Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Is Hip-Hop Owned by the Democrat Party?

By Brandon Brice

HipHopRepublican.com in recent years has revolutionized the way that young
audiences nationwide are looking at the GOP. The blogsite has introduced a new manifesto to Republican politics in urban America, but has faced controversy because of the name“hiphoprepublican.com”.

One Sunday morning as I reached for my I-POD player, I noticed two songs titled “ I Put On” and “My President is Black” by southern rap artist Young Jeezy. In the song’s lyrics Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama is uttered in the background, but I don’t hear any reference to John McCain. Interestingly the Hip Hop culture has assisted the Democratic Party on multiple elections, campaigns, etc. However, the interesting observation is that now it’s beginning to be an issue when the GOP decides to reach out to this same influential base.

Are we starting to realize the power of hip hop as it relates to coalitions building and outreach? Absolutely.

All of us Bill Clinton lovers remembered in the early 90’s the two largest outreach strategies that helped Clinton become our 42nd President, gaining national recognition on the Arsenio Hall Show playing the Saxophone to a jazz melody and being endorsed nationwide by the late 2Pac Shakur in urban communities nationwide. In previous years rap icon P-Diddy, or Puff Daddy gained national recognition for the “Vote or Die” campaign via television shows, t-shirts, memorabilia, etc.

Unfortunately the question for Mr. Combs, a successful business guru, should’ve been vote or die for whom? The bi-partisan nature of these campaigns and outreach methods are incredibly skewed to the left, with an emphasis on supporting only Democratic candidates. Perhaps this phenomenon is solely because Democratic candidates in the past have showed up in urban communities for church events, endorsements and cookouts.

R.N.C. Chairman Michael Steele received an endorsement last year from Def Jam founder Russell Simmons, who apparently understands the importance of a two party system which gives African Americans options. In November of 2008, Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain received an endorsement from Latino hip hop star Daddy Yankee which appealed to many young Spanish audiences who at first were not in favor of supporting a candidate in his mid 70’s. The left has finally realized that the Republican Party’s new approach and tactics towards urban America, via the tea parties, modeling a strategy to promote urban conservatism and young minority activist speaking against big government has stirred up this new outreach towards the hip hop culture. The Republican Party has finally discovered that the power of the future lies in the youth and who controls it.

- Brandon Brice is a graduate of Howard University and is a former fellow of the New Jersey Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. As a long time member of Republicans for Black Empowerment, Brandon is an active contributor to HipHopRepublicans.com. Brandon Brice has worked as a policy intern for the former House Speaker Honorable J. Dennis Hastert and has served as a fellow at the United Nations. He has been featured on C-SPAN’s Road to the White House; BET’s What’s At Stake and Hot97 with Lisa Evers. Brandon is a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, and attends the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church in Harlem.

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