Thanksgiving provides an opportunity to look back upon the year and give thanks to the blessings in life.  2016 has certainly been a challenging year and some might be struggling at the dinner table on Thursday to think of the positives.  Fear not, we’re providing you with reasons hip hop this year has culturally been one of our biggest joys.  Rap music can still be violent and misogynistic but the artists are making more of an effort than ever to make a difference in the communities that need their help the most. We’re taking a look at some of the most inspiring movements from hip hop stars in 2016.

Eminem, Diddy and Other Rappers Bring Drinking Water to Flint
The ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan has been nothing short of tragic.  Contaminated water has been spread through the city leaving inhabitants sick and without clean drinking water.  Although the state of Michigan has seemingly dropped the ball in every instance, some well known MCs have stepped up to  try to aid the poverty stricken community.  Eminem and Diddy pledged to give over 1 million bottles of water to residents of Flint through Diddy’s water company AquaHydrate. Meek Mill and Big Sean have also given sizable donations to the cause. This has been going on for almost a year and the people of Flint still don’t have clean water so click the link if you’re interested in helping. http://www.cnn.com/2016/01/13/us/iyw-flint-michigan-water-crisis-how-to-help/

Chance The Rapper’s Warmest Winter
Chance The Rapper had a huge 2016, he arguably stole the show on Kanye’s TLOP and followed that up with one of the best albums of the year with, “The Coloring Book”.  The Chicago born artist has been outspoken in his support of his city and devised a way of giving back to some of the less fortunate members of his community.  The Warmest Winter is a charitable movement that raised over 100 Thousand Dollars last year to give coats the homeless.  Although they met their goal for last year, many are still without and you can bring warmth to someone that desperately needs it here: http://www.warmestwinterchicago.com/

Killer Mike’s Campaign with Bernie Sanders
Many celebrities came out in support of their preferred candidate in this past election but few were as involved in the democratic process as Killer Mike.  During the 2016 Democratic Primary, Killer Mike not only backed Bernie Sanders, but served as a political surrogate through the race.  He opened rallies, hosted town hall style conversations and got the message out to vote.  Although it did not end with the result that he wanted, Killer Mike used his considerable platform to try in invigorate a voter base that is often looked over.  If you want to make an impact on the future of this country you have to go out and vote. Changes are not just made every four years in the presidential elections, vote in all your local elections.  For more information on registering to vote: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote

The Game and Snoop Dogg Lead H.U.N.T Rally
Throughout the course of their musical careers’ Snoop and The Game have made numerous references to their Los Angeles gang ties.  This past summer the former Crip affiliated Snoop and Blood affiliated Game came together and united gang leaders in Los Angeles to lead a peaceful rally against police brutality.  The H.U.N.T. movement stands for both: Hate Us Not Today and Hunt Us Not Today.  The goal is to create a dialogue between Los Angeles minorities and the police departments who serve them.  They successfully lead a non violent march on July 8th of this past year which culminated at Los Angeles City Hall where they were received by Mayor Garcetti and key members of the LAPD.  If you’re interested in finding ways to combat police brutality in your area this is a great resource for established causes: http://www.essence.com/hot-topic-news/13-organizations-leading-fight-against-police-brutality

Kid Cudi’s Brutal Honesty About Mental Health
Kid Cudi shared a deeply personal letter to his fans on Facebook earlier this year about his own mental health. Even in 2016 the stigmas attached to mental health make it very difficult to speak about publicly.  This is only amplified in hip hop circles which values bravado and toughness so highly.  Cudi exercised a great deal of courage when he went on the record about how his own personal demons and how he was planning on combating them in the future.  His words were met by most with care and understanding and wishes for the talented young MC to get the help he needs and to begin the necessary steps in healing.  Anxiety and depression are not merely things that people can “get over” and by publicly issuing a message of seeking professional help, Cudi hopefully empowered fans of his who are struggling to do the same.  If you’re unaware of some of the warning signs of depression and anxiety or you’re having a hard time yourself please take a look at https://www.adaa.org/