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

Thursday, August 12, 2004

To The Left, To The Right: Does The Hip Hop Generation Care About Playing Sides?

The blog revolution is larger than ever, perhaps more than I could ever imagine. It’s particularly comforting to know that participants of all sides of the political spectrum have taken the opportunity blogs present to illustrate their views. Dan LeRoy of the National Review lets readers in on an entire world of young African-Americans who have taken the bold step to state their allegiance to conservatism. It’s always a slight shock to the system to have right-leaning people of color openly state their position because almost unilaterally Americans of African and Caribbean descent, and those in the Hispanic community, are usually liberal to a fault. LeRoy writes with a blind praise about these bloggers that, "the Internet is suddenly full of great black writers whose views aren't monolithic — you'll find almost-daily disagreements about affirmative action, President Bush or the morality of gangsta rap — but instead offer a vibrant, hip-hop generation alternative to the broken record of the civil-rights establishment." Broken record? I’m sure Mr. LeRoy can’t possibly be so excited about the prospect of black conservative blogging to the point he would be so dismissive about such an important landmark in human history.

I’ve been told by my parents and others of the baby boomer generation that conservative values are quietly heralded in many a black community. Why then is the liberal tag usually applied to almost every black Democratic politician if this is supposedly true? There isn’t anything inherently wrong about being either liberal or conservative but the divide is beyond unsettling. There exists this breeding pool for contention already present amongst many rappers since the early stages of Hip Hop and the political battleground is no different when it comes to that tension. Where does the dialogue stop being about who gets the "last lick", as we used to say on the playground, and starts becoming about actual growth? To be perfectly honest, this pressing need to be respected does nothing for advancing true policy or democracy. It just ends up being a bunch of adults complaining over steaming heaps of nothingness.
Being political this year, much like in 2000, is extremely fashionable as noted in this article from writer Meg Carter for The Guardian by way of the Tapei Times. The nationwide involvement from entertainers and those of the fashion world have the potential to be callow attempts at cashing in. Do we want this to be true? Of course we don’t. I want to believe that all of these rappers and film actors are sincere about the mission to get voters involved for the mere sake of choice – even when it's clear they're designing a choice for who the young voters should select at the polls. I’m not sure if it’s enough to just ask anymore; we need to start molding leaders of tomorrow by offering more than sexy slogan t-shirts and offer plans to direct these mini-movements into a lifestyle. But what’s bothersome is that I couldn’t even begin to offer an alternative and I don't want to seem pessimistic. I’m hopeful that with all that’s happening this year with the political activism and movements, all of these efforts are going to bear the best fruits.

The people over at Slam Bush have uploaded a video of New York MC and freestyle master Wordsworth debating our president and it’s one of the freshest ideas ever hatched. Stick me with the late pass if someone else has already posted this on the site but I think it deserves another look. Wordsworth is lyrically light years ahead of a lot of MCs and this proves it.


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