Basis

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

Friday, September 10, 2004

The Hip Hop Generation: "People of Color" Or Did I Miss The Memo?

Writer/Author Farai Chideya examines the validity of "voters of color" (guessing from this article are we supposed to assume they make up the entire Hip Hop generation?) and the connection to political parties outside the usual Big Two – namely the Green Party . I have a good friend who lives in the area and he's always urging me to join he and his fellow "Black Greens", as he puts it, for one of their meetings. I've yet to do it for a host of reasons I'll save for another blog entry. None are entirely negative, however. I’ve just had enough of the pitches for me to “join in" and I’m quite ready for a different set of action.

Party pleading to the Hip Hop Generation, no matter the group, is something that can and should be questioned across the board. As Ms. Chideya's book excerpt illuminates, The Greens of color truly believe this is the vehicle of political change for them. As I always like to say in conversation, if I'm trying to sell you a car I will certainly make you comfortable enough to give me the sale. I'm not clear on the angle as I’ve yet to really immerse myself in the affairs of the Greens locally but I’m interested to see what’s gotten all these folks gung ho for them.
KRS-1, the legendary and innovative New York MC and lecturer, recently stated in a The Source article that Hip Hop is the only thing American other countries still respect of our nation. Hip Hop’s global reach is astounding in scope – especially when you see instances of the more politically aware approaches of those beyond our domestic shores. In this article from Mmegi we’re introduced to Fifth Light, an apparently insightful and determined MC in Africa residing in the country of Botswana. But unlike some wide-eyed youth who latch on to this looming American specter that sometimes lauds materialism and misogyny, Fifth is totally the opposite of that. When is the last time you heard of a MC using Kofi Anan in a simile rhyme scheme?
I have to admit I’m in total awe of the breadth of work Professor Cornel West has amassed over the years. He’s just released a new book and has totally gone hard left in his assessment of imperialism and conservatism. And as this Seattle Times article notes, Mr. West knows how to travel in all circles without toning down any of his formidable intellect. However, West isn’t the easiest “brotha" (his thing, not mine) to read. I’ve been driven to near rage trying to get what the man is saying and I’d like to think I’m a pretty bright guy by most standards. He’s giving of himself, however, and that has to amount for something. Writing from your mind takes a toll – believe me, I’m feeling the burn these days.

Free ideas and steady motion make this country great. The sustained efforts of those that are, at the very least, poised and prepare to teach or lead is giving way to the reality of all the idealism of our times. I just hope we don't pigeonhole our pigeonholes in some faulty attempt to promote change.

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