Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Was there and is there voter intimidation in Florida?

The WSJ had an editorial which referred to voter intimidation in Florida in 2000 and this year as "voter fraud". Take this quote:

The real spectacle here is that some Democrats are only too willing to exploit the painful history of black voter disenfranchisement for some short-term partisan advantage.

So, I have taken many different sources and have pieced together different perspectives on voter fraud. Here we go:

From Greg Palast's website:

The biggest wholesale theft occurred inside the voting booths in black rural counties. In Gadsden County, one of the blackest in the state, thousands of votes were simply thrown away. Gadsden used paper ballots which are read by an optical reader. Ballots with a single extra mark were considered “spoiled“ and not counted. The buttons used to fill out the ballots were set up – with approval from Bush and Harris – to make votes appear unclear to the machine. One in eight ballots in Gadsden was voided by the state.

From the New York Times:

"The documents were reviewed by F.D.L.E., as well as the Florida Division of Elections. It was determined that there was no basis to support the allegations of election fraud concerning these absentee ballots. Since there is no evidence of criminal misconduct involving Mayor Dyer, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement considers this matter closed."

Well, it's not closed. And department officials said yesterday that the letter sent out in May was never meant to indicate that the "entire" investigation was closed. Since the letter went out, state troopers have gone into the homes of 40 or 50 black voters, most of them elderly, in what the department describes as a criminal investigation. Many longtime Florida observers have said the use of state troopers for this type of investigation is extremely unusual, and it has caused a storm of controversy.

From Truthout:

Baxter, now 44, won clemency and has voted repeatedly for years, most recently in the 2000 presidential election.
Because of her felony conviction, Baxter, who cleans rooms at a Ramada Inn, has never been able to qualify for better-paying work. Even so, she never thought her record would keep her from voting.
"I really do want to vote," said Baxter, a Democrat.
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, said he was outraged at The Herald's findings.
"What they are doing here is illegal, and it goes beyond a simple voting rights issue," he said. "It shows a complete lack of respect for individual rights. They're making people do this, hoping they won't have time. This reminds me of the Jim Crow laws of the 1950s and 1960s in Mississippi. It just sickens me."

From Spiegel:

The big story out of Florida over the weekend was the tragic devastation caused by Hurricane Charley. But there's another story from Florida that deserves our attention.
State police officers have gone into the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando and interrogated them as part of an odd "investigation" that has frightened many voters, intimidated elderly volunteers and thrown a chill over efforts to get out the black vote in November.

From Commondreams:

In the 2000 presidential election, 1.9 million Americans cast ballots that no one counted. "Spoiled votes" is the technical term. The pile of ballots left to rot has a distinctly dark hue: About 1 million of them -- half of the rejected ballots -- were cast by African Americans although black voters make up only 12 percent of the electorate.

From the BBC:

Several witnesses described being intimidated by police roadblocks near polling stations and being asked to produce several identity documents before being allowed to vote. Others spoke of being wrongly listed as convicted criminals.

From Townhall.com:

Larry Elder: Peter, John Kerry said a million black voters were disenfranchised. I assume he means all over the country, not just in Florida, in the year 2000. Is that true?
Peter Kirsanow: No, absolutely not. This kind of rhetoric has been trafficked in for the last going-on-four years now by a number of individuals. It's kind of surprising that a presidential candidate would actually do the same. But, as you may recall, before the polls were even closed in Florida during the 2000 election, activists had descended upon the state and already were proclaiming that voters were being disenfranchised, harassed, intimidated. In fact, some people were saying that dogs and hoses were being used on black voters and that tens of thousands were either being obstructed from going to the polls or otherwise harassed. There was a six-month investigation by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission . . . also an investigation by the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department. . . . There was absolutely no truth to any of those allegations . . . not one person who was intimidated . . . (or) had their vote stolen. There was no disenfranchisement . . . no truth to any of those allegations.

