Rap music and other things American PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 July 2018 11:40

By Remedios  F. Marmoleño

When you hear the word “rap” or when you hear rap over the radio , which group of people comes to mind right away? The question is a no-brainer. African-Americans, of course. But this morning I had occasion to listen to rap and the performers were not African-Americans at all. The first one was from Bhutan, that country way up in the Himalayas. And the second one was  Chinese. The performances – rap performed by non-Africans- was something my mind had to process.

This morning’s experience showed to me, once again, just how strong is the influence of  the American way of doing things – music, movies, fashion, etc.- on how other societies do these  things.

Some people  are very nationalistic and have little love lost for Americans or the American way of doing things. But some American ways  or some American personalities do have  very strong  influence  in other countries or cultures. Think Kanye West and Jay-Z and rap. Think LeBron James or Stephen Curry and basketball. I might be too hasty in saying this but I can think of  American “culture” and how it will homogenize  the world in some not too distant decade or generation.

And there is information or communication technology which allows the world to pick up very quickly what is trending in the US. Not everything that is trending in the US, of course, is something that should be copied but we have  little say on that matter. In the US itself copy cat behavior is a serious concern, especially where violence to others or  to the self is concerned.

Some countries have tried to minimize the impact of foreign ways on the native population by simply restricting access to the Internet. But that is not a move that we can endorse, especially for those who have been exposed to ideas of democracy and the right to access information. This is a real dilemma.

Without seeming to be too naïve I am aware that American culture is not the best there is.  But at the same time of all foreign groups I find Americans the easiest to be with. I suppose having lived  as a student in the US is one reason for this. Also we have to admit that things American are familiar to a majority of Filipinos – what Americans eat, the music they listen to and export to other countries,  the movies and TV shows that they watch, their fashion, their celebrities and many other aspects of what we will refer to as “American culture”. On the other hand we have  to be aware that while we can like what Americans like we should nevertheless not forget that we are Filipinos and must continue to be  engaged to those values that are inherently ours.