Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The GOP Urban Agenda: Creating a Counterculture

RNC Chair Michael Steele is reaching out to the Hip-Hop Republicans. Meanwhile, urban conservatives, like myself, are reaching out to poets, neo-soul and gospel artists. However, when I discuss the need for a counterculture I am not talking about banning rap music like C. Craig Lewis is talking about. There are some rap music that is socially conscious that we will need in the Silver Rights Movement. I go to the Detroit Festival of the Arts and the Ann Arbor Street Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Arts, Beats and Eats Festival in Pontiac, Michigan each year to connect with people who are into the arts and connect them with our urban conservative message. They respond positively because I talk about issues that is dealing with them directly.



by Akindele Akinyemi

Oftentimes we hear from social conservatives and the religious right of how de
cadent our society has become in our community. We have Black men sagging their pants as if there are in prison. We have Black women walking around wearing scarfs on their head as if they are slaves. The tattoo phenomenon has taken root in our community. You cannot go to a mall without witnessing a mother cussing her child(ren) out in public.

I agree with social conservatives there is a problem. What I rarely hear is a solution.

When we talk about the culture in our community we need to apply it with something more than just blaming it on Hollywood. Telling your child to turn off the TV is unrealistic because that child will sneak behind the parent and turn on the TV or DVD player anyway.

The solution is for urban conservatives to create a counterculture to deal with the liberal left of entertainment.

Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day.

During the turbulent 1960s and 70s counterculture groups rose to every debatable occasion. Groups such as the Chicago Seven , Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and a on a whole, the term, New Left, was given to the generation of the sixties that was radicalized by social injustices , the civil rights movement, and the war in Vietnam. One specific incident would be when Richard Nixon appeared on national television to announce the invasion of Cambodia by the United States, and the need to draft 150,000 more soldiers. At Kent State University in Ohio, protesters launched a riot, which included fires, injuries and even death.

Part of creating a GOP Urban Agenda is to develop a way to create a counterculture that separates mainstream liberal ideologies or indoctrination. In urban conservatism the creation of a counterculture will fall under young adults who were born after 1980. The reason is because most people born after 1980 and who are conservative most likely had parents who are conservative and fell under the Reagan Revolution of the 80s. So fast forward to today those children are now adults and can lead another cultural revolution.

RNC Chair Michael Steele is reaching out to the Hip-Hop Republicans. Meanwhile, urban conservatives, like myself, are reaching out to poets, neo-soul and gospel artists. However, when I discuss the need for a counterculture I am not talking about banning rap music like C. Craig Lewis is talking about. There are some rap music that is socially conscious that we will need in the Silver Rights Movement. I go to the Detroit Festival of the Arts and the Ann Arbor Street Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Arts, Beats and Eats Festival in Pontiac, Michigan each year to connect with people who are into the arts and connect them with our urban conservative message. They respond positively because I talk about issues that is dealing with them directly.

Where are our poets to recite on the mic when its poetry night to tell the Silver Rights story? Our neo-soul artists to tell our story? Detroit is the gospel capital of the world yet urban conservatives who would like to push for Silver Rights have not connected or forged a serious relationship with this genre of music/artists. I am not ignoring the hip-hop crowd but I am focusing more on the neo-soul/gospel crowd because they are most likely to vote as well as carry our message much further than traditional conservatives who whine about liberals in Hollywood.

Speaking of Hollywood social conservatives constantly tell us how much decadence come from there. So what do we do? Will Detroit be our "Silverwood"? In Nigeria, they have Nollywood and it is a nascent film industry, growing up within the last two decades to become the third largest film industry on the planet, behind the United States and Indian film industries. According to Hala Gorani and Jeff Koinange formerly of CNN Nigeria has a U.S. $250 million movie industry, churning out some 200 home videos every month.

Popular actresses such as Genevieve Nnaji (below) is also has her own clothing line called St. Genevieve.

Most movies are not produced in studios. Video movies are shot on location all over Nigeria with hotels, homes and offices often rented out by their owners and appearing in credits in the movies. The most popular locations are shot in the cities of Lagos, Enugu, and Abuja.

This is urban conservatism and silver rights at work. We can do the same here in local urban communities to (1) clean up our image, (2) bring solutions for our social conservative activists and (3) bring in revenue to help build a community up from the ground.

Also, we must be reminded that urban conservatism is international and not just domestic. How many of us support the Africa Channel on cable? We lost the Black Family Channel (which would have been an excellent venue to push urban conservatism). How many of us are watching BBC and Al-Jazeera television to get a glimpse of what is going on in the world? We have to be able to work on both fronts to make a difference.

Urban conservatives also need an answer for radio hosts Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner, Mo'Nique, Wendy Williams, Russ Parr, Mildred Gaddis (for those of you who live in Detroit) who constantly spin the liberal message towards Blacks. Where is our counterculture here? The same for the Black Press. Where is our voice to give the alternative viewpoint?

Tyler Perry movies and plays are really good. However, he cannot do it alone. Again, urban conservatives who live in Michigan should take advantage of the new film industry here to tell our story. Creating a Silverwood (silver rights entertainment that will help generate wealth) will help create balance in terms of the types of entertainment we are exposed to. I favor more movies that deals with family living, Christian or other faith based challenges, and documentaries that deal with environmental issues and creating solutions for urban blight.