From the Nation:

Despite one well-reported incident involving a police checkpoint near a polling place, disfranchisement 2000-style did not depend on intimidation. Cattle prods and attack dogs, the legacy of former Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Connor, were nowhere in evidence. Instead, Florida state elections officials and hired data crunchers used computers to target thousands of voters, many of whom were then purged from the voter rolls without reason. And many thousands more saw their votes thrown out as a result of error-prone voting machines and poorly designed ballots, the results of an underfunded and chaotic electoral system.
In all, some 200,000 Floridians were either not permitted to vote in the November 7 election on questionable or possibly illegal grounds, or saw their ballots discarded and not counted. A large and disproportionate number were black.

Another from Commondreams:

In Miami-Dade County, voters in heavily African-American precincts were three times more likely to have not recorded a vote for president than in precincts where black voters made up less than 30 percent of the population. The rejection rates were easily enough to have affected the outcome of the election.
Patronizing, if not racist, Republican strategists imply that black voters displayed a low IQ in the voting booth. ''The NAACP did a tremendous job of turnout in Florida,'' a Republican strategist told the Post. ''But in a way, they overachieved and got people out who couldn't follow instructions.''

From Salon:

The cops, armed and dangerous, have questioned voters in their homes, as well as volunteers involved in "get out the vote" activities. Officials refuse to state what criminal activity took place, but acknowledge that they are focusing on elderly blacks who are members of the Orlando League of Voters. This organization has successfully mobilized the black vote through registration, helping the elderly to understand the ballot, and drive people to the polls, all legal activities the last time I checked.

As Herbert states, "The vile smell of voter suppression is all over this so-called investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement." People are afraid they're going to jail simply for voting absentee, and apparently many who have voted absentee are now "refusing to allow campaign workers to come to their homes." It has cast a chill on the volunteers as well, since no one wants armed and dangerous strangers on a political witch hunt to come to their doors. He closes his article with "The long and ugly tradition of suppressing the black vote is alive and thriving in the Sunshine state."

You get the idea. This is a complex debate which, to me, if you didn't experience the wrongs, you'd be only to decide what happened. I'm not in Florida, so I have no idea what is going on down there, but the debate does concern me. The ones on the right want to ignore it, deny it, say it never happened, those on the left want to use it to paint the right as callous racists. This is something that should not be laid to rest.

Also, check out this Vote 2000 report. There is some real first hand info in this. I wonder what the right has to say about this?

Cathy Jackson, an African American woman, has been a registered voter in Broward County since 1996. Upon registering in Broward County, Ms. Jackson was told that if she ever experienced a problem with her voter registration card, she would be allowed to vote if she could produce a valid driver’s license. Ms. Jackson voted in Broward without any incident using her driver’s license since 1996. However, when she went to her polling place, Precinct 52Z, on November 7, 2000, she was told that her name was not on the list. The poll workers suggested that she travel back to her old precinct in Miami-Dade County to vote. Ms. Jackson did as she was advised even though she had voted in Broward County since she moved from Miami-Dade County in 1996. After waiting 45 minutes at her old precinct, the poll workers in Miami-Dade told Ms. Jackson that her name was not on the rolls and referred her back to Broward to vote.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Journal notes 9/21-9/26

I’ve been gone a little while. First, my friend had a wedding and I was one of the groomsmen. I spent about $120.00 on some stripper named Dynamite at my friends “bachelor party” (i.e. a night out at the stripclub!) The wedding was fun, I saw the “Lean Back” dance being done (wondering how the heck can folks my age keep up with that stuff!) Then, I went on a bizness trip to Las Vegas. My first time in Vegas, it was really fun. Didn’t have much “fun” because I was around my co-workers, and was low on cash. I’m into seedy stuff; I wasn’t really down for touring per se…I wanted to check out the hookers and to gamble my money away. It was cool, met a couple of hookers (but didn’t hook up with any), played the slots, it was fun. I liked the local hip hop station there; one day I woke up to Sir Mix A Lot’s “Posse On Broadway”, and they played the jams like Tupac’s “To Live and Die in LA” and Kurupt’s “We Can Freak It”. I like hearing that West Coast sound, and they don’t really have that same appreciation here in DC, so it was cool.

I got it for much cheaper, but buy "Bang" on Amazon.

