Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Mark Anthony Neal :: "What's the Real Reason for the Sudden Attack on Hip Hop?"
Mark Anthony Neal turns in a classic on VIBE.com. This slams as hard as Baron Davis on Dirk No-game-ski:

In the context of these questions, we can also ask why the attacks on hip hop - and why now? That some people hoped to enact political retribution for the so-called victory of Don Imus's firing, goes without saying. But I'd like to suggest that, more significantly, the current critique of hip hop is aimed at undermining the culture's potential to politicize the generations of constituents that might claim hip hop as their social movement. After high profile voter registration campaigns in 2004 that were fronted by Russell Simmons, Sean Combs and others, much was made of the lack of impact that hip hop generation voters had on the outcome of the 2004 Presidential election. The hip hop generation, in fact, embraced the franchise in unprecedented numbers, but those numbers were obscured by the unprecedented turnout of religious fundamentalists who were galvanized by issues like same-sex marriage and threats of anti-American terrorism. With no candidate on the Right likely to galvanize religious fundamentalists, the hip hop nation - which has continued to organize since 2004 - represents a legitimate political bloc. With this political bloc comes demands for social justice, particularly within the realms of the prison industrial complex, the labor force, US foreign policy, law enforcement, the electoral process, mainstream corporate media, the economy, public education and a range of other concerns.

While there has long been criticism of hip hop culture from the standpoint of social conservatives, pro-hip hop feminists, religious groups, anti-homophobia activists and hip hop heads themselves, what marks this moment as different are the attempts to force mainstream black political leadership and Democratic Presidential candidates to repudiate hip hop culture (reminiscent of the pressures placed on Reverend Jesse Jackson to distance himself from Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in 1984).

Emblematic of these pressures is a recent Chicago Tribune editorial, which asked,

"Will Obama scold David Geffen, the entertainment mogul who is one of
his most prominent contributors and who owns Snoop Dogg's record label? Will
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton admonish rap impresario Timbaland, who recently
threw a benefit for her at his Miami home that raised $800,000?"

Asking figures like Reverend Al Sharpton, Senators Clinton and Obama, and Russell Simmons to publicly distance themselves from hip hop is a transparent attempt drive a wedge between them and a constituency that has both the energy and the creativity to galvanize a youth-based electorate in the 2008 election season.

The sexism, misogyny, violence, anti-intellectualism and homophobia that rap music traffics in is real - but it is also reflective of where American society is at this moment. Remove offensive and vulgar lyrics from rap music, and we are still faced with a society that is largely sexist, misogynistic, violent, anti-intellectual and homophobic. The real story here, is that as the hip hop generation(s) have come to maturity and begun to realize their civic, social and political responsibility, that there are many in the larger society who are disconcerted - and they should be.

Such is the reality of social change.


posted by Zentronix @ 6:27 PM   0 comments links to this post


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Previous posts
We Got This
They Don't
Going Home To New Orleans? :: Housing and Public P...
Quote of the Millennium
Me on Chuck Brown's Great New Album
Who gets to use the N word? :: Mark Anthony Neal o...
K Sanneh on Hip-Hop Outrage
Dave Marsh on Imus and Whiteness
On The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network's Language Ba...
Lifesavas Out Today!

select * from pages where handle = "BlogLinks" #content#

June 2002
July 2002
August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009

Email list

Add me to the Can't Stop Won't Stop email list, an irregular update of what's new in our world: