We Barack’d the vote… now what?
“He who pulls the purse strings pulls the strings of the puppet.” -I X 3
It is naïve to think that Hip-Hop culture within the United States in its present mainstream incarnations is a viable candidate for an empowerment movement. Firstly, consumer power doesn’t equate to political power.
It is true that economics directs politics and that consumer power can be read as economic strength, but this is merely potential energy, not kinetic. It is meaningless if it isn’t utilized in orchestrated actions for specific empowerment objectives.
Otherwise, all of this spending is just lining the coffers of the prison and military industrial complexes.
More importantly Hip-Hop’s creators are not directing Hip-Hop as a culture. This is decided by corporate brain trusts and in the pages of governmental urban policy studies.
Consultants informed by these processes advise Hip-Hop’s greatest minds and guide the careers and business decisions of Hip-Hop’s influential personalities and executives. Basically, the same power elite fat off the capital produced by chattel slavery and maintained through institutionalized racism, controls corporate Hip-Hop.
It is in this power elite’s vested interests to steer Hip-Hop’s political course in a direction favorable to their own objectives. It would be foolish to think that if power is a chess game and a master thinks many moves ahead, that there is no such doctrine as pre-emptive counterinsurgency.
Is it rational to think that a force controlled, funded and profitable to a power elite can be used by a powerless underclass to challenge that very same power elite? We created the ultimate tool of liberation only to have it co-opted into the very mechanisms of our own oppression.
Hip-Hop must be brought entirely under our own control before it can be used for political empowerment. It cannot challenge the status quo when it is the puppet of the same said status quo.
And even if Hip-Hop is or becomes the status quo, and that is the path to empowerment, if we do not control Hip-Hop, it will just be Jim Crow standing in a B-Boy stance.