Nina May has produced Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution, a documentary that is telling the historical relationship between Blacks and the GOP. Other documentaries must be produced to give real and accurate description of Blacks, Hispanics and other groups as it relates to the GOP. We do not need PBS to show this on TV. Most of us have access to local public access through cable TV, You Tube or distribution centers. Most importantly, it will be the youth and young adults leading the way with this new counterculture. When we conduct our grassroots/outreach operations we must have t-shirts, buttons and other paraphernalia showing the world who we are and why our culture will change lives.

In order for us to create a counterculture we will need to tap into the non-profits and faith based groups to make it work. Most churches have access to stages where we could put on productions to tell our story. Podcasting is very important in promoting Silver Rights through urban conservatism. And the biggest way to create a counterculture is to involve other races of people to create diversity in the new culture wing of the party.

That's a long way from the traditional right wing conservatives who harp about issues such as abortion. If abortion is important then create an independent film about a woman and her struggles to NOT give up her baby. For example, have someone young who is from the African Diaspora or Hispanic community do the acting (since we LOST this demographic last election cycle to Obama). We have to be diverse in our thinking if we are serious about outreach and winning elections.

We have the resources to do this. We also have the money. The problem with us is the fact that we think so individualistic and not think as a group. Urban conservatism is based on communalism not individualism. Pooling our money and resources together is how we successfully create a counterculture. I think this is the best contemporary way of helping social conservatives in the 21st century get the message out through a grassroots Silver Rights Movement. To cling on to the old ways of social messaging and hating on people who do not look like, pray like or talk like you is ignorant. This is a new ballgame and its time we learned how to play the game correctly.

We have to include not just urban conservatives but social, green, fiscal, and libertarians in this counterculture.

It is our responsibility to get our message out. We cannot continue to make excuses to give fuel to the fire for liberal ideology. If the GOP is smart they will embrace silver rights through urban conservatism and roll with the program. Otherwise, we will continue to lose.


Akindele Akinyemi a fresh and new powerful conservative voice for a new generation of leadership, is the founder of the Genesis Initiative. The Genesis Initiative specializes in charter school policies, developing charter schools, global economic development and leadership training. He blogs on public policy and urban areas at http://whoisakindele.info/

4 comments:

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John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Forget, please, "conservatism." It has been, operationally, de facto, Godless and therefore irrelevant. Secular conservatism will not defeat secular liberalism because to God both are two atheistic peas-in-a-pod and thus predestined to failure. As Stonewall Jackson's Chief of Staff R.L. Dabney said of such a humanistic belief more than 100 years ago:

"[Secular conservatism] is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today .one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt bath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth."

Our country is collapsing because we have turned our back on God (Psalm 9:17) and refused to kiss His Son (Psalm 2).

John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com
Recovering Republican
JLof@aol.com

Anonymous said...

You need to grow up and listen to some of your own hippocracy. If you're going to push social and fiscal conservatism, that's fine. But for heaven's sake (to add a bit of irony) leave out the religious platforms! Conservatives spend a ridiculous amount of time doting on the second ammendment while they completly ignore the first, which ensures a secular government (freedom of religion). You really want to bring consevatives back into power? Then you're going to have to realize that "Conservative" and "Christian" are not and should not be synonomous.

Derrick said...

Wow, I just stumbled on to this site. I'm still laughing at the fact that the website is called Hip Hop Republican. The first article I read is written by what I can only assume to be a Nigerian brotha. And the article is based on creating a counterculture. As in to counter an existing culture?

Well let's start by countering the existing stereotype that everything we (African-Americans) do has to be somehow connected to or related to music and dancing.

Secondly Akindele implies that the alternative viewpoint (i.e. conservative republican viewpoint) is not being proportionately shared on liberal radio. I think you'll be hard-pressed to find a significant number of African-Americans not born with a silver spoon in their mouths sharing the conservative republican viewpoint (i.e. the radio hosts you've mentioned).

I also think that implying that Tyler Perry movies are good is contradictory to the point which you're trying to make. An old women name Madea pulling out a gun every 5 mins, being locked up, movies showing men cheating on women is helping us how? Granted these movies end up having a happy ending and sending a decent message, the point is we shouldn't be relying on hip-hop, Tyler Perry, or radio hosts to tell us how to raise our children.

Secondly. You've also forgotten that many of the points you make in your first paragraph are issues not just shared by African-Americans but whites as well. Sagging pants? Caucasians wear them to...they call them slim cut low-rise. Cussing out children, and tattoos same deal.

In no way am I suggesting that it's O.K. I've never sagged my pants, never cussed out my daughter in public, always held and always held a great job. Part of the problem is breaking the mentality that doing the right thing means you're "acting white" as I've been accused of many times because I speak proper English and carry myself with some class. Somehow being "ghetto" is the thing to be. That' the mentality we need to break them out of.

Having a mother born in Ethiopia and having a crack-addicted father showed me in this world you can allow that to hold you down, or bring you up. What we need to impress upon the youth is that you cannot allow your disparities to overshadow your potential to succeed.

I believe your message shares the same common idea. I just tend to play devil's advocate, especially when I see a site called Hip Hop Republicans.

You can check out my rants at:

http://www.derrickisonline.com