Reality Check- Mainstream media’s marketing strategy to youth, and many Americans for that matter, is to create the belief that living the American Dream and being a consumer is the path to lasting fulfillment. In reality what ends up happening is people live a fantasy definition of success, that both empirical research and personal experience inform us does NOT bring lasting fulfillment. However, sometimes in order to understand this, we need a reality check, which serves as a wake-up call, letting us know that we need to reevaluate our life’s direction. Then we begin to realize that hustling to get money, or stealing to get that thing, or putting material things before people will not bring the lasting fulfillment that we are seeking. Hip-hop Culture, and the teens who created it, remind us that we have the potential power to redefine societal definitions of success, replacing them with ones that are truly fulfilling. This chapter captures some of the reality checks that many youth have had, as they awaken to the reality that they are powerful young men and women capable of creating a better world.


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