Carat Marks

Kareem Edouard digs up the connection between hip-hop and its diamond obsession

Can you relate the overexposure of bling today to America's consumer society?

Yes, but it also parallels the overexposure of hip-hop. Since hip-hop is a $10 billion industry worldwide, it sets the trend for many cultural movements. So the more Top 40 "bling-hop" that is purchased, the more bling is exposed to consumers.

If you could wear any type of jewelry, what would it be?

Kareem Edouard: "I don't think people are less aware about 
their bling's origin — more that they just don't care"
Kareem Edouard: "I don't think people are less aware about their bling's origin — more that they just don't care"

None. I'm not a jewelry kind of guy. I let my Blackberry do all the shining for me. Also I know people ask me this all the time — would I buy a diamond for my fiancée when it's time to get married — and I say only from a trusted dealer.

In your opinion, is it possible to improve the situation in Africa and throughout the world, and make the mining process safer and less corrupt?

Yes. There are plenty of organizations like Global Witness that look to push legislation to fight against conflict diamonds. Also the easiest way to address the issue is to simply ask questions. Ask your jeweler if he knows where he got those diamonds; ask for paperwork for their origin.

Are other natural resources in the world, for example oil and copper, being plundered in the same way?

Yes. Gold, platinum, silver, Nike, Adidas — you name it — a major company around the world is holding down somebody for it!

How do you feel about the last statement from the young white kid at the end of the documentary: "Most rappers should be supporting the Africans that are getting hurt; they should know better"?

Well, what he said that I thought was very powerful was that "most rappers are black and they should know better and help the Africans...." That to me was a very powerful statement, and that's why I used it to close the film. As African-Americans who use hip-hop as a voice to fight oppression, it's kind of ironic that it is adding to the destruction of our brothers in Africa.

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