Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Green Party Taps Hip-Hop Activist Rosa Clemente For VP

Signaling it is serious about courting the hip-hop vote, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has tapped respected hip-hop activist Rosa Clemente as her Vice Presidential pick.

If the Green Party accepts McKinney’s nomination this weekend at its convention, Clemente will make history as the first hip-hop generation candidate on a presidential ticket, and together with McKinney make up the first all-female of color ticket in U.S. history. McKinney is African American. Clemente identifies herself as Puerto Rican of African descent.

Clemente joins Brooklyn Congressional candidate Brooklyn Congressional candidate Kevin Powell as another prominent hip-hop writer/activist competing in the 2008 elections. Maryland hip-hop activist and scholar Jared Ball also competed for the Green Party presidential nomination, ending his run this past January.

“This campaign is the opportunity the Hip-Hop generation has been working for,” Clemente wrote in an email to supporters this morning. “This is our time to address the issues affecting our communities – rising unemployment, the high cost of food and housing, a lack of quality public education and access to higher education, the prison-industrial complex, and unaccountable corporate media. These issues are not being addressed by either the Republican or Democratic nominee.”

Clemente has been one of the most prominent national hip-hop activists for nearly a decade. She was one of the co-founders of the National Hip-Hop Political Convention and of REACHip-Hop, a New York City-based coalition that launched a boycott of Hot 97 for greater accountability and balance on the airwaves. Affiliated with the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Clemente has been a prominent national organizer around securing aid to Gulf Coast victims of Katrina, and against the verdicts in the Sean Bell case.

Clemente’s potential VP run was welcomed by many in the hip-hop community.

“I’ve never voted in the Presidential election; I’ve never felt strongly enough about a candidate to, said rapper M1 of Dead Prez. “I feel that now is the greatest opportunity for the Hip-Hop community to put our collective strength and power to the test and vote for someone who represents who we are and what we stand for.”

“It’s a good sign of political maturity for hip-hop,” Troy Nkrumah, 2008 Chair of the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, said of Clemente’s run. “There are issues we’ve been screaming about to the candidates and they’ve ignored them–whether police accountability, the prison system, or the war in Iraq. They touch the issues on the surface, they talk about change, but their policies are in line with Bush. A lot of us were turned off.”

“But Rosa is one of the people that knows we need systemic change, especially the youth community,” he added. “She has a history of speaking her mind, not holding her tongue, and telling the truth.”

posted by @ 9:26 am | 9 Comments

9 Responses to “Green Party Taps Hip-Hop Activist Rosa Clemente For VP”

  1. Brother OMi says:



  2. Nancy Hanks says:

    Actually, in 1992, 2 women of color, Lenora Fulani and Maria Elizabeth Munoz ran for Prez on the New Alliance Party ticket in 40 states. Also in 1996, the Workers World Party ticket was Monica Moorhead and Gloria La Riva. (Thanks to Ballot Access News for this tip!)

  3. Zentronix says:

    ahhh thanks for that correction nancy!

  4. says:

    big up Rosa. We might vote now!

  5. Anonymous says:

    To see people in Hiphop hating on Obama is sad…To see McKinney so alone politically she gotta reach out to Clemente is telling of her current “Black Sheep” status (not pun, or Hiphop connotations intended).

    This is a direct assault on the Obama movement. Sorry y’all, it cannot be stopped…The hard left hippie crew can go make a drum circle. I’m voting Obama and thats on my mama.

    Can you see this cabinet? Lets make 50 Minister of Defense. Cypress Hill head of Agriculture and name DJ Premier Beat Master General. LOL!!! Clemente is only known in hard left Hiphop circles. Very few young people know her outside of NY.

    I’m down with ladies first and all that…I like Latifah…But now…Make a symbolic gesture next election. Right now, lets get a Black man who has the right skills in office. The cool thing about this is that these two are not really gonna even be in the way- because nobody gonna vote for ’em….Accept some friends and extended family.


  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m a Green, I was there in Chicago and I raised my hand to vote for McKinneys’s pick for VP.

    Go ahead and vote for O’Bama, if you like our current CORPORATE elections and candidates.

    Corporations give money to both shades of the Republicrat/Democant Party.

    We need a PEOPLE PWOERED grass roots GREEN Party to make real change happen.

    The only way things will change is if individuals are brave enough to rise up and make it happen.

    Rosa is smart and articulate, try and grow beyond corporate fed talking points before you provide some criticism.

    Well thought out critcism we need, not more reguritated talking points from the corporate media.

  7. David R. Adler says:

    One of the Greens’ 10 key principles is non-violence, but Clemente offered unambiguous praise for the Weather Underground and other pro-violence forces during her acceptance speech. Similarly, McKinney favorably cites the December 12 Movement, a pro-Mugabe organization, no fewer than four times in her official response to the Sean Bell verdict.

    The Greens have flushed their credibility for good with the 2008 ticket. Weakening the Obama vote by supporting these unworthy candidates is absolutely the wrong move.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Hey, that sounds like a non-corporate critique….SMASHED on ’em Adler…Good job…LOL.

  9. David R. Adler says:

    Right, just ritually invoke the word “corporate” and all the intellectual work is done. Sad.

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