StayUp.News is a revolutionary media project that seeks to document social and political issues through Hip-Hop, amplifying the voices of persons from sectors of society that often go ignored in the process of news gathering, and doing so in a language that is intimately familiar to them.
For over 40 years, Hip-Hop has served as the principal language of many communities, particularly in urban America. By treating Hip-Hop as an intellectual tradition, and harnessing its canon and vocabulary in order to frame social and political conversations, StayUp.News delivers a fresh and unique perspective on all manner of issues impacting people on a daily basis.
The site was founded by our editor-in-chief, Roberto E. Alejandro, who spent three years documenting poverty in Baltimore, MD, before embarking on this project. In Baltimore, Alejandro learned that traditional journalistic methods often operate to silence persons by demanding that they express themselves in language that conforms to media standards, not their own voices. This allows for the narrative of many communities to be distorted by those on both the left and right whose worldview demands that those very communities possess a specific perspective, one that inevitably conforms to the political aims of the left or right.
The ability to speak on one’s own terms lies at the heart of any speech that is also to be considered “free.” It also lies at the heart of any exchange of ideas that would be considered “free,” since true dialogue is near impossible to establish where everyone insists on playing by the rules of their own language game. That Hip-Hop has come to be celebrated and practiced all over the globe speaks to the way this language can express truths that many find their own linguistic tradition insufficient for. StayUp.News seeks to use Hip-Hop as a tool for exploring social and political issues and centering the voices of persons living those issues, thus allowing them to express themselves in their own language, and allowing the audience to determine their own response to those issues on the basis of having heard directly from those most impacted.