For the last couple of weeks I watched a bunch of movies as well. I watched this one movie called “Bang” about some cops who are trapped and held captive by a gang of crazy dudes. It was brutal, but insightful. Each of the cops has a flash back to when they did some foul stuff, like steal money from a crime scene, treat people bad, sleep with other dudes girls, and they are blasted one by one. It’s an independent hood flick, more or less, and I hoped for a better ending. Another movie I saw was Paper: Incriminating Evidence, another really thugged out NYC hood flick, set in all the hoods in NYC, it was a really low budget, brutal, and home movie looking flick. The setting and reality of it really kept my interest, but it was pretty low budget for a hood flick. Yet another flick I saw was Black Godfather”. This movie wasn’t so much about a black version of “The Godfather” as it was a blaxpoitation flick about a crime boss who turns against the white mobsters who are pumping his hood full of heroin. It’s a black movie set in the 70’s and I liked the militancy angle of it. I think that most of the more militant black movies of the 70’s are not really known; we know mostly about the ones with pimps, drug dealers and other negative images. Another flick I saw was “Man on Fire” with Denzel, and as a movie I wasn’t really feeling it. It was ok, but it was crazy at times, confusing, and had these moments which makes me think that Denzel has been taking any old role to just pay off maybe gambling debts? Who knows. I’m one of those who feels that Denzel turned away from positive stuff to play negative roles. The role in this movie was negative, I mean, a gun toting, alcoholic black man? I wasn’t really feeling it.

Oh well, I had enough excitement for a week, and now its back to the daily grind.

Check out:

The site of Chanya Middleton, video honey.

K-Vegas, the other Vegas hip hop station!

City Alert: Hip Hop Awards (Chi-town)

Blatant Truth

Las Vegas Mercury

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Hip Hop Politics notes 9/18-9/21

I’m watching that show The Player, and is it me, or is that girl the guys trying to get with like totally yuck. I mean, she looks good but she just seems to be like beside herself. I really liked the show at first, but now, my interest is waning. Yesterday, I watched on CSPAN the panel for Hip Hop voter drive, it was something like that, and there was Russell Simmons, Harold Ford, the representative from Tennessee, and a couple of other politicians. What I liked best was Russell Simmons and his being so outspoken. Russell Simmons can talk intelligently about race, music and politics and he really gets that kind of love from the industry and the streets. Other cats are taking up Russell’s cause and starting up their own movements, and even though the issues are too boring to really compete with the loud beats and the rhymes. Russell and all the others have driven the idea that its most important to vote, to vote, to vote. However, the issues have not been given all that much attention, and that’s because you can’t mix C-SPAN and MTV. The politicians are the ones that have to really work that crowd once Russell or Puffy gets them hyped. Sad thing is, I don’t really think that John Kerry or Dick Cheney are really interested.

As for Russell Simmons, he said some interesting things about Eminem. He enthusiastically stated that Eminem has hosted 2 of his summits. Not only that, he said that Eminem is about to put out some “Bush bashing” records. I don’t really know what Eminem can add to any political dialogue, and despite the fact that I like Dead Prez, the Coup and Paris, I don’t even really base my political ideas on what they say. Speaking of Dead Prez, it’s sad that only because Eminem has turned into such the artistic powerhouse, his record will warrant the debate of Farenheit 9/11 but Dead Prez and Paris have been much more thorough I feel in bashing Bush, and they barely get any attention. Now, I’m not being a hater, but I really couldn’t care less what Eminem has to say about Bush, and I can’t stand Bush! I predict, however, that when Eminem puts out his album, everybody is going to be all over it and he will be praised as somebody who speaks his mind, and then all the media and hip hop press will address the black rappers and say “Shame on you. Why can’t you be more like Eminem instead of being trifling gangstas? Russell Simmons said “Eminems doing all he’s doing, and he’s coming from the trailer!” I don’t know, I’ll see all the hype, and everybody getting really excited about Eminem’s Bush bashing album; I wonder if right wingers will accuse Eminem of “aiding the enemy” like Michael Moore and John Kerry. I don’t like Eminem, but I guess I can give him credit for taking advantage of the opportunity to cash in on Bush-bashing. It’s funny how much weight that rich white guys like Michael Moore and Eminem carry, and how much they influence the people who actually take their opinions to heart. I guess he wont fall off after all, like his critics hoped.

