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From the Bronx to Isreal Hip-hop Unites

Even though the media focuses on the violence in rap, any true school historian will tell you that hip-hop was formed as a way to ease gang violence and create unity amongst Black and Latinos in New York. It seems that our music/culture is doing the same in Isreal for the Isreali and Palenstinian youth. Props to Rolling Stone and Loolwa Khazzoom for reporting that "Hip-hop Thrives in Israel

...Israeli hip-hop cuts across lines of ethnicity not only between Arabs and Jews, but within the Jewish community itself -- featuring artists from Ethiopian, Mizrahi (Middle Eastern/North African), Sephardic (Spanish-Portuguese and Latin), and Ashkenazi (Central/Eastern European) backgrounds. And though Israeli rappers are overwhelmingly male, young women are beginning to take center stage, such as MC Shiri, who performed at the event.

"It's very exciting to see female rappers," gushes sixteen-year-old Alma Ne'eman, who attended the concert with her gal pals. "It really got us going to see MC Shiri up on stage."

Among artists performing were three Arab hip-hop groups, MWR (standing for Mahmoud, Waseem and Richard), Dam and Tammer, who sang in a mix of Hebrew and Arabic. "We talk about our problems," Mahmoud says of MWR's message. "As Israeli Arabs, we get it from all sides. To Arabs outside Israel, we're traitors. To Israeli Jews, we're dangerous Arabs. We're stuck between a rock and a hard place. Everyone hates us."

Hip-hop concerts, these artists feel, provide a place where they can be recognized for who they are. "When we come, and the audience sees artists standing before them," Richard says, "they see the positive side of being Arabs."

"Hip-hop is a great tool for building bridges between Jews and Arabs," agree Gabby Baruch and Shani Alder, two young women who attended the concert. "We hear each other's music and message, and we feel closer to each other."


July 8, 2003 in Commentary | Link Me | Related Searches | Related Music

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