16, and one couldn’t have been older than 8. Most of the choreographed studio pieces were quite sexual in tone, too, as is often the case in hip hop dance, and in this Arab culture, you would think that kind of thing would be very taboo. It was a very cool event.
And How Cool Is The Job Of Cultural Attache?
First of all, let me say that the Cultural Attache at the American Embassy here in Amman speaks incredibly good Arabic! And what a cool job he has, that he gets paid to go out and explore these fun things that are happening in Jordanian youth culture, and then put them on stage at the King Hussein Cultural Center for all of us to enjoy!