The run-up to the election is totally intense. I don’t like these intense statements, and it totally pissed me off how with the expiration of the assault rifle ban, Kerry chose the Dick Cheney route and said that Bush was helping Al Queda. As much as I don’t like Bush, I like the aspect of Kerry that is more questioning of the government. One of these Swift Veteran commercials for me said it best; the one we’ve all seen were they show the “good people” at the beginning of the commercial; the clean cut soldiers (of course) and the other people who look like they belong in the “Happy Days” TV show set. Then, they show the “bad people”, the hippies with their long hair and their “disrespect” and Kerry is lumped in with them. It’s funny how its 2004, but now 9/11 and the war on terror has revived that kind of thinking; wars are sold as honorable, just and unquestionable, and who would have thought that “patriotism” would become a part of the cultural landscape. Along with this comes the dirty laundry of America; racism, prejudice, hatred, cultural conservatism and political division. No more is this apparent than in the forgettable gay marriage controversy and the rantings of right wing blowhards like Michelle Malkin, who wants to intensify racial profiling and endorses the idea of putting Middle Easterners in concentration camps. If John Kerry wins, I’m going to turn it around on all the Republicans that I possibly can and start saying, when they express their hatred towards him, “You know, its not really helpful to criticize YOUR president, and in doing so, you are aiding and abetting the terrorists!” I’m sure that will tickle them all over.

Friday, September 10, 2004

8/27-9/10/04-Week long journal entry

It’s been a pretty long, boring kinda week Between it being the end of the summer, all the weather problems in ,the South and in the Caribbean, politicians like Alan Keyes and Dick Cheneytalking shyt, instability in Iraq (1,000 soldiers dead, 30,000 Iraqis dead), Chechenya, and Indonesia, and everybody’s 9/11 obsession, these days are just dreary, miserable even. Anyways, last Friday I was so curious about the MOP heavy metal album, having been into heavy metal at various points in my life. So, I brought it , but didn’t really get around to opening it. However, that was the only album that would really peak my interest, as I would find out.


Last Saturday I saw that movie Collateral. It was interesting, somewhat fast paced, Tom Cruise and Jamie Fox did well, and I appreciated some of the symbolism sprinkled in, and I grew up appreciating gratuitous violence, so there was plenty to hold my interest. The story is about a taxi driver and the hit man who holds him hostage for a whole night, and there are plenty of music video style effects, as the movie takes you through the cool underworld nightlife of Los Angeles. Jamie Fox plays a nerdy guy in the movie who doesn’t have much of a life; he just rides his taxi, doing that extra shift so he can one day live out his “dream” which he hasn’t managed to accomplish in like 12 years. We learn that if it wasn’t for this adventure, he would just be driving his taxi and visiting his Mommy, who is in the hospital. Throughout this movie, the taxi driver goes to all these cool spots, and learns what it is to be more than a spineless jellyfish and confront evil. Not to get too political, but this could be indirectly the perfect post 9/11 morality tale; because the taxi driver’s spinelessness and lack of assertiveness is in every American. However, what finally makes the resolution of the movie is the taxi driver’s standing up for himself. It’s cool, but this could be one of those movies you could wait to see on video.


At the Borders book store next to the movie theater I brought the video collection What it is, what it was”.This is a collection of 10 blackspoitation movies. So far I have watched three. The movie “The Black Six” is about some well mannered black bikers. What I was really expecting was like the 70’s version of the movie “Torque” with Ice Cube. The story went like this; some well mannered black bikers who only cause trouble for rednecks (right on!) go to the home town of the leader of the bikers, who finds out that his brother was killed by some redneck bikers. The leader biker and his buddies get into the ultimate rumble; I mean, who would’ve thought, six bikers could beat down 100 bikers? The next movie I saw was “The Black Gestapo”; a campy movie which likens groups like the Panthers to Nazis. It does make some relevant points throughout the movie. At first, the black militants drive out some mafia syndicate from the Los Angeles streets. However, all the drug and prostitution rackets are taken over by one of the leaders who guides the group to corruption! In the end, one of the brothers who is the good guy ends up confronting the group and pulls one of those Rambo moves. Sadly, the movie does seem to reflect the sad reality that power struggles and corruption bring these groups down, even though some of us wish that black radical groups could be an alternative to this whole Bush/Cheney nonsense. So sad. The movie "The Final Comedown" is so good you just have to see it. This movie is very real, low budget, but very real. That's all I can say about that one.


