With the success of the poets vs. rappers from The Cafe Meets The Cypher, a musing occurred to us at the Locksley Anthony Henry Scholarship Foundation recently that we would like to share with you. Not so many years ago, rap was the artistic form of expression for the marginalized, forgotten others experiencing life through a lense that those hailing from the recognized, comparative upper corners of society couldn’t imagine and would have decried as horrid.
Years later, it is nearly impossible to avoid a section on the importance of rap in any African American studies course. The influence of rap is so sweeping theology courses have begun to include sections from rap and the conversation about the legitimacy of rap as the newest poetic form has begun to light the cafeterias of literature and history majors. The strong place of rap in our culture has benefits not only for the artists that produced them and their communities. It has offered us all the chance to experience a world we would never otherwise experience.
And yet, it strikes us all as a great tragedy that due to the rising costs of a higher education, it will be rare for the marginalized population about which these raps are written to be in the classrooms discussing this to attest to their cultural and personal importance. If the job of poetry is to draw the mind to considering higher ideals about the sublime, surely the job of rap would be to ground us in the realities that face our world. If poetry is meant to encourage us to see the beauty in all things, certainly rap should encourage us to lend whatever help we may have to elevating the marginalized and correcting the injustices of the world.
Educational inequality especially in regards to secondary education is an injustice. Applying to higher education is a daunting enough task with all the paperwork to fill out, essays to write, and the recommendation letters to get without having to fret over paying the bills. Education is the key for all of us.
Here at the Locksley Anthony Henry Scholarship Foundation, we believe everyone should have the chance to rise to the next educational level regardless of economic realities. Education shouldn’t be an expectation for the elevated and a gift for the marginalized. Education should be for all of us, whether we like poetry or rap. We operate a scholarship foundation helping real people take the next step towards their education. We hope you’ll feel the temptation to support our foundation!