Many cultures are often misunderstood by the rest of society. This lack of understanding by society at large of specific cultures often leads to misconceptions about a given society. These generalizations apply to all types of cultures and they also apply to societies understanding of the Hype movement. The Hype movement is a culture with many aspects yet there are many misunderstandings regarding this culture that have been used to crack down on Hype behavior.
Like generalizations ND stereotypes of other cultures, the misunderstandings about Hype culture are not completely unfounded, but are exaggerated. As a person surrounded by and participating in the hype movement I submit that it Is not many of the things that it is perceived to be and that It is in fact a culture and way of life. The milling’s about the hype movement range from the vague, Like “I don’t understand what the point Is”, to the specific, It promotes a “culture of death” (Muhammad). While all these views present evidence to support their claims, these are to Hype what stereotypes are to other ethnicities.
Although hype is not about the promotion of a specific ethnic identity, these misconceptions about those in the hype present the same forms of disrespect and discrimination stereotypes present to ethnic identity. One common misconception about the hype movement, even in its birthplace, the bay area, is what is it, what is its purpose? When speaking to classmates this was often what I heard from those who knew of the hype movement but not what it was. When I explored deeper by asking what was meant by the question what is Its purpose, a common response was “l Just don’t understand why they have to Jump on top of cars and stuff. This statement shows how confused some people are about the hype movement. While these people observe Hype people Jumping on cars they do not understand why, quite possibly because they have not taken the time to get to know the culture. Asking why Hype people jump on cars is like asking why Chinese Americans dragon dance, it is something that once you take the time to understand the culture you come to understand. Another scathing misconception is that the Hype movement promotes a “culture of death” (Muhammad).
The Hype movement is a subculture of hip-hop culture. Much like people once thought it was a passing fad, so is the case with the Hype movement. Yet David Muhammad, executive director of The Mentoring Center, claims that hip-hop “culture has denigrated into an embarrassing bastion of filth- promoting violence, drugs, irresponsible sex, excessive materialism, and delinquent behavior. ” (Muhammad). He goes on to state that this Is now a culture of death and the hype movement Is no different from the culture of death he claims hip-hop has degenerated Into.
He argues that “there is a deliberate attempt by rappers to promote a Chilies whizzing (using the drug ecstasy), smoking purr (marijuana), and sipping boo (Robinson cough syrup with codeine)” (Muhammad). Again this claim is also a generalization. While most in the movement probably use drugs and there and overt references and promotion of drug use in hype music, there are scores of people living the hype life who use no drugs at all. More importantly though is the fact the hype dancing, while inspired by the way you dance while intoxicated, does not require intoxication.
This critique is much like those leveled against hippy culture in the sixties, yet no one loud argue that it was a “culture of death” (Muhammad), especially after seeing how many of the people who lived that lifestyle became very successful in later years. This is one of the aims of the hype movement as well, to help its followers be successful later in life. One observer notes that the movement promotes “entrepreneurship and artistic creativity” (Arnold). While music is a big part of the culture it is not Just in terms of the sale of hype music where entrepreneurs are inspired either.
There is hype dress so someone might be inspired to open a clothing store or start designing clothing; there are even hype energy drinks. The hype movement is culture, more importantly it is youth culture and while many of its customs are rooted in traditional African American culture it is not ethnically exclusive. It is something that is primarily designed as a means of expression for people aged 16-30 but often has followers outside of those demographics( my brothers only 14 and he’s Hype and the leading musician of the Hype movement is near 40).
Hype culture covers many aspects of life including familial relations to celebrations and even language. In the hype movement family has a looser definition than what society at large would consider family. Many of the followers of the hype movement were born or raised during Americas crack epidemic and as a result hype is more inclusive of blended families and informal adoption like a friend of the family living with the immediate family and being introduced as a brother. Also, in the hype movement many males address each other as “cue” which is slang for cousin.
Hype celebrations include dancing and music much like other cultures but the ways in which people celebrate are much different. One major difference in hype celebrations is that no special occasion is needed to celebrate. These spontaneous celebrations often take the shape of sideshows, “a huge gathering that has no specific location”, “where people of all ages and races come to meet the opposite sex, listen to music, ride around” (Asia). Sideshows originated during the crack epidemic in east Oakland and where part of the car culture that was dominant during the era.
Now a part of the hype movement the sideshow is still all of these things and more. You will find people do car and motorcycle stunts playing loud music from the speaker system that is an unspoken requirement, having the ” irresponsible sex”(Muhammad), that David Muhammad is o against, dancing, using drugs, and Just having a good time. Although sideshow activity has been criminality in recent years it still continues in spite of the consequences, much like the aspects of Native American culture that where criminality such as the use of peyote.
Dancing at sideshows is unique to the hype movement, it is called going dumb or going stupid and is best described as fast paced and aggressive. It almost always includes shacking dreadlocks and in recent dancing on cars and if your vehicle is found lacking by hype standards in some way oh have to pay what is known as town taxes, having your roof or hood caved in by exuberant people Jumping on it. Hype culture also has unspoken rules governing male- female relations, what kind of cars to drive, how to dress and do your hair and what forms of behavior are acceptable.
Hype culture even has its own language. The way hype people speak is often in self created slang terms that are understood by other followers who share a common background in some way. Many of the words used by the followers are part of a highly developed code of speaking developed to throw off those who would want to use what is being said against you. The term hype is in fact a part of this language; it is a combination of hyper and fly.
The hype movement is an intricate, ever expanding universe of its own that is hard to understand and if it is understood, hard to explain. Yet that is the mystique of the movement and what makes it unique. It is a culture that is set up to help the youth of the inner city express how it is they live and yet it is hard to understand, much like those very youth. There are more pieces to the puzzle that is the hype movement. There is hype royalty, such as the founder of the movement Mac Deer, ambassador of the bay E-40, and Prince of the city Mistake F.