Anyways, I logged on to the site www.emusic.com, which I have a subscription to, and found that they have MOP’s album, ready for downloading! So, I went back to the store to exchange for another CD. What was I going to get? Lil’Scrappy? Soulja Slim? Young Buck? I would consider all these; I like that grimy ghetto type stuff. However, I pinch my pennies, and I am betting I could get all three of these for the price of one off Half.com. Matter of fact, when I get my next check, I’m going to try that. I couldn’t get Lil Scrappy, because that was summer music; that was cool in like before Labor day but now? Played out. Plus, I feared that I’d like only one song, and the rest of the CD would stink. That package comes with two CD’s; Triville and Lil Scrappy, so I don’t trust that, cuz that’d be equal to one CD, because you’d have filler, skits, and songs I don’t like. With Soulja Slim, I couldn’t go for that, despite the griminess and the fact that the song “Heater on Me” is fire, its just creepy to me buying dead rappers. Plus, they got a song called “Magnolia”, and I’m just not super into the whole New Orleans thug persona. I know I could get that for much cheaper. Then there is Young Buck, and the whole 106th and Park crowd is crazy about that! I could get into it two; he got those grimy southern styled beats, but I heard that there were too many guest appearances, plus Young Buck doesn’t really have much in the way of skills and lyrics; I get the feeling its all about persona. With me, when it comes to rap, I mostly buy mix CD’s anyway. I’d much rather get the variety of the songs hand picked by Kay Slay, Whoo Kid, or Cutmaster C. There are very few artists I’d invest in to the point of paying $20.00 for a CD! So, I found after looking for a little while an unusual mix CD. This CD was crazy; it was called “Kill All DJ’s”! Produced by “Hypnotic Recordings”(at www.HypnoticRecordings.com), the DJ’s called BP and Effcee had KRS-One rapping over “We Will Rock You” and “Bette Davis” eyes, and they mix punk rock, glam rock, new wave, jazz, pop and R&B in much the same way that hip hop DJ’s do it! At first, I thought I wasted my choice, but it has grown on me. Plus, when I opened the CD and looked inside, they had a coupon where you could buy 5 mix CD’s for $10. In the end, I made the right choice! Plus, I like to hear stuff that’s different, I like variety, and I like stuff that is new. If you like stuff like The Ramones, Nico, Iggy and the Stooges, Duran Duran, Bow Wow Wow, and Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles mixed with some electronic type stuff, this is for you. I could imagine this music would really rock the kind of party that has white suburban college kids. This CD is supposed to be how DJ’s in Los Angeles rock it, but probably in the white boy punk rock clubs where the guys got those Mohawks and tattoos painted all over their body. Me, I’d much rather hang out wherever I could find some big booty half nude brown cuties; Im not going to be in no club dancing to Iggy and the Stooges, but I will listen to them in my walkman.

Too much rap is based on the same old tired clichés and that whole thug persona thing is what drives rap today; there isn’t enough creativity in rap and why I liked the idea of MOP rapping to heavy metal was that it was different. As much as I love Southern rap, clichés and all, I’d rather buy a $10 mix CD off the street containing different groups and get the CD’s used for $5; Im not spending $20 on a CD, that’s crazy! Anyways, that’s how it goes. This weekend is the Congressional Black Cuacus and Black Family Reunion in Washington DC. Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend is a bunch of black democrats partying and a bunch of people crowding all the streets and clubs of DC, but in between all the partying there are informative forums and discussions. Its an annual thing, and usually its at the end of September. The Black Family Reunion is a big ol’ festival on the mall in Washington DC (funny yet confusing how they’d plan to have it on 9/11, being that it usually is the last weekend in August or the first weekend in September!) Will the cops be trippen’, looking for “terrorists” in the crowds? At Black Family Reunion, whatever acts are in town (in the past I’ve seen Boyz II Men and Herbie Hancock) perform, and there is food, and many honeys to check out, some dressed in very titillating ways. However, I’m probably staying in this weekend. Still gotta listen to those MOP downloads!
Week of 9/10/04-Hip hop headlines and Congressional Black Caucus

Saturday, September 11, 2004
Defining The Moment and The Movement - The Hip Hop Generation's Political Responsibility
11:00AM – 1:00 PM, Room 202B
Hosted by: The Honorable Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)

Moderator: Mr. Jovan Bowles, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.

