LAUNCH OF HIP-HOP POLITICAL ACTION CAMPAIGN-Andrew Stelzer

03/02/04

Today’s March on Tallahassee included the launch of a new campaign, which is trying to involve the hip-hop generation in politics. WMNF’s Andrew Stelzer has more. -----------------------------------

The hip-hop generation, loosely defined as between 17 and 40 years old, and largely made up of people of color, is a massive untapped voting block. Rap music sells more records than any other genre; and the music’s lyrics often are about political topics; but most people who are part of hiphop culture are not politically involved, and are not registered voters. West Palm Beach State representative Hank Harper says that the March on Tallahassee is an example that there is a new generation that can speak the truth and break through the rhetoric and corruption that has come to pervade the state legislature.

ACT “This march was birthed�

Rap music has always been known for speaking unfiltered truth about corruption, police abuses of power, and economic systems that keep lower class people from getting out of their situations. Harper says that young people can be reconnected to politics if their heroes and role models can explain to them why it’s important.

ACT “One of the things we all know is that…hip-hop and rap�

Musician and businessman Luther Campbell is one of the creators of the Hip-Hop Political Committee; other musicians like Wyclef, and Trina are also participating. The campaign is not endorsing issues of candidates, their goal is simply to register voters and raise their consciousness. The campaign has set a goal of registering 100 thousand people to vote before this November’s election. Hank Harper says that young people know more than they think about how politics work.

ACT “were trying to let young people know…Savvy enough to play it.�

Similar efforts involving musicians to mobilize the hip hop generation have begun to have success around the country; most notably, in New York City, thousands of people rallied against the Rockefeller drug laws last June, in an event organized by Russell Simmons. Harper say s that Luther Campbell, also known as Luke, formerly of the 2 Live Crew, decided to start the campaign in part because of his censorship battles with the FCC and other politicians over the years; he and many other musicians have experienced first hand how the agendas of politicians can become a part of anyone’s life.

ACT “If we just look at the super bowl…. we matter!�

The Hip-hop political action campaign will travel throughout the state of Florida holding rallies, and concerts. Locally, Miss Black Universe, Karly Wright will represent the hip hop political action campaign; there are plans for a concert, rally and voter registration drive in the Tampa Bay area in April.

For WMNF news, I’m Andrew Stelzer

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