Politicial Hip-hop Did it end with Barack?
Let's see if we can get some serious discussions going on here about the truth with hip-hop. Why have we gotten so complacent since Barack has made it to the White House? During the time leading up to election and inauguration days, it was all the rage to be involved and to talk about politics. Since then however, the momentum has died just like Puffy's failed Vote or Die movement.
I have to think a large part of the problem is that a lot of the younger generation doesn't know how the political process works. The thought is that if you elect the President then things would just automatically be different. hip-hop in general, and this includes the fans, writers, and critics haven't done a good job of following up and paying attention to things such as the house and senate in Congress, nor have they paid attention to local politics as much as we would have liked to see after the historic victory of November. Too many people, not just hip-hop, just have no idea how laws in this country are made, how and why bills are made, and what they are intended to do.
Even without having a degree in government, there are things that we could be doing to better our communities and further build upon the activism that made the Obama campaign so great. Radio personality Michael Baisden (though his audience is the 35-50 year old age bracket) is embarking on a national tour to promote mentoring in all of the markets where his show airs.
We need a lot more of that to happen with our hip-hop artists who have made it out of the hood and begun to see the finer things in life. Instead of Gucci and Jeezy talking about keeping it real in the streets, we need them to start the campaign to keep kids out of the streets.
We suddenly have all of these stars trying to guilt us into giving to Haiti but they don't represent for their own communities in the same manner. Why isn't Jay-z providing some type of housing or fresh food markets in or around the Marcy neighborhood in brooklyn to improve the plight there? Where are the massive unveilings of youth centers and grants for troubled high schools by hip-hop artists to spur creativity in kids and keep them in the schools?
I have a few suggestions:
1. The big players need to get together and form an action committee that actually takes action. Jay-z,Russell Simmons, Master P, J. Prince, Puffy, Missy, Mary J. Blige, Tyler Perry, Will Smith, Spike Lee etc., with membership dues actual meetings and a board.
2. This Board or action group should have concrete objectives on what they intend to do such as build computer labs, recreation centers, housing and even schools and actually do it. Another objective should be to provide rehab programs, work training programs and possibly even become a Venture Capital group with a focus on creating small to moderate sized businesses in the urban environment.
3. Actually develop some type of standard for rap music. This isn't to say they should have broad censorship or creative control but there needs to be some sort of standard and mentoring program to help new artists develop and to have a standard editing procedure for radio. They need to lead the charge in personal responsibility for artists and their labels and truly become role models.
Those are three steps off of the top of my head that I would like to see done and I hope to address this topic more in-depth in the future. If you have any suggestions and ideas, please feel free to drop them here as well.