A Mozilla Lesson from Mos Def

One of my favorite artists of the last couple of decades, Yasiin Bey, made a killer point about Hip Hop and the Hip Hop community back in his debut solo album from late 1999, a thought that resonates a lot with me and my involvement in the Mozilla movement over the last 15 years.

Photo of Yasiin Bey with a microphone
Photo titled Mos Def was shot by Volker Neumann and is used under a Creative Commons license.

Talking about the Hip Hop scene at the turn of the century, here’s some of what then Mos Def had to say in “Fear Not of Man”, the first track on “Black on Both Sides.”

It’s a lot of things goin on y’all
21st century is comin
20th century almost done
A lot of things have changed
A lot of things have not, mainly us
We gon’ get it together right? I believe that
Listen.. people be askin me all the time,
“Yo Mos, what’s gettin ready to happen with Hip-Hop?”
“Where do you think Hip-Hop is goin?”
I tell em, “You know what’s gonna happen with Hip-Hop?”
“Whatever’s happening with us”
If we smoked out, Hip-Hop is gonna be smoked out
If we doin alright, Hip-Hop is gonna be doin alright
People talk about Hip-Hop like it’s some giant livin in the hillside
comin down to visit the townspeople
We are Hip-Hop
Me, you, everybody, we are Hip-Hop
So Hip-Hop is goin where we goin
So the next time you ask yourself where Hip-Hop is goin
ask yourself.. where am I goin? How am I doin?

I’ve been feeling and saying this about Mozilla since before “Black on Both Sides” was released and I’m certain it’s more true today than it ever was before.

If you’re a part of the Mozilla community and you’re asking other people where Firefox is going or where Firefox OS is going, take a minute to ask yourself, where am I going?

Photo of Firefox crowd surfing at Mozilla Summit 2013
Photo titled The Power of the Fox was shot by Marcia@Mozilla and is used with implicit permission of the shooter (I hope.)

Mozilla has a bright future ahead of it, one that depends on all of us and the many, many more yet to join our movement. Where will you take Mozilla today?

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