Ronan Farrow Daily   |  April 16, 2014

Charting the mainstreaming of hip hop music

Marketing mogul Steve Stoute, author of “The Tanning of America” and hip hop commentator Michaela Angela Davis discuss if the rise of hip hop culture to the mainstream really makes for a more color-blind America.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> at hip-hop differently. i want you to see hip-hop is becoming something real. i gave you what the streets felt like, what it sounded like, tasted like, smelled like. and i tried to capture it like no one else could.

>> he captured it like no one else. that was a look at time is illmattic, the documentary about naz's album, and it is leading the 2014 tribeca film festival tonight. that premiere is the latest sign of mainstream entertainment institutions embracing hip-hop culture. it extends to music, clothing, pop culture . the question, does that make for a more color-blind america . that's what one of my next guests argues in the book "the tanning of america ." steve stout, entrepreneur and former music executive . he's here with my kayla angela davis , and honored recently by b.e.t. all right. thank you so much, both of you, for joining.

>> i speak for both of us that we're both happy to discuss this topic.

>> so happy.

>> it's been a long time waiting.

>> you're very optimistic in this book "the tanning of america ," that this will create a new generation that is perhaps color-blind. i think many of us experience life in the opposite way . i grew up where races had rocks hurled at them all the time. what do you think that impacts the role models?

>> i think in the last 25 years, hip-hop has done so much to bring race relations together. because it removed the barriers of entry. everyone can get into it. it was like, there's a culture, whether you like this particular song or that song, there was something about the music videos , you liked, certain artists you liked, and it went against things you had heard in the past that maybe your parents didn't understand. there's a generation now of kids who grew up where no longer does their ethnicity what they value culturally. i think hip-hop culture did that.

>> i would love to believe that's something that will stick. a counterargument, a recent poll found 51% of those polled expressed racist attitudes. even in these recent times with barack obama , a black president , with changing attitudes in the way you describe kurt actually. are you as optimistic?

>> yes. particularly about youth culture , and millennials. i want to push back on the idea of color-blindness. because i think people are more color brave. they're more aware. they're more conscious. they're more connected to people, whether it's social media that connected them, and hip-hop definitely was, this, like call to young people to connect. they connected through the feeling. it was fun, it was swaggy, it had everything that young people are --

>> style, language.

>> economics, art, literature.

>> it wouldn't stop. look, as evidenced by -- there's no african- american section on facebook. i mean, it's -- it's just your friends. you can't look at people and do that no more. it's a generational thing. it simply was a generational thing. i don't know where the 51% polling came from.

>> and what the age range is. i think it's not a small thing that it's opening the tribeca film festival .

>> a white culturist historically?

>> a hipster.

>> we think skinny jeans and brooklyn.

>> so this -- you know, it's 20 years old. a lot of people, black men, this was the album that changed the game. that this is arguably a lot of people's b all-time. particularly young men. so this idea that these stories, and i think that's what's really compelling about hip-hop, too, aside from the other ancillary cultural things, the narratives are coming from young america . and i think that's what really captures people's hearts.

>> the generational issue is so interesting. it is the shining hope, that the new generation will grow up different. one of my favorite comments came from oprah, she talked about look, there are these people from an older generation that grew up marinating in prejudice, and that wasn't their fault, it came from all sides. you think she'll end the sentence in a moderate way, and she said, those people just need to die. do you think ultimately that's what it takes, the passage of time?

>> it's interesting, hip-hop is arguably 30, 35 years old. so people who are 50, 60, have a record they rock to in their heart. we have to think about the span of this culture and how it is really great american culture . like blues, like jazz. this is an extension of that. i think that's what naz and ig mattic is so profound, because his father comes from a blues culture. so you saw the extension from manchester, queens. that's an american story. that's our journey. and so this album, this culture tells a great american journey.

>> we see this documentary about this album, the film more changing attitudes in hollywood. nevertheless, the " l.a. times " did a poll and found 94% of academy voters are white. a lot of them are old. 2% black. what do you think, steve? it's an uphill battle, right?

>> well, it's been -- look, the film industry , or the -- whether the grammy committee, and i commented on that a few years ago, or the academy award committee --

>> predominantly white.

>> yeah. when you start getting to the top in the voters, and the bodies that vote on the music, of course. things need to shift over time . you know, in the book, "the tanning of america ," i speak about that. i also believe that if you read that book, you understand what's taking place in the dynamics, it is actually better at the generation understanding their kids and to think the way their kids think, and why they dress the wade thy they dress. you hatch a generation of people who don't see color, and it's down to the food, the food that they're trying. gentrification is going a long way in bringing people together and changing the way people feel about understanding other people's culture. once the barriers are gone and curiosity is there, anything's possible. and i think that's the reason why this young

>> well, there's a lot of reasons for optimism, and hold those thoughts because our panel is going to stick around as we ask why a controversial new york police unit is making a lot of americans question whether racial profiling is a necessary evil or just plain evil. stay with