Pharoahe Monch Looks Back at Actor Carrie Fisher’s Life and Hip-Hop’s Connection to ‘Star Wars’
Actress and writer, Carrie Fisher died of a heart attack yesterday morning (Dec. 27) at the age 60. Fisher is best known as Star Wars' Princess Leia Organa, and is the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and entertainer Eddie Fisher. Her writing and advocacy of mental health, in addition to her role as one of America's most beloved characters, made her an icon. Fisher's death was felt around the world and millions mourned her sudden passing. Hip-hop legend, Pharoahe Monch was one of the many fans grieving. So, he penned an op-ed for XXL about Carrie Fisher's legacy and why hip-hop is so similar to Star Wars. Read below.
Pharoahe Monch: Hip-hop started in The Bronx in 1973, four years before Star Wars was released in theaters. Nine movies later both entities have spanned over five decades and carved out unforgettable memories in the Etch a Sketch of my mind. I'm making this correlation because the latest installment to the Stars Wars franchise has to be one of the best films of the saga. Rogue One, inevitably reminded me of my humble beginnings in hip-hop, and my quest to become a lyricist and leave an indelible mark in its history.
The art of MC'ing in the late 1980's was truly about the quest of honing your craft en route to the ultimate achievement of becoming a Jedi. I had dreams of embodying the force and one day reaching the legendary levels of Rakim or Kool G Rap. I imagined myself choking MC's with a mere thought and making mic stands levitate. So, when I think of classic characters like Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia in that regard, it's always been easy for me to see the connection between embarking on a revolutionary art form and how audacious one would have to be confronting the fears of the unknown.
How progressive was it that the earlier female MC's like Sha-Rock from the Funk 4 + 1, stood their ground and held their own in a male dominated field. Similar to how Princess Leia, before even knowing she was a Jedi, played an integral part of the rebellion. Carrie Fisher embodied a strong, tough and independent female character in one of the most beloved movie franchises, and aside from acting, became an author who wrote multiple books and punched up scripts for the likes of Hook and Sister Act. Fisher was outspoken about the perils of mental illness, acknowledging her own struggles with the disease publicly, once stating "the failure to address and treat her illness would inevitably land her in a mental institution."
How brave must she have been in her actual life. I for one know all too well, combating your inner demons can encompass confronting fears far worse than Storm Troopers. With Fisher's recent passing, I thought about my introduction into hip-hop and my path to become a Jedi and found myself thinking, "may the force be with us all" especially over the next four years in efforts to ward off the evil appointed empire of Donald Trump, who truly is our modern day Darth Vader. Same breathing issues as Lord Vader, just a wee bit more nasal and minus the pu**y grabbing.
Throughout the years the culture of hip-hop has endured the onslaught of Ronald "The Emperor" Regan and brutal inhumane attacks from Rudolph "The Sith Lord" Giuliani. Still standing strong in defense of the never ending battle against Jar Jar Bink-ass music and Lando Calrissian-ass celebrities selling the rebellion out to suck up to Vader, I mean Trump. But In the end, I still feel as though the sacred message will get through to the young revolutionary artists. Hip-hop will continue to fight the good fight plus new and even stronger Jedi will emerge. May the force be with you.—Pharoahe Monch
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