On August 1-3, 2008; The National Hip-Hop Political Convention {THHPC} held its bi-annual forum in Las Vegas. The forum featured artists, activists, politicians, entrepreneurs, youth, educators & journalists. The convention is designed to address issues that mainstream media ignores or distorts. Such as, political activism within the Hip-Hop genre. One would never know that Hip-Hop have made categorical stances in relation to the issues that disproportionately effect them.

The organ was founded in 2003, with a twofold platform: 1.) To underscore the unsuccesful design to ban Hip-Hop 3 years ago by the establishment. 2.) To galvanize support for the National Hip-Hop Political Agenda. The convention theme was: “Seizing the Time For A Better Tomorrow,” and the constituents focused on workshops, entertainment, discussions & training around the agenda’s 6 point platform.

The agenda raises pertinent issues that affect the community, such as, education, economic justice, criminal justice, health and wellness, human rights, and “womanism”—which seeks to end violence, sexism and misogyny against women. This last item “womanism” is a popular substitute to feminism, coined by Alice Walker to address the issues of women of color.

Last night, TV ONE, a black owned & operated media outlet covered the DNC from a Black perspective. One of the panelists, Rev. Marcia Dyson, wife of Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, spoke to this issue of sexism in politics. She referenced how some people wouldn’t vote for then Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton, because women have PMS. An obvious slight to working women everywhere, however, she snuffed out that thought by offering a revised rendition of PMS as an acronym. P=Patriarchy, M= Misogyny, S= Sexism. Brilliant!

So, the fact that NHHPC has made womanism one of its party agenda items is commendable for a genre whose critiques often mention misogyny in the lyrics, videos etc. So, why didn’t any of the large media conglomerates cover this convention? Maybe, they aren’t interested in soultion oriented people organized around a central cause with no centralized leadership. Not suprising, when you consider what is given attention in mass media.

“The agenda are the issues that the political hip hop community identified as areas we need to address in this current period or are already working on. Unlike other political platforms, we take responsibility on these issues such as being responsible for our own health wellness, eating healthy and exercising, treating women with love and respect, [and] NOT supporting and staying critical of people in our communities and entertainers that objectify, disrespect and verbally, attack women,” said Jay Woodson, a convention organizer from Philadelphia.

In addition, convention goers addressed the need to banish gentrification, and the destruction of publicly funded and affordable housing, and reparations for Indigenous peoples and victims/descendants of the African slave trade. Also, calling for state and federal mandates for equal funding resources in education and parity spending in public schools.

The abovementioned agenda items alone if accomplished would go far in affecting justice, equality and the oft repeated, seldom achieved American dream. Parity in education goes back 3-4 generations to the Seperate, but equal trial of the 1954 Topeka vs Board of Education. In 54 years we still haven’t achieved parity. Is it by design? Yes! How can this be when tax payers from these communities pay 1st class taxes, but recieve 2nd class service? Coincidence? No!

Gentrification, which IMO, hastens urban blight, crime & poverty is part & parcel “imminent domain” & “manifest destiny,” is rooted in white supremacy, imperialism, and hegemony! Why haven’t the candidates given voice to these issues brought forward by this convention?

Reparations, probably the most controversial topic has been a bill introduced by Chairman of the House Judiciary commitee: John Conyers (D) for the last 25 years. However, it always undermined & tacitly ignored by politicians on the floor. Which to me, is the Chief reason to vote, to remove these morally inept representations of black serfdom & acquiesence… Move with us, or move aside for real & meaningful progress for all segments of our communities….

“According to Mr. Woodson, the convention did not engage either Sen. Barack Obama’s or Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaigns with its agenda, but both campaigns were invited to attend. The Obama campaign promised to send someone but no one showed up (totally unacceptable) and the McCain campaign didn’t respond, he said.”

Members of the Green Party USA and the Young Democrats did attend.

‘Rosa Clemente, the vice presidential candidate for the Green Party USA, encouraged voters to consider their interests, despite party affiliations and directed words particularly toward Black, older and Latino voters. “The Democratic Party has already said, and the presumptive nominee has already said that the embargo on Cuba has to stay; that Hugo Chavez is a dictator; that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) bill can be signed so Americans can now be legally spied on. They didn’t end the war. They took impeachment off the table. They don’t want a livable wage, they just want a minimum wage. All of those policies are diametrically opposed to everyday life in America,” Ms. Clemente said.’

Indeed, these issues are at the heart of the working class majority of all Americans that is dispersed across racial, gender & party lines. We haven’t heard either candidate illicit a response to these crucial issues that effect the quality of life of citizens. Are the platforms predetermined and already set for the general election? It would seem so, becauase we aren’t hearing any inkling of these hot-button topics from either major party candidate.

To date, only non-party affiliates like the Green party have addressed these issues in a constructive meaningful determined manner! Why might that be? Are the two major parties cut from the same cloth? I’ll let you be the judge & jury, but the evidence is stacked up decisively.

“Hip hop is a powerful medium and the NHHPC uses that medium to reach people that wouldn’t ordinarily engage in politics. It is important for everyone, irregardless of their openness to electoral politics to join organizations—whether it’s struggling to end police assassinations, decriminalizing the young generation, improving public education, ending the occupation in Iraq or increasing access to health care,” Mr. Woodson said.

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  3. hip hop has been a viable poltical tool from jump. It’s not to my astonishment ;however, that both parties have failed to recognize this and have seemed to disregard this cultural movement. But the people will not be silent. We gotz to bring it to these motherfuckers, no matter what it takes…We must survive! peace and love, Father Africa

  4. Thanks given my brotha for your insightful comments. Indeed, the art form has always been a viable political tool. They tried to stop it, but couldn’t. It overcame just like the people who created it..
    “Born made to NEVER break, we must survive, no matter what it TAKES.” Hip-Hop will prove its worth during this election, for it won’t be won unless WE turn out the vote, and turn up the volume…..on predatory lending, payday loans scams, redlining insurance scams, police brutality & this insanely high ass gas prices!!!

  5. Hi Blogger,
    If you have not heard about this great hip hop music video for the Green Party, you should check it out. The goal is to get more younger people,
    people of color, and the disenfranchised involved in politics to take back,
    their country. This is not about Obama. This is about Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, two women of color who are about the people.
    Our song is a positive, uplifting, clean and catchy. We suggest you embedding it onto your site to spread the message. Check it out. If you enjoy it, forward it, play it, download it, share it, link it, etc. Be apart of this musical movement.

    to see video and get embed code, visit

    for lyrics and the press release for the song,
    go to

    Some of All Parts

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