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

Friday, February 18, 2005

Have We Given Up The Right To Fight?

It isn’t too often when I’m impressed with an academic’s take on Hip Hop culture and the political angle it’s taken on over the years. I’m usually uncomfortable witnessing men and women who aren’t entrenched as deeply as I or my peers are dissecting the worth of something we cherish dearly. Perhaps I’ve grown an obsession – possibly a false claim to the rights of what it is to be political and still considered part of the Hip Hop circumference. As I do before I sit in front of my PC and write my weekly entry, I surf the Internet for interesting news items and I most times hit jackpot. I came across a piece from Columbia University professor Manning Marable (I really enjoy his written work) about Hip Hop and politics. It was done in 2002; well after the shock of Bush stealing the first term. The ideas were still being discussed and fresh – people seemed still eager to fight.

Now here’s what’s disappointing – and feel free, readers, to correct me if I’m wrong – but I’m not seeing any type of unified front like we did that first time. There was a decided amount of outrage because clearly nobody wanted George W. Bush in office. The youth voter efforts I conducted in 1999 and 2000 were my proof – every young person I registered to vote (and I didn’t sway anyone as law dictates) all said their votes were going to Al Gore. Apparently this was the consensus nationwide and we still got stuck with Dubya. And now, we’re still stuck with him, albeit it’s a little frightening now when you think of how narrow the popular vote was this time. People are getting out there now in force. There exists young Republican and conservative movements just like the Democrats and liberals have undertaken for years. It has the makings of a type of jihad – a holy war.

The challenge with the political Hip Hop movement is how we all can sustain the tenacity of before. And unlike before in 1999-2000, the efforts for this election came way too late from people like Sean Combs and others. Professor Marable’s piece reminds us that there is still a large divide between the passionate and dedicated fighters in the Civil Rights movement and the politically active Hip Hoppers (I don’t quite like that word, but it fits). Narrowing that gap has been a passion of mine for a while but I need those haughty academics to meet me and my people halfway. But there is also another issue at hand – and I say this with a measurable amount reluctance. We have to be more inclusive now as our country isn’t as segregated in demographics as it once was. Politically, a lot more is at stake now given the looming specter of the social security debacle, the so-called wars in the Middle East and a crumbling foreign policy. We have serious things to ponder for serious times and we need leaders in the trenches of all generations, backgrounds and hues to put aside the differences for the advancement of the ideas that truly help the people. The question is how do we put everyone on notice?


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