KYRON LOGGINS, 17
Kyron Loggins is from San Francisco, California. He currently serves as a Senior Educator for the Hidden Genius Project; in this role he teaches entrepreneurship, leadership, and technology creation skills to youth in the community. At Bishop O’Dowd, he serves as the Senior Class President and Captain of the Student Philanthropy team. He has worked internationally on projects and initiatives with companies like Google, Color In Tech, and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights.
Much of Loggins’s writing style is influenced by writers like Walter Dean Myers and Toni Morrison. Writing also allows a reader time to process everything that is said, every bit of information offered; in conversation, we might only listen to one another as a means of crafting a response or forming an opinion. Writing allows Loggins the luxury of organizing and curating his thoughts before others can see them. From the thoughts he has formulated on a page, he has spoken both publicly and on the radio.
Loggins’s passions in art, activism, and tech are central to his community. He is extremely passionate about gun control, and while he understands the balance of maintaining one’s rights, he feels that the gun culture we have in the United States is unacceptable. He urges Americans to consider gun control with more scrutiny, and the first step is depopularizing gun ownership and creating checks and balances when applying to own a lethal weapon. Loggins works to fundraise for events, promote student activist projects, and collaborate with other leadership groups to advocate for his local community among local and national government.
Loggins plans to study business administration with a focus in marketing in college, and hopes to work towards integrating the tech and music industries.
Hip Hop and Cultural Empowerment
by Kyron Loggins
During the Great Migration, Blacks looking to move into affluent, or even decently established neighborhoods had another thing coming. Whites developed covenants that refused to sell or lease to Blacks, forcing them into already less-funded and less-valued neighborhoods, and effectively segregating neighborhoods into Black and White. The neighborhoods created by those covenants were then redlined by banks, who refused to fund their businesses and homes, making the sole source of income the factory jobs in the area that, of course, failed, creating a series of impoverished neighborhoods.The critically acclaimed Wu-Tang Clan speaks a bit about this in C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me), saying, “The court played me short, now I face incarceration/Pacin' going up state's my destination/Handcuffed in back of a bus, forty of us/Life as a shorty shouldn't be so ruff/But as the world turns I learned life is hell.” This is in reference to life in the inner city. As segregation was already well established by the time of hip hop’s conception, this of course also meant that this music would connect those who would hear it. It also meant that many outside of the Black community would not even accept this as art.
Hip-Hop makes a point to allude to these conditions, and notify people of why neighborhoods are “bad,” like in Jay-Z’s December 4th, where he says, “Good-bye to the game, all the spoils, the adrenaline rush. Your blood boils you in the spot, knowing cops could rush/And you in a drop, you're so easy to touch/No two days are alike/Except the first and fifteenth, pretty much./And trust is a word you seldom hear from us./Hustlers, we don't sleep, we rest one eye up./And the drought will define a man when the well dries up./You learn the worth of water without work, you thirst til you die, yup!” He speaks on how the inner city’s main employment are no longer the factory jobs that attracted them to the north in the beginning, and that they now have many drug dealers and illegal work, because they cannot acquire other work. It is empowering because all too often, the people inside the inner-city are blamed for the conditions they were forced into, and explaining that takes the blame off of them, and on the the actual issues.
In the process of moving African Americans into the North, the country’s racist atmosphere moved with them. Even after sealing many factory jobs, there were countermeasures created to ensure decline in the progress of African Americans, such as redlining, segregation, racist housing, and unequal education systems. Those systems created a near impossibility of notable success in inner-city populations, and attributed to the creation of “slums” and “ ghettos” that formed in areas neglected by redlining and littered with housing projects. At a time where people of color had very few industries in which they were dominant, the creation of hip hop and, by extension, rap (and R&B) music gave birth to not only a legal form of income, but a safe hobby, and a way to send inner-city messages and emotions into white suburbia as an art form, while at the same time, making a bold declaration that rhythmic poetry was, in fact art.
When the court ruled that education could not be separate, that meant that all of the schools that inner-city children could easily access and felt connected to dissolved, and with that, the support, jobs, and investment in the inner city disappeared with it. As a result of good education being near impossible to come by, paired with the fact that few employers would hire even the most qualified African Americans, career choices for inner-city inhabitants were far and few. Many people dropped out of schools and turned to drugs, theft, and violent crimes. When rap was born from the struggles of the inner-city youth, many of the lyrics could be criticized as “derogatory” or “disrespectful,” often times they touched on impoverished urban neighborhoods and called out policies that were unfair to their demographic. For example, in Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” it states, “As the rhythm designed to bounce/What counts is that the rhymes/Designed to fill your mind/Now that you've realized the prides arrived/We got to pump the stuff to make us tough/From the heart/It's a start, a work of art.” When rap became commercialized, messages like those began to reach further, into places that may have never even experienced the sight of an urban neighborhood, and it created an art form that inner-city inhabitants could identify with. Rap created an industry African Americans could dominate, and created a shot at the American Dream that was finally accessible for people who had struggled previous to obtain.
Hip hop has been used as a tool to support and empower African Americans since its conception. In pure form, it is an art form made by and for the inhabitants of the inner cities of America. It reflects the struggle of “Black America” and empowers those facing that struggle. Through the profits and message of hip hop, a platform of empowerment is created.