Crunch Time: The Hip Hop Youth Movement Has Legs
As the time winds down before we involve ourselves in probably the most hotly contested decisions in many of our lives, it goes without saying that the mission to get the youth vote out has been mostly successful and hopefully continues beyond what we’ve witnessed thus far. Friday night, I was working the MfA table for the Cali Comm tour stop in Washington, D.C. featuring Del the Funkee Homosapien (with a surprise guest appearance wit Opio), Bukue One with EMC and T-Wiz (I’m sure that was his name), Zion I and Aceyalone, Mikah 9 and Ab Rude appearing as the supergroup Haiku D’etat. It was a fantastic set from all involved and surprisingly packed given that it was near Howard University – which was celebrating its homecoming weekend. I’ve worked a show before but this one had a feel of a lot more informed folks than the last one I worked. Many of the folks who approached the table knew about MfA or were involved in similar efforts with other like-minded organizations. Those who didn’t know about us stopped and listened to what our mission is and how important this coming election truly was. It was, as Opio stated while on stage, the face of a movement and the face of Hip Hop. Opio stated that being in the nation’s capitol during such a pivotal moment meant there was a unified front forming. It was, as he said, Hip Hop at its truest and its best. Music brought people of varying hues and backgrounds yet with the same tastes and goal that should be deserved all of us: the ability and freedom to choose. Perhaps you had to be there but I knew I was witnessing something I hope to be a part of again.
The comfort I take in knowing that many of the organizations that ushered in the new voter consciousness amongst the youth – especially the black youth vote – won’t just stop there. In this article from David Jacobean, Asad Jafri of the Chicago chapter of the Hip Hop Congress seems to recognize the need for this effort to go beyond getting folks to the polls. Education is still the key focus in all of this. If we can get the entertainers and moguls to get involved on that end as well, we will have transcended the already worthy greatness of the movement. I’m not cool with the term “hip hop vote‿ because it is too vague. Hip Hop is international, multi-cultural, multi-generational and constantly evolving. It is still, by many measures, a young and growing entity. We have to continue to recognize how inclusive Hip Hop has become and not forget that the spread of its popularity and influence will not be quelled anytime soon. Educating people on the intricacies of policy matters and political processes won’t be an easy task. If we expect to advance from this happy feeling of unity and participation, we must go forward from this point. Let’s just hope we don’t forget the fervor in which we’ve done so thus far.