Distasteful and disgusting
I was once a fan of The V Show with Bob Valvano which airs on ESPN radio on weekends from 1:00 am to 6:00 am. This past Friday, August 17th, on my drive home from a friend's house between 1:30 and 2:00 am, I turned on the radio to the Fan590. The Fan590 is a local sports radio station here in Toronto, picks up the ESPN radio broadcast on late nights. Being the sports nut that I am, I usually listen to the Fan590 anytime I am in my car. I've heard The V Show on many occasions and have enjoyed listening to Bob Valvano. However, this particular Friday things changed. Mr. Valvano brought up the subject of the NBA's marketing. Mr. Valvano claimed the NBA had made a blunder by marketing to a Hip Hop crowd over the last few years. Mr. Valvano then went on to state mainstream America found Hip Hop culture distasteful and disgusting. I was shocked. Distasteful and disgusting, that sounds a little harsh don't you think?
I am a huge fan of Hip Hop Culture and Music, I have grown up listening to Hip Hop and I can safely say Hip Hop is a huge part of mainstream America Canada. In the early part of this decade Hip Hop Music was dominating every other form of music in sales. It's safe to say that mainstream America listens to Hip Hop in large volumes. In 2006 for the first time in many years Hip Hop album sales dropped to third, behind only Country Heavy Metal genres that rap formerly overshadowed.
To address Mr. Valvano's statement that mainstream America finds Hip Hop Culture disgusting is very uninformed. In fact, white America is the reason why Hip Hop Culture has exploded the way it has. Audiences at Hip Hop concerts are now around 50 60% white. According to Hip Hop artists like Black Riley of the group Coup, "My audience has gone from being over 95 percent Black 10 years ago to over 95 percent white today". It sounds like mainstream America are attending these concerts. Hip Hop has become universal, it sees no color. It could be that Mr. Valvano has confused being black and being Hip Hop.
Hip Hop culture now influences the fashion industry as well. Once a niche brand has now Hip Hop clothing has become a part of mainstream fashion. Sean "Diddy" Combs fashion brand "Sean John" is one of the worlds leading brands. Roc A Wear is also one of the nike 60 degree wedge new heavy weights in the fashion industry. Rap artist have multiple shoe deals with the likes of Nike and Reebok. Is that mainstream enough for your Mr. Valvano?
Today mainstream America controls Hip Hop, much to my displeasure. nike 8 flex-repel Record labels have gutted nike 97 a once beautiful culture into nothing more than marketing and fads. Hip Hop was started as a means to get youth off the streets and do something positive with their lives. Hip Hop today is a direct result of mainstream America.
As far as the NBA and their marketing to a Hip Hop crowd, take a look at the past few All Star game halftime shows. In 2007 the halftime show was headlined by Christina Aguilera, in 2006 headlining was Carrie Underwood, 2005's halftime show was an all country affair. I can definitely see the Hip Hop in Carrie Underwood.