Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hip Hop Isn't Political

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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
interests
.

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.

14 comments:

Miss Kristia said...

droppin knowledge!!!!!!!!

Model Minority said...

Thank you.
Just trying to make my contribution m'am. :)

Vee (Scratch) said...

John McWhorter recently put out a book stating the same thing. Of course some folks would argue that hip hop, particularly "conscious" hip hop inspires political action. It speaks to the youth and helps create a political awareness. To that end, I'll just repeat what you said. Hip Hop is not political.

While Obama inspires the masses who would otherwise not care about a presidential election year, I really do think folks tend to overlook that politics requires active participation.

Local grassroots-based action is where its at. Hey, actively participating in parents-teachers associations is a huge start. Before I stray too far on a tangent, I'll say that parents actively monitoring at-risk children and taking control over troubled crime-filled neighborhoods is a beginning of achieving serious political power.

I still can not believe folks were calling Kanye West "deep" and "political" for making that statement after Katrina.

Model Minority said...

John McWhorter recently put out a book stating the same thing.
=========
I almost put out a disclaimer saying "no john mc" because we are different in two ways:
a. I am apart of the Hip Hop Gen. His ass ain't.
b. I think we can change.
c. I am working WITH folks on said changes. His ass gets FUNDED by right wing think tanks to talk about negros. Let his ass start talking about the history of American White Poverty then we will be fishgreasin'.

With 100 V, two of the ideas is to:
a. Get a parent on city council
b. Get a parent on School Board.

***emails you and sends you

Vee (Scratch) said...

McWhorter is the dude people love to hate. He's definitely talks greasy but I don't deny his actions. He's out there doing something and he doesn't pretend to be a part of the Hip Hop Gen. Enough of that.

Curious, how would you get parents involved in local city councils or the School Board.

Model Minority said...

Curious, how would you get parents involved in local city councils or the School Board.
====
Shit. Thats the point of the reflection retreats. Relationship by relationship.

If we 100 V, connect with the young bucks, let the parents see that we serious, then the next step is to figure out which parents are committed and to start putting into motion the steps to get them on Board/Council.

edgar c. said...

yo...whoever is designing the webpages for the state boards of election needs to be slapped into this generation...
i'm just sayin though...

those sites are disgusting to look at and not to mention completely unintuitive...

i'm just thinking how many people actually log onto them and stay on for more than 3 seconds without getting confused...
(other than myself of course)

that gopac site is no better as far as looks go...functionality though = A+

edgar c. said...

I still can not believe folks were calling Kanye West "deep" and "political"
-------------------------------------------------

word...i remember looking at the tv screen like, "damn...these dudes really know shit about hip-hop"

Model Minority said...

yo...whoever is designing the webpages for the state boards of election needs to be slapped into this generation...
i'm just sayin though...

those sites are disgusting to look at and not to mention completely unintuitive...
=======
REAL spit.

Hate to break it to you ock.
None of these shits was meant to be
"voter friendly".
KKK grew out of a desire to disenfranchise Black male voters.

Board of Elec websites is designed that way for a reason.

I have been online for the last week trying to peep how the senators in BK, Oak, Detroit...vote and it ain't that obvious...Im like shit..why isn't this available to me? Because IF I KNEW THEN MY PEOPLE WOULD KNOW AND WHO KNOWS WHAT WOULD COME OF THAT?.....

So yeah..they scandalous...

the prisoner's wife said...

last Saturday I was out passing out school supplies to over 2k kids & helping to register their parents to vote.

this election has me shook. i feel like people KNOW what the right thing is, but will we show up en masse to support what is right? all we can do is hope & help. i am certainly down to do my part.

Model Minority said...

last Saturday I was out passing out school supplies to over 2k kids & helping to register their parents to vote.
=======
Thats the divine to twofer.

Fitness Goddess said...

Great post! I'm really feelin' your blog.

z.bediako said...

About a year ago I attended a viewing of "Hip Hop: Beyond the Beat & Rhymes" by Byron Hurt. The filmmaker was present and there was a Q & A following the showing of the film.

A sistafriend and I were NOT impressed for a number of reasons. First of all, not to be overly critical -- well never mind. I am -- the crisis of Hip Hop's influence (negative & positive) on the Black community just wasn't well documented. Hurt did briefly delve into some issues like homosexuality & misogyny but the documentary was basically surface level.

Anyway -- at the end of the film, Hurt started talking about how political hip-hop is. And how hip hop needed to change so that we could have better schools, and young men who wanted to do better in society. What?

When has political action ever been contingent upon whether MUSIC is political or not. Notes and Rhythms aren't suffering from the sub-prime mortgage crisis, AIDS epidemic, or high infant mortality rate

I raised my hand and said -- How is hip-hop political? Why are we trying to go through musicians like Busta & Nas to "rap" us into political action or to BE our political action? Hiphops importance in our communities as an aesthetic remains important. But the industry is about money and execs who don't give a shit about the condition of Black/Brown people. We see who is buying the music.

He didn't like that question and I never did get a response.

This blog was interesting. I'll have to check it out more of Yyonnes work.

M.Dot. said...

I raised my hand and said -- How is hip-hop political?
=====
You Bad.

Thank you for leaving a comment.
I had a hard time understanding that Hip Hop WAS not political.
It is hard to say it out loud, but we can't move anywhere unless we accept our truth.

Yvonnes book is a great place to start. Read Pat Hill Collin's "Black Feminist Thought" as well. They go into the history of Black politics, with an emphasis on the role that women have played.

If you are interested in being "political" get at me on g-mail...I have a few things brewing.

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