The Honorable Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)
Ms. Farai Chideya, Hip Hop Activist.
Mr. Doug E. Fresh, Hip Hop Artist
Mr. Jeff Johnson, Hip Hop Summit Action Network
Mr. Kevin Powell, Author and Activist
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc.
Ms. Omarosa Manigault Stallworth, NBC's "The Apprentice"

Also, there is a Hip Hop Summit Action Network Party hosted by Russell Simmons at Dream Nightclub. Check out the Dream site.

For more information on the CBC Legislative Conference check out the CBC site and Flowinsider.

Kanye West Leads Source Award Nominees

Felony Charges Against Bad Boy's Loon Dismissed

Canadian Rapper, K-os, Makes Canadian History With New Album

Shyne Speaks On Life In Jail

On September 11th and 12th San Francisco will play host to the “Makaveli-Branded Tribute Weekend”. The weekend will include guest appearances and performances from your favorite celebrities and giveaways by Kuya Fusion Rum and Makaveli-Branded.

Jedi Mind Tricks new album - Legacy of Blood - Sept 21st, and tour dates

Hip-Hop Charts: LL Keeps Rockin', Buck Slides and Kanye Gets a Leap of Faith

Hip-hop storms the book world

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Bush's RNC Convention speech

Was it just me? I wasn't really blown away by this speech like people said I should've been. I feel like so many others out there, kinda stuck in between. I don't really like Kerry, Im not feeling Bush, and the only reason I would vote is out of respect for many of the people who died for this freedom, for what its worth. I did notice, and I wonder if anybody besides Michael Moore will point it out, that he did not say Bin Laden's name once. I might be wrong. I admit I was bored and found myself talking trash in some crazy AOL chat room. But, what I heard, I didn't hear any references to it at all. I don't know, Im not really feeling this whole election thing. I don't care about the Swift Boat Veterans, I don't care about the attack ads, I didn't care too much about the RNC, and the slight high I got from the Dem Convention has gone even faster than my interest waned seeing Mase's "Welcome Back" video the 2nd time. Of course, Andre 3000 was nowhere to be found, or did I miss him too? Rumors were that he was going to sing, host, or film a documentary; however, for a dude so flamboyant, if he was there, he seemed to keep a low profile. Was Diddy there? I read and have posted some stuff saying he'd be there, but I didn't see him on TV. Maybe I missed it, maybe the GOPers didn't want to associate with "his kind", I don't know. But, like Beavis and Butthead after watching a bad video, all I can say is "Thank God thats over".

The most amusing story I saw was in the article >"Where Music And The Elections Collide". It's a rundown on the stuff I talk about, how music and politics interact. The weirdest part was the "The Hip-Hop Cheney Connection":

A relatively unknown rap label is making an extraordinary amount of noise with a song called "Fahrenheit 9/11," which features Bizzy Bone, Double R and also D12 member's Bizarre. The label claims that vice-president Dick Cheney might endorse the song for its "pro-American" mantra. Through a statement, they admitted they didn't know if it would come to fruition. "I'm not certain this will happen but it makes sense that he would promote this record,' said Double R, a Gulf War Veteran. On the song, Bizarre says, "Now I'm dressed in the county blues lookin' at the news ready to blow a fuse all my n***s is quick to blast let Bin Laden come to Detroit I got something for his stankin a**." The song is featured on a documentary called "High Wattage 9/11: Face the Hip Hop Nation" and is now offered on iTunes.

Uh.....yeah. Anyways, some odds and evens:

Wish I could check out this festival in Canada; I heard the chicks are hot too def there.1st Annual Hip-Hop Fest Kicks Off In Vancouver

I used to be a big fan of this rapper: Esham goes 'back to the streets'

Whoo Kid: Yeah I own a lot of stuff and I hate paying taxes. If I get a million kids to vote against the system, maybe I can get my taxes lowered (laughs). I was always ignorant when I was younger because I didn't give a f**k about voting and I probably still don't give a f**k about voting.

