Good afternoon, everyone. This month has been a rough time for the hip-hop community. It’s hard to call what is going on, with yesterday’s news adding to the grief and confusion. As I am sure you have heard by now, Shock G from the hip hop group Digital Underground passed away at the age of 57. Widely known for the song, “The Humpty Dance”, he was also instrumental in bringing 2Pac into the rap game.
To a community of fans and admirers of the genre, this news comes as an additional blow. Many of us are still processing the loss of DMX and Black Rob. Although they left this earth under different circumstances, the fact of the matter is that these men were only 50 and 51 respectively.
This is the third, hip-hop artist to pass this month. Unfortunately, it makes the point quite clear about the gap in the life expectancy of Black men right in front of us. According to an article in NPR, last year Americans lost a year off of their life expectancy due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, just like any other statistic dealing with America, this doesn’t apply flatly to all groups of Americans. Black males have lost 3 years according to this chart in the study. In addition to the racial wealth gap, we also have a racial life expectancy gap. This harsh reality, in addition to all of the other structural disparities that confront Black men stack the deck against us in numerous ways. It is akin to being under attack from multiple directions.
It is a big issue. It is a very uncomfortable reality that by the time a Black man is in his 40’s, he has in all likelihood lived half of his life already. If Black celebrities are leaving us in their 50s, what does that bode for the rest of us? Just something for us to think about as we listen to the songs this weekend.
Rest in Peace to Shock G, DMX, and Black Rob.
Until next post, peace.