My name is Yossef Bari. I am 16 years old, I live in Kiryat Malachi, and I am in the 10th grade. I have ten brothers and seven sisters. I was born next to the city Gondar in Ethiopia. In Ethiopia we were a rich family. We had many cows, sheep, and goats. I studied a little English and math in school there.
In 1984 we wanted to come to Israel. They kidnapped my father and put him in jail for forging passports for Jews in Ethiopia. He was in jail for six months where they beat him up. It was forbidden for my father to leave our village for another place. On one evening in 1990, my father, my mother, two of my brothers, my cousin and I left to go to Gondar. The rest of my family met us there later. From there we went to Addis Ababa, where we were for a year. In 1991, we left Addis Ababa to go to Israel. We were in Jerusalem for a year and then lived in a caravan in Chulda(next to the city Rehovot) for eight months. We then came to Kiryat Malachi where we live now.
I want to tell you about the influence of rap music on the youth here. Rap is a great style of music, and I love it very much. The music is very influential on the youth here. They want to be like the singers they love. They think that what the singers sing about is how life really is in America, and they want to be how they are in America.
How it happens is first they listen to the music, they then begin to dress like the musicians do, they see their videos on Mtv and want to act like they do - smoking cigarettes, etc.. They also see the movies of the musicians and see them doing drugs, and they begin to use drugs because of this. They don't see the end of the movie when the bad things happen from the drugs, they only see part of it and don't understand what the movie is trying to say. Because of this they begin to make disturbances in school. They don't go to class and they don't do their homework. They first miss one lesson, then they miss one day, after this a week, and after a while they aren't going to school at all. There isn't any place for them to go.
There are some, like me, who listen to rap music and watch the movies of the musicians but don't have these problems like using drugs and dropping out of school. I think that if kids are beginning to act like the words of the music and the musicians, that other people and I have to tell them that this isn't how life really is, that it's only a life for words and music. For example, when the musician 2PAC, of blessed memory, sings about "Thug Life," he's not saying that people should be like this, it's just a song. When I tell kids this, they tell me that I don't love rap music. I tell them that I do, but they don't want to listen. I still think its important to tell the youth that what some of the rappers sing about isn't how life really is, that what they hear in the music and see on the videos is not what they should do in their life.
Also, there is the problem here with the conflict of the musicians Biggie Smalls and 2PAC. Here, if someone says that they listen to Biggie Smalls, they think you also can't listen to 2PAC, and the other way around. I love to listen to them both, and sometimes when I tell some people this, they tell me to leave. I think this also is not good and that it shouldn't be like this.
I love rap music because there are some songs that really talk about life and how it is. I also love it because of the beat and the rest of the style of the music. Rap is good music but it influences some of the youth to be bad. I hope that people like me, who love rap music but understand that some of the things they talk about is not how people should live their lives, will talk to other youth and explain this to them.
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