Hip Hop isn't political. A Hip Hop show isn't political. An album
isn't political. At best, a rap song is similar to what I do here on
this blog, which is provide social commentary.
Ludacris's song is not political action.
Kanye saying George Bush doesn't care about Black people
is not a politcal action.
Puffy talking about the high price of gas is not a politcal action.
A political action is one that results in a group moving closer to a
goal that serves that groups interests or agenda.
For instance, the republicans chose Palin to energize their evangelical
base. In energizing their evangelical base they are increasing
the likelihood of folks turning out and voting for the republican party
ticket, thus increasing their chances serving their agenda by winning,
Our lack of an understanding political history leads to our thinking
that hip hop is, in fact, politcal. In the book, Stand and Deliver: Political
Activism, Leadership and Hip Hop Culture Yvonne Bynoe explains the
difference between a hip hop show and a politcal movement. She writes,
After almost twenty years, the unproven assumption is that because a recording artist sells millions of records, his or her celebrity tranalsates into political clout, as if the artists buying public equates to a potential voting block. A rap artist can surely bring out the masses to a rally, but he or she can't get 'em to the polls or them actively engaged with an issue.It doesn't have to be this way. There are tens of thousands of us.
We have the potential to constitute a movement.
However we have to understand that wearing an Obama t-shirt
does not make us political. What we need is a vision/agenda and
a willingness to VOTE folks out who decision do not support our
Bynoe goes on to explain what those of us in the hip hop generation
have to do in order to be political. She writes,
...It is time for the Hip Hop generation....to construct a more sophisticated dialogue about what constitutes leadership, politics and political action....Political power comes from influence and influence comes from the ability deliver (or deny) money, votes, or both to a politcal candidate, legislator, or politcal party; in the words of MC Lyte, all the rest is "chit chatter."I went to an Obama Mixer on Sunday. The general idea of the mixer
was to discuss what how our work would like if Obama won or loss.
We decided to do a voter teach in on Friday September 26th, the
night of the first debate. We believe that this is an exciting time
because folks who would normally not care about an election are excited.
However the next step is to maintain that excitement, to get folks to
the polls and involved in their communities on a local level. If you
are interested in attending contact me at (m . dotwrites AT gmail . com).
In short, just because Hip Hop isn't political it doesn't have to remain
this way. A show isn't political. A CD with a song about Katrina is not
political. You want to know what is political? The republican leadership
pipeline. I went to the GoPac website and was floored at just how
sophisticated, accessible and well funded it was.
Again our situation doesn't have to remain this way. With the Obama
related interest in the election, through collective action we have the
potential to find our voices and develop an agenda.
The voter deadline for NY is October 10th. Go to your States board of
elections website to confirm both that you are registered and the site
of your local polling location.
The presidential election is Tuesday November 4th.