Sunday, May 30, 2004

Hip Hop Summit Action Network In the News

There was alot of different responses to the Hip Hop Summit Action Network in the News.

According to this article:in the Detroit Free Press:

Amid the boilerplate bromides about the value of voting during a roundtable headed by rap mogul Russell Simmons, officials made a big announcement: The summit has added 75,000 names to Michigan's voter rolls.

The news ignited a round of raucous applause. But it was hard to know exactly what was being celebrated. As with MTV's Rock the Vote effort, the Hip-Hop Summit faces a built-in dilemma.

These ventures are founded on a flawed premise: that the mere act of voting is a noble end unto itself. "Mobilization. Empowerment. Involvement." They're the inescapable buzzwords, oatmeal slogans whose constant repetition, rarely augmented with real argument, renders them meaningless.

CBS News was alot more optomistic, reporting and exposing the event. Alternet put together an excellent article about the hip hop voter movement, which highlighted the Hip Hop Convention and other movements as well.

About the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, this is what they had to say:

Meanwhile much of the grassroots work has been overshadowed by the glitzy, mainstream Hip Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN), a high-powered effort led by music and clothing impresario Russell Simmons and a gaggle of record industry heavies like Damon Dash and the "king of excess" P. Diddy Combs. The project is being run by the controversial Ben Chavis, a member of the Nation of Islam and organizer of the so-called "Million Man March." HSAN, which doesn't appear to have many actual members of the hip-hop generation in their leadership mix, has used huge concerts with A-list talent for high-volume registration of young people. With large events in Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston under their belt, HSAN has turned for support to corporate sponsors such as Anheuser Busch, PlayStation2 and the corporate media behemoth Clear Channel.

So, this makes me think how the Hip Hop Summit Action Network is a commercialized, corporate affair, and that's when I get doubtful about it. Its funny how with all the "Fight the Power" rhetoric offered by the group that they go for that big money from Busch and Clear Channel, of all companies. Registering people to vote and left-wing posturing is cool with me, but besides that, what does the group really stand for? Pardon my pessimism but for me, that remains to be seen.

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