The HipHop Declaration of Peace

This Hiphop Declaration of Peace guides Hiphop Kulture toward freedom from violence, and establishes advice and protection for the existence and development of the international Hiphop community. Through the principles of this Hiphop Declaration of Peace we, Hiphop Kulture, establish a foundation of Health, Love, Awareness, Wealth, peace and prosperity for ourselves, our children and their children’s children, forever.

For the clarification of Hiphop’s meaning and purpose, or when the intention of Hiphop is questioned, or when disputes between parties arise concerning Hiphop; Hiphoppas shall have access to the advice of this document, The Hiphop Declaration of Peace, as guidance, advice and protection.

First Principle

Hiphop (Hip’Hop) is a term that describes our independent collective consciousness. Ever growing, it is commonly expressed through such elements as Breakin, Emceein, Graffiti Art, Deejayin, Beatboxin, Street Fashion, Street Language, Street Knowledge and Street Entrepreneurialism. Wherever and whenever these and future elements and expressions of Hiphop Kulture manifest; this Hiphop Declaration of Peace shall advise the use and interpretation of such elements, expressions and lifestyle.

Second Principle

Hiphop Kulture respects the dignity and sanctity of life without discrimination or prejudice. Hiphoppas shall thoroughly consider the protection and the development of life, over and before the individual decision to destroy or seek to alter its natural development.

Third Principle

Hiphop Kulture respects the Laws and agreements of its culture, its country, its institutions and whomever it does business with. Hiphop does not irresponsibly break Laws and commitments.

Fourth Principle

Hiphop is a term that describes our independent collective consciousness. As a conscious way of life, we acknowledge our influence on society, especially on children; and we shall forever keep the rights and welfare of both in mind. Hiphop Kulture encourages womanhood, manhood, sisterhood, brotherhood, childhood and family. We are conscious not to bring any intentional disrespect that jeopardizes the dignity and reputation of our children, elders and ancestors.

Fifth Principle

The ability to define, defend and educate ourselves is encouraged, developed, preserved, protected and promoted as a means toward peace and prosperity, and toward the protection and the development of our self-worth. Through knowledge of purpose and the development of our natural and learned skills, Hiphoppas are encouraged to always present their best work and ideas.

Sixth Principle

Hiphop Kulture honors no relationship, person, event, act or otherwise wherein the preservation and further development of Hiphop’s culture, principles and elements are not considered or respected. Hiphop Kulture does not participate in activities that clearly destroy or alter its ability to productively and peacefully exist. Hiphoppas are encouraged to initiate and participate in fair trade and honesty in all negotiations and transactions.

Seventh Principle

The essence of Hiphop is beyond entertainment: The elements of Hiphop Kulture may be traded for money, honor, power, respect, food, shelter, information and other resources; however, Hiphop and its culture cannot be bought, nor is it for sale. It cannot be transferred or exchanged by or to anyone for any compensation at any time or at any place. Hiphop is the priceless principle of our self-empowerment. Hiphop is not a product.

Eighth Principle

Companies, corporations, non and not-for-profit organizations, as well as individuals and groups that are clearly benefiting from the use, interpretation and/or exploitation of the term Hiphop, (i.e. Hip Hop, hip-hop,) and the expressions and terminologies of Hiphop, (i.e. Hip Hop, hip-hop,) are encouraged to commission and/or employ a full-time or part-time certified Hiphop cultural specialist to interpret and answer sensitive cultural questions regarding the principles and proper presentations of Hiphop’s elements and culture; relative to businesses, individuals, organizations, communities, cities, as well as other countries.

Ninth Principle

May 3rd is Rap Music Day. Hiphoppas are encouraged to dedicate their time and talent to self-development and for service to their communities. Every third week in May is Hiphop Appreciation Week. During this time, Hiphoppas are encouraged to honor their ancestors, reflect upon their cultural contributions and appreciate the elements and principles of Hiphop Kulture. November is Hiphop History Month. During this time Hiphoppas are encouraged to participate in the creating, learning and honoring of Hiphop’s history and historical cultural contributors.

Tenth Principle

Hiphoppas are encouraged to build meaningful and lasting relationships that rest upon Love, trust, equality and respect. Hiphoppas are encouraged not to cheat, abuse, or deceive their friends.

Eleventh Principle

The Hiphop community exists as an international culture of consciousness that provides all races, tribes, religions and styles of people a foundation for the communication of their best ideas and works. Hiphop Kulture is united as one multi-skilled, multi-cultural, multi-faith, multi-racial people committed to the establishment and the development of peace.

Twelfth Principle

Hiphop Kulture does not intentionally or voluntarily participate in any form of hate, deceit, prejudice or theft at any time. At no time shall Hiphop Kulture engage in any violent war within itself. Those who intentionally violate the principles of this Declaration of Peace or intentionally reject its advice, forfeit by their own actions the protections set forth herein.

Thirteenth Principle

Hiphop Kulture rejects the immature impulse for unwarranted acts of violence and always seeks diplomatic, non-violent strategies in the settlement of all disputes. Hiphoppas are encouraged to consider forgiveness and understanding before any act of retaliation. War is reserved as a final solution when there is evidence that all other means of diplomatic negotiation have failed repeatedly.

Fourteenth Principle

Hiphoppas are encouraged to eliminate poverty, speak out against injustice and shape a more caring society and a more peaceful world. Hiphop Kulture supports a dialogue and action that heals divisions in society, addresses the legitimate concerns of humankind and advances the cause of peace.

Fifteenth Principle

Hiphoppas respect and learn from the ways of Nature, regardless of where we are on this planet. Hiphop Kulture holds sacred our duty to contribute to our own survival as independent, free-thinking beings in and throughout the Universe. This planet, commonly known as Earth is our nurturing parent and Hiphoppas are encouraged to respect Nature and all creations and inhabitants of Nature.

