Gangs and Hip-Hop

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In an atmosphere dominated by gang activity, it is evident that the most popular way of seeking freedom from this harsh environment of drugs and violence is self-expression through the popular culture of hip-hop. Whether it is dance, music, or even the fashion aspect of hip-hop, it seems to be the most common escape from such rough surroundings. It is also very apparent that many of these escapees actually make a living out of indulging themselves in the hospitable culture of hip-hop. In fact, many famous hip-hop dancers and music artists one might see in the media today have a history of gang affiliation. While the majority of these hip-hoppers choose to retain their roots of connections with gangs (a lot of rap artists flaunt the fact that they are/have been in a gang), one would be unmistaken in saying that it is a much more favourable way of living life over being under such dangerous conditions as being a gang member in an active street gang. One outlet of hip-hop that is used for self-expression is the art of hip-hop dance. Many popular dance crews originating from poverty-stricken areas have a history of gang affiliation. Interestingly enough, according to NPR radio, dance “suppressed some of the violence between rival gangs” (Del Barco). Although it did not completely eliminate violence, dancing was a way for gangs to choose which one would pick the location for a fight. This may not seem like it is helping the cause too much, but it is in fact deteriorating some of the most extreme aspects of gang violence. Kenny Bermudez is a specific example of this. Growing up, he was a gang member and now he has been on the hit show which showcases talented dance crews, America’s Best Dance Crew, along with his crew “Rhythm City”. Bermudez is now attending college and owns his own dance school. Additionally, a group called Massive Monkees (who also were featured on America’s Best Dance Crew) is a dance crew who have a history of gang affiliation. They now strive to...
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