Hip Hop | Georgetown University Undergraduate Application Essay

“Understand the meaning of MC. The power to Move the Crowd like Moses splits the seas.” Remembering the lyrics of Talib Kweli, my favorite rapper, I rapped, surrounded by a small crowd on the streets. As I stole glimpses of teens in their oversized sweaters and baggy jeans throwing their hands in the air and swaying them left and right, I felt as if I were a talented rapper – a real MC.

“Hip hop is for African Americans,” retorted my English literature teacher after overhearing my views on rhymes in rap music. He argued that a middle class Asian girl’s mimicking an African American rapper’s style and lyrics wouldn’t make her an authentic artist. Though I wanted to fight back, I found myself unable to offer a counter argument.

That night, I sent an e-mail to Vanessa Diaz, the director of the Cuban hip hop documentary, Desde el Principio, which had mesmerized me only a few nights ago, explaining what had happened during that class – and the problems of expressing myself through hip hop. Through her lengthy reply that arrived after many days, I learned that the Cubans and African Americans had gone through similar predicaments – poverty and oppression – and thus adopted similar music as a means of expressing their sufferings….

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