Jim Jones: I don't have beef with no one but the devil, you feel me. I just don't stand for people talking reckless at the mouth. I don't stand for that and that's it.

Where Music And The Elections Collide

Radio Host Angie Martinez announced that Damon Dash and Jay-Z have nothing to do with the Roc anymore since they sold Roc-A-Fella to Island/Def Jam.

LOL-Wack commercial gangstas be damned!:Chants of “50 Cent is a wanker” were heard and the group were jeered and heckled throughout the short appearance.

Visionary Street Artist Bua Announces Poster Signings In L.A. And San Francisco

Ras Baraka, Deputy Mayor of Newark, New Jersey, has teamed with various Hip-Hop artists and producers to create Hip-Hop For The P.E.O.P.L.E. (Providing Education Opportunity, Prosperity and Life Eternally), a new national community service program

Lauryn Hill's comeback? Lauryn Hill new album.

Somebody's head has gotten too big! LOL: Kanye West reckons his near fatal car crash has made him a prophet.
Mixed Message by Hip-Hop Vote Organizers

In this election year we have seen a force of rap and hip-hop artists join forces to get out the vote. They are trying to get our vote registered and out. Sounds like a great idea, or are some using it as an advertising agent for themselves?

I have been one to think that Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs doesn’t do anything unless it benefits Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs.

Recently at the VMA awards we saw Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs still rocking the VOTE or DIE tee shirts. He has been on 106 and Park pimping them, actually he has been everywhere with this shirt. When I looked into the shirts I found a few interesting things.

When I went to their web site http://www.citizenchange.com I did find the shirt and a lot of information on Citizen Change. I learned that:

“Citizen Change is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization with a mission to educate, motivate and empower more than 42 million Americans aged 18 to 30 that are eligible to vote on November 2nd. Founded by businessman, entertainer, actor, and innovator Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Citizen Change has one mission: to make voting hot and relevant to a generation that hasn’t reached full participation in the political process”.

“Citizen Change is based on a simple premise. Everyday, cultural leaders move millions of young people to exercise their $890 billion in buying power to purchase the latest album, clothing, cars, bling, magazines, DVDs and other products. The political parallel is obvious. On Election Day, these same leaders -- music artists, business moguls, fashion designers, community activists and professional athletes -- will unite under the banner of Citizen Change to encourage the largest mobilization of youth voter participation in American history”.

They are going to make voting hot and relevant to a generation that hasn’t reached full participation in the political process? Whose fault is that? Who is one of the major contributors to where the young people stand and think on things today? East coast club, bling bling rap. Videos filled with good times and a lack of awareness has contributed to the situation that the younger generation finds itself in. It is like ‘lets create a problem and then we can run to the rescue’.

The statement refers to the ‘buying’ power of young people. And it says that ‘cultural leaders’ move millions of young people on really what to buy’. Leading youth to buy bling or certain rims for their car is not important, but it is the message sent in a lot of rap and hip-hop videos. Looking at woman as just a sex thing, as hoochies and biatchs is portrayed in the music videos as ok. Where is the awareness there? How come now, suddenly, getting involved is the thing that these artists and ‘cultural leaders’ want us to do?

This is not for the Chuck D’s, who bring awareness to many issues before this election even came around. Chuck D, Krs-1 and others know the struggles of life and try to influence youth in the correct way of life. Not to influence them to think their way. There is a difference when one has a positive influence on a person, and that influence helps the person grow and become a strong adult, a strong free thinking person.

We also see on the site:

“While other individuals and organizations will be out campaigning for candidates in this election, Citizen Change will be campaigning for the people (remember, P. Diddy invented the remix). With the tremendous marketing and celebrity power he commands, he will remix and redefine youth political participation in this country to create a shift in the electorate that hasnt been seen since the 1960s”.

No, what we will see is a bunch of people registering to vote, because they are being ‘lead’ that way. In the sites words they are going to ‘make voting hot and relevant’…’Not because they were groomed to be free thinkers and learn about the system and how it works. A lot of young folks (and older ones) find out about the system and how it is, after they get hung up in it. Why now is there this ‘push’ to get everyone to act responsible, when all along the youth were; and continue to be fed the surreal life that music videos portray?

