Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Today, while looking for something else, I ran across the links to three parts of a four part series on Hip-Hop and the Corporate Music Industry. This is of prime importance for Greens because we have three candidates for the Green Part presidential nomination who are part of the African American community from which hip-hop came: Jared Ball, Elaine Brown and Cynthia McKinney. This series was developed by Dr. Jared Ball, one of those candidates and uses Hip-Hop to explore more fundamental issues. (Bold emphais is my doing.)
Given the societal need and function of mass media and popular culture, all that is popular is fraudulent. Popularity is in almost every case an intentionally constructed fabrication of what it claims to represent. Too few who comment on the lamentable condition of today’s popular hip-hop seem to grasp this, the political nature of the nation’s media system, nor the political function that system serves. Hip-hop is often taken out of the existing context of political struggle, repression, or the primacy of a domestic/neo-colonialism in the service of which mass media play a (the?) leading role. Media, often incorrectly defined by their technologies, are the primary conduits of ideology or worldview and must be seen as such. Therefore, their highly consolidated ownership and content management structure (corporate interlocking boards of directors, advertisers, stockholders, etc.) cannot be understood absent their ability to disseminate a consciousness they themselves sanction and mass produce. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrable than in hip-hop.
I have seen a lot of commentary about hip-hop and rap on programs like Oprah. Much of this is about the denigration of women.

I think that we need to sort through this. Dr. Ball is saying that the popular, mass producd cultue is not the true hip-hop. He also says on his web site that he has plans to use hip-hop as one tool to help build the Green Party.
To that end we are developing a campaign which seeks to break convention by centering attention and focus on culture, those most oppressed and those who have long since given up on the vote and are looking for a new politics and new organizations. We are working with “the mayor of DC hip-hop” Head-Roc and others to provide a hip-hop and progressive artist tour which will reach out to the Indigenous, Black, Latino and poor communities who will help us develop new bases of support for the Green Party.
I think that we need all the help we can get. The Greens I know are all older, white, not connected at all to the culture that younger people inhabit. My idea of "cool" was Miles or Mulligan and avant-garde was Ornette Coleman. I rather think that Jared has the right idea here and that we need to do this whether or not Jared is the nominee.

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