Rosa Clemente: Why President Elect Barack Obama is not the first Hip Hop President

from ThugLifeArmy.com

I believe that like many before him, President-Elect Barack Obama’s campaign used Hip Hop to create excitement amongst young people in this country, but we must clearly see through the $750 million bling-bling marketing haze of his campaign. The few times he was pressed on his association to Hip Hop, he spoke about offensive rap lyrics and Black men having respect for themselves by pulling up their pants. I do not recall one specific mention of the political victories and social consciousness brought out by millions in the culture. Just because you brush off your shoulders, fist bump the future First Lady, or play a mean game of street ball, that does not make you Hip Hop.


What we have now is an Obama administration that came into power with the promise of change, but is remixing that promise by sampling from the Bill Clinton Presidency, including Hillary herself, and this new remix will do nothing to change the mass conditions of our people.

In Van Jones new book, The Green Collar Economy, Van says, “It is time to change from fighting against something to fighting for something.For me that statement encapsulates why I chose to accept Cynthia McKinney‘s invitation to be her running mate and why the Green Party made history by choosing us as the first women- of-color ticket in American Presidential politics. I accepted the call because I was no longer interested in fighting against the Democratic or Republican Party.

I want to fight for a Hip Hop political movement not dominated by white liberal politics or white foundation money. I want to fight for a Hip Hop political movement that is African-centered, respects women as leaders and believes in Universal Health Care. A Hip Hop movement that fights for amnesty for undocumented immigrants and an end to the prison industrial complex. We must all fight for a Hip Hop political movement that wants to be at peace with our global brothers and sisters, that will build a truly independent media apparatus and will stand up and mobilize against the increasing racial violence against Latino/a immigrants and demands a live-able wage. We need a Hip Hop movement that is not afraid to say that the Palestinian people should have the full right of return and that the Israeli Occupation of their homeland is illegal. I need Hip Hop to affirm the right of the Puerto Rican people and our island to be an independent nation and I need Hip Hop to help free all of our political prisoners and prisoners of war. We need Hip Hop to end the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, to end the death penalty and we must create a Hip Hop political movement that empowers working class communities, fights for Green Jobs and will never deny L.G.B.T. brothers and sisters their God-given human rights. Finally I want Hip Hop to uplift and support its women, to accept women of color as capable much needed leaders, and to understand that as long as it continues to deny women their much fought place in the culture, Hip Hop will die.

Rosa A. Clemente was the Green Party Vice Presidential candidate, and she can be reached at clementerosa@gmail.com

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2 Responses

  1. Rosa, I hear you loud and clear. You accepted the challenge, but you could still be dreaming. Hip Hop is a powerful tool because it has master the art of packaging the message. The problem with Hip Hop is that message has nothing to do with peace, respect for women, or love. The Negros won’t dance if they pull up their pants…they just walk away. Hip Hop is about the right to express one’s self and be accepted. The problem with that is we don’t decide what sells. It’s a simple choice…change the message and lose the audience or entertain the masses and tap dance. Keep dancing until enough of us actually make it. Obama opened the door, don’t bum rush it.

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