Sixteenth Principle

Hiphop’s pioneers, legends, teachas, elders, and ancestors shall not be inaccurately quoted, misrepresented, or disrespected at anytime. No one should profess to be a Hiphop pioneer or legend unless they can prove with facts and/or witnesses their credibility and contributions to Hiphop Kulture.

Seventeenth Principle

Hiphoppas are encouraged to share resources. Hiphoppas should give as freely and as often as possible. It is the duty of every Hiphoppa to assist, whenever possible, in the relief of human suffering and in the correction of injustice. Hiphop is shown the highest respect when Hiphoppas respect each other. Hiphop Kulture is preserved, nurtured and developed when Hiphoppas preserve, nurture and develop one another.

Eighteenth Principle

Hiphop Kulture maintains a healthy, caring and wealthy, central Hiphop guild fully aware and invested with the power to promote, teach, interpret, modify and defend the principles of this Hiphop Declaration of Peace.

[You can read more details and even add your signature to the Declaration.]

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7 attributes for teaching HipHop culture, #3: Create

You will come to a point where the instinct to express your skills is instinctive and in many ways therapeutic. Moving to any instrumentals freestyling rhymes, beats, dances, especially in social situations or open mics is a cathartic expression of an inner self or idea of you want self to become. Many many times, it is not the music that moves us but the images crated and left behind, from photographers and art directors for a label or magazine, to street artists bombing their way to and from the party. HipHop is a culture of self-creation. This is not something you can sell or put into a box or a bag. This is a state of being.

You promote a party or start a production group with friends or write a newsletter or blog about your favorite aspects or important aspects and topics of the culture. You are making your demo or pushing your mixtape. You are in action, you are finding your comfort zone and this is easier for some people than others. I never understood that there were so many lanes for the HipHopper to apply the knowledge of 4 pillars to until I saw how some skills- writing, speaking- were universal, it all depended on the frame of mind with which to approach them creatively.

7 attributes for teaching HipHop culture, #2: Exploration

After “Discovery” the next apparent attribute in ones growth into and within HipHop culture is “Exploration”.
As various aspects of HipHop begin to appeal, there are many things that will draw us in as active pursuits. Many are fans of the art. HipHop music is the single most accessible gateway to the culture as it was crossed into popular culture by being a trendsetter of styles outside of it’s inner city environs like most African- and Latino-rooted art forms. However, the entertainment industry’s mass exposure has been many ways responsible for the view of hip-hop as music as opposed to the voice of a society. The capitalist nature of industry sells the excessive material aspects, framing the pursuit of record sales and dollars as paramount. This is partly HipHop’s fault for not demanding more inclusion of the culture’s other artistic pillars or expanding upon their original platforms.
Street dancers from both costs of the US, as with any craftsperson, worked to maintain skills, build fresh routines and win battles and are often for gotten about in conversation of great performers. Battle champion DJs take a backseat to producers and all are behind the glare of the major label rap star.
Various elements of HipHop have crossover appeal outside of the traditional: theater and improv groups can root themselves in breakin’ and MCing crews; Graphic design, lighting design from graffiti artists; entrepreneurs of all stripe come from scenesters who want to contribute organizational and/or management skills that are fa greater than their artistic talent or drive- studio owners, gallery curators, cafe and club managers, web admis, etc.

Once you begin to “explore”you may find not only the aspects of HipHop that you are naturally inclined to. You will also find what other interests and skills that you possess and how they benefit one another as as well as how the community benefits from those same skills.

7 attributes for teaching HipHop culture, #1:Discovery

What or why we gravitate toawrd the rhythm, the heartbeat, the mindset that is HipHop is the first thing that should be examined in the head and the environment of a young HipHopper [Young in age or in experience within the culture]. “Discovery” and how broad  the cultural aspects of this micro-society will have a profound affect on how it is perceived as a study.

For me, a 70’s baby, as a music fan, I always enjoyed new an innovative presentation of traditionally “Black” music on radio and television. For music television TV then was The Midnight Special, Rock Concert, American Bandstand and the African American standard Soul Train. Soul Train also was a window to popular street dancing styles of various eras. Being a Chicago native, you had to really watch what trends were so at NOT to follow them, propagate new style. In the early80’s, a junior high school kid did not want to be caught just mimicking something from New York or anywhere, he wanted to be seen FLIPPIN’ it, spinning into something new. As rap records slowly came from the east and dances from both coasts mingled with area trends, a documentary changed my perception of New York street-art culture

I liked to draw and doodle. I had seen news reports and magazine articles on muralists around Chicago but also on New York graffiti. I had just made my first visit to New York City at age 11 when “Style Wars” controversially ran on PBS. This documentary also spotlighted breakin’, the art of battling and the mindset of escaping or conquering the block. It showed me a connection between urban and all marginalized peoples, Something creative and way bigger than just music or “some New York shit”.

What is your “Discovery” moment or series of moments? Those of us that hold this culture and it’s arts to heart can pinpoint when they realized that it was about more than music and fame and videos and record sales. Moreover, those of us that fashion ourselves as teachers of the movement(s) of HipHop would do well to pinpoint aspects of the culture in the youth around them, see what they gravitate towards. If it’s dance, The Freshest Kids; If it’s entertainment/music/cinema industry Wildstyle, Beat Street or if mature enough, Belly or Brown SugarCan’t Stop Won’t Stop by Jeff Chang is a great gateway of music to culture and journalism. Let young HipHoppers find the commonalities in these and their favorite artists/actors/writers own stories to inspire their own path into creating a positive lifestyle beyond entertainment industry stereotypes.