D.L. Chandler's frequent thoughts on the world of hip hop and beyond

Friday, July 30, 2004

Don't Forget Those Hip Hop Kids. They Vote Too, Ya Know!

I can’t imagine a time where a televised event such as the Democratic National Convention received so much undivided attention from usually apathetic viewers. A great number of my friends and colleagues who consider themselves a part of the so-called Hip Hip generation expressed an interest in politics I’ve never expected to witness. When Kerry’s speech was airing, I received e-mails and IM messages from people I would’ve never expected to give much of a care for this sort of thing. They were asking me questions; they wanted website recommendations for research and so on. It was encouraging to know that for all the bombast and hype, they were attentive. Will they continue this sort of interest after November? I hope so because as I always tell young people and anyone within earshot: politics are most interesting and important on the state and local level. That’s where we need to have efforts like the ones MFA and other groups are taking on. This movement has to be sustained beyond the election.
My friends probably also noted how little they were represented on that stage. Not to say that visible luminaries of Hip Hop weren’t involved in some form or fashion but none of the major news channels gave them half the light they deserved. As in 2000, the DNC did little to make certain that Hip Hop culture and the supporters of that culture that keep it afloat were a part of this epic event. There were half-handed attempts made by progressive organizations but when you’re about to throw your valuable vote behind someone, you should be addressed and made to feel as though what your support and vote matters. The empty soul of the convention echoes in me. I started to wonder if it would ever occur to these folks attempting to rally voters that there needs to be some sort of inclusion in those moving and resounding speeches. As Davey D noted in a piece for San Francisco Bay View, Hip Hop’s presence at the DNC was definitely felt but hardly seen. The Boston Social Forum and Russell Simmons’s Hip Hop Summit in Roxbury deserved just as much airtime as any other event near or around the DNC. There should’ve been cameras and reporters on a national level covering some of these major events. The stigma that America isn’t in tune with the movements of young people was solidified by that very exclusion.

Kerry claims he loves Hip Hop (did he call it "the Hip Hop"?) but did he get down in a middle of a cipher or even breeze by any events? I’ve said it in this blog column enough times but these politicians would get major props from the kids and even the old-heads if they would simply show up – even if it’s just to grab a bunch of photo ops and perhaps inspire some kids to give half more than a passing care. How dope would it be if the Democratic presidential candidate got on stage with one the acts even if he would’ve done something corny like a b-boy stance? That would’ve set the whole joint on fire. It would’ve been in every major newspaper worldwide and it would make a lot of young people feel as though this man is of the people of for them as well.
Just to wrap it up this week, check out this article from writer Hans Zeiger as he lets us know how he REALLY feels. I’d like to know the readers feedback on this piece so drop us a line in the comment box of this blog. This should be a rather interesting read considering the happenings of the week.


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