Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

Hip-Hop Activism Looks Back and Ahead

As we come to the end of a tumultuous political year, and look ahead to 2006, here’s a good piece sizing up the state of hip-hop activism, by Maria Luisa Tucker at Alternet.

Here also is an interview with BAYLOC’s Troy Nkrumah, now the National Hip-Hop Political Convention’s Internal Chair. The NHHPC is gearing up for the summer of 2006, when the Convention will be held in Chicago.

One thing I wanted to pull out from Troy is this point which I think is especially resonant when we look at last year and the road ahead…:

“See, the problem with hip-hop activism is that too many people look to the artists as the political voice of hip-hop, and that is 100% wrong. Artists are artists. They are not necessarily activist. With the exception of a few, the artists that many look at as the political conscience of hip-hop, are not themselves organizers. Most are not involved with political organizations, thus they are not accountable to anyone other than themselves or their record label.

If you examine the history of political movements and their leadership in this country, you will find that the leaders are always part of something bigger. They don’t stand alone. They always have an organization behind them. You name the leader and I bet you that you cannot find one that was not part of a larger body. With hip-hop we make the mistake too often of looking at artists as leaders. We do so because they have the microphone and everyone’s attention, but that’s a major mistake since they lack the political education and organizing experience that is required of a political leader.”

Point is: if we want a political movement, we need to build the one that we want, not wait for artists or celebrities.

Click here for the rest of Troy’s interview.

posted by @ 3:04 pm | 2 Comments

2 Responses to “Hip-Hop Activism Looks Back and Ahead”

  1. beez says:

    Yeha, so why aren’t you the leader Jeff? I mean that bit is aimed at all of us and I feel as obligated to be that guy as anyone else. So why not you? I’m saying, if we aren’t waiting for an artist to be the man then who are we waiting for?

    I’m really not trying to be a cock I’m just trying to say, your book is like a promise that one of us will be that dude, who is it supposed to be if not you? We must preserve the dust.

  2. Jeff says:

    We are all those people. Each of us has to step up in our own way. That’s what makes a movement, not a charismatic leader.

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