In a national study, a Philadelphia-based market-research firm has found, not surprisingly, that black teen-agers not only move to their own beat, they hear what they want to hear, when they want to listen at all.
The study, "Reaching the Hip-Hop Generation," focused on blacks in New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Camden, N.J., and Oakland, Calif. After two years of small group meetings and a survey, it concluded that effective strategies for connecting with young, urban blacks don't exist for messages about safe sex or drug abuse.
What surprised its authors and Houston Baker, a nationally known educator, was that African American teens reject "mainstream" black culture. Appearances by celebrities the teen-agers idolize make no headway if presented on television, which the teens in the study considered mainstream. Anti-drug messages, even in personal appearances, are discounted as "obligations of celebrity."