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

Friday, September 17, 2004

Get Up! Stand Up! Everybody Hands Up!

There are few stories in the world of politics the likes of former Washington D.C. mayor, Marion Barry. As much as he’s been hounded for his 1990 crack cocaine conviction and affairs on his former wife, he was and still is a man of and for the people. There is a reason why people flock to vote for him. He embraced the lessons of being in the community you are supposed to uplift, lessons learned from Dr. Martin Luther King and others. It’s amazing that for all he’s done many of his critics (who don’t even live near the area) mention the crack thing almost automatically. He’s failed miserably, sure, but he’s been re-elected as mayor and is now a holder of city council seat. We don’t even treat our current music stars this harshly for their past infractions with the law and how much have they done for their communities? In this well-written piece by the Washington City Paper, writers Jason Cherkis and David Morton showcase a daily log of the life of a man who is an apparent shell of his former self still trying to fight for the people. It humanized the former Mayor even more than before.

As the days are winding down to the presidential election, politics are still more interesting (at least to me) on a state and local level. As one of my former colleagues once said, the political pace of this nation starts in the state and local level. Always has and always will. I have this hope that after November, all of the newly aware that visit this site and have joined all the marches around the country remember to continue the tradition of educating themselves further and to never give up sharing what they’ve learned. The people who are on the frontlines, we need to recognize and support their efforts to keep democracy in the front of our minds at all times.

In this Alternet piece from Scott Thill, our little site gets mentioned and it touches on just how many musicians are really embracing the idea of voter participation. As well read a man emcee and producer El-P – CEO of Definitive Jux Records – appears to be, I’m amazed to read that this is his first year he will participate in a presidential election. Perhaps it isn’t that far off a conclusion given the fact that one of his better songs was the track, “Patriotism‿ from the Soundbombing 2 LP, a scathing anti-establishment lyrical assault that is still relevant to the current themes of the day. It is because of these occurrences I’ve remained encouraged to keep at this struggle to enliven and enlighten those of us who need it. The Punk political movement is still something I need to research. I’m not as well versed in music beyond some R&B, Hip Hop, soul and dancehall reggae. But reading Thill’s article proves that even with widespread voter apathy, wave of change is coming and will not be denied. I can assure you that in 2008, when much of us have mellowed and aged a bit, the two big parties will have to address the generation behind us head on. The generations to come will become even savvier than we are and that’s precisely why Music for America and others are doing what we do. Let’s stay aware, people.


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