There would not be as many movers and shakers to tell us how to think or what to think without the hoochie videos and the tracks about clubbing or gym shoes. Suddenly Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs is going to lead a generation? He is going to be the one to empower, mobilize and show them what is the right thing to do? How about leading with example. How about putting awareness in your record company’s music videos. He is in every video made there; why not use that power he has to cause some awareness in the content of the videos.

Most of the rap and hip hop artists ‘Thank God’ when they get an award, which means they must have read the Bible or Quran or some book for the knowledge of the Creator. And it is stated in the bible wisely ‘Raise up a child in the direction he should go’; you don’t wait till the last minute and then say ‘Oh we forgot to tell you that you have to be involved in this or that’.

To be teaching awareness thru the music industry is a day short. The mixed message that is put out by them is overwhelming. If life is not one big party then why portray it as such in your videos? If things are so bad then where are all these Hummers on 24’s and Bentley’s coming from? Oh, that is right – you are the one’s with the Hummer’s on 24’s and the Bentley’s. Made available to you because you are the ones selling this mixed message.

‘There is no money in awareness videos or music’, some will say. Tell that to artists like Tupac Shakur who spit awareness thru many of his tracks, or NWA and Easy E, who brought awareness to the real conditions of neighborhoods. Not only in Compton, but all across the country. Or the other artists who survived the struggle, spitting the truth; groups like Pubic Enemy, MC Eiht, etc. Really these people and groups became Icon’s in the Hip-Hop Culture because they kept it real.

Now don’t get it twisted, there are a few artists today that are holding down awareness in their work. But most ‘mainstream artists’ are trying to portray the high life. They are either pimps or gangstas, but in reality are neither. But still they want us to believe that they are so committed to teaching the youth the right way of things. Kind of ironic. Like I said they create a problem and then they want to run in and ‘fix’ it, and be some kind of savior in the spotlight.

A big disappointment on that site is to see that those shirts that Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs is pimping are $28.00 for ladies and $30.00 for mens, and surprisingly produced by Sean John. So what about the kid who doesn’t have 30 dollars for a tee shirt, you don’t want him to rock the vote angle cause he is not of the genre you are trying to portray? The price of these shirts just goes to show how out of touch these ‘organizers’ are with the youth. A hood rat doesn’t have $30.00 to rock a tee. But if things are well in your family and things are cracking for you then, yea you can rock this shirt and tell people how bad things are and that we need to vote to change them.

I am all for voting and getting the youth involved in the process of government and to teach them how it works. I just feel better spokes people could be found, instead of people who are responsible for some of the way the youth are thinking nowadays.

So I would say to Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs and some of the others: If you want awareness and a responsible youth set a full time example. Don’t come in half way thru the game you create and change the rules. No one respects that. One of the creeds of the Hip-Hop Culture is to keep it real. So please try to keep it real and be a full time role model and mentor if that is what you want to be. Change the way things are portrayed in music videos. Not just Sean ‘Puffy’ Combs but all those who are jumping on this bandwagon who have the real power to change things; the label owners, the producers and the artists. It is not just a good time and a party out here in the real, so don’t portray it as such. Want us to be aware? Show us and lead by example.

*This is an editorial by Robert. The views expressed are those of Robert and in no way or form reflect the views of this site or the owners of this site. All replies and contact should be directed to Robert@RapNews.net , not the owners. -Thank you

Source:Rap News Direct

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2004 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

POSTER campaign to stop kids skipping school featuring the hip-hop and R'n'B group Big Brovaz has won an award.

The five Brixton artists put their name to the "Be Hip - Don't Hop" poster campaign for Southwark council which appeared on buses this year.

Big Brovaz's Randy is an old boy of Geoffrey Chaucer Technology College, Southwark.

He said: "It is a great cause and we are happy to take time out to help. It is a very important message."

Year 10 student Hassan Bangura from Highshore School, Peck-ham, produced the photograph on the poster as part of a project to design his own CD cover. The rest of the artwork was done by Highshore's head of art Peter Jones and colleague Kathy Black.

The campaign won "Bus Campaign of the Quarter" in awards by the sales and marketing company Viacom Outdoor UK Direct.

Source: IC SouthLondon

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