Barack Obama and How Hip-Hop Played A Role In His Election

Obama 2008

Last night, the Hip-Hop community celebrated, as Barack Obama was elected the first Black president of the United States of America. For those who don’t know, I’m back at BET.com and yesterday, it was great to be there to experience this historic victory. We had Murphy Lee, Killer Mike, Bun B, Rhymefest, and Dr. Todd Boyd blogging live on election day. We conducted in person interviews with people in Hip-Hop, from big celebs to newcomers, Russell Simmons, Rosa Clemente, Papoose, Q-Tip, Charles Hamilton, DJ Scratch, Sylvia Rhone, and more all talked about the significance of this day. Hip-hop did its thing this election and here’s a recap of the Hip Hop moments during this election that had us either laughing, crying or just shaking our heads.

Diddy Blogs – You can’t deny that Diddy played a role in this election. His open letters and stops in various cities made us proud that he spoke out when it mattered. But it was the damn Diddy blogs that he uploaded to Youtube that I just couldn’t get enough of. We got some of the best Diddy acting we’ll ever see, from his Blair Witch-inspired Sarah Palin blog to his twin daughters endorsement of Obama.

Ludacris Song – Sigh. Ludacris released a mixtape song, “Obama Is Here,” that criticized McCain and disrespected Hillary Clinton. Now, we know that rappers are going to go off at the mouth in their rhymes, but couldn’t Luda just wait until Obama was elected?? And maybe if he didn’t have that pic of him and Obama, it would have went unnoticed and the Obama campaign wouldn’t have had to distance itself, but when you know you’ve met him and there’s proof of that you should tread lightly. Help him help you!

Obama “The Next Contestant Up On That Jay-Z Screen” – The last time we saw Jay-Z throw someone up on that big screen at one of his concerts, it was Prodigy in a tutu. But during his tour with Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z took a step in a direction he’s never really gone. He endorsed Obama in a big way.

Young Jeezy Meets McCain – We recognize that McCain had very little celebrity endorsements, and that Young Jeezy supported Obama. But to see them shake hands on that Saturday Night Live stage when they met at a late night talk show was moving, entertaining and awkward all at once.

Queen Latifah as Gwen Ifill – Speaking of Saturday Night Live, we can’t forget Queen Latifah’s role as Gwen Ifill. No one could outshine Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, but to handpick Latifah in that spoof of the debate was big for hip-hop.

I was going to mention CNN and their ridiculousness of beaming in Will.i.am, but I’m trying to give them credit for being ahead of the curve with the technology.

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5 thoughts on “Barack Obama and How Hip-Hop Played A Role In His Election

  1. Not to marginalize anything,but I think this here is WAAAAY Bigger than HipHop. I think people wanna take credit or give credit or get that pat on the back, but realize that Obama had to get an overwhelming victory to create the silence we hear from Hannity,Limbaugh and those people.

    I think the Vote or Die campaign was a good look for Diddy in ’04, tho’ to no Avail. I feel good that HipHop could get behind politics and want to be a part of this, but this is something we ARE ALL A PART OF.

    Ludacris’ embarassing song detracted from the movement more than it spread awareness. T.I’s respect my vote t-shirt was aiiight, but remember we as a united people had a common cause. I’m HipHop til death and have been a part of the culture since the mid 80’s,but I can’t give HipHop the credit yet until I see where we go from here and inspire our community. A lot of times rappers are comfortable with where THEY are. They may have a BBQ or some other little event,but We don’t push education and understanding like we push “rocks in the trap”.

    I want people to realize that Obama is NOT just a face on a t-shirt that some rapper is wearing,but is a symbol that we all must overachieve and take no shorts. We have Million Man Marches and Black Caucuses and then what? It’s back to the regular day with no change or effort. This is our opportunity to get started and feel inspired. I work hard, after this I have to work twice as hard and seek out ways to dig my heels in and continue to keep my community uplifted.

    I will feel good about HipHop supporting Obama in a year or so after I see how the inspiration changes the music and actions of the artists, not one second before.

  2. What does Hip Hop contribute to this World?
    Defining what Hip Hop contributes to the world is in and of itself taking a political position. Hip Hop is revolutionary through its existence alone. The higher context of the culture (the things you and I share without speaking because we have an understanding of Hip Hop) is also ingrained with counter-cultural ideas.

    However, it is a culture born from American culture: a culture rich with global ideas. American cultural is not intriscially the white man’s culture anymore. It is OUR culture, the people’s culture, all of the people. WE get to decide what to do with this world. It is our turn now, we have progressed as a nation, a human race, etc. We identified our oppressor, millenia. We are not peasants. We are the New World Order. And in the Bible we screw it up. But just like we have learned through the ages: we will repeat history despite ourselves. But that is not stupidity, that is humanity. Even if we die trying, lets die helping each other. Let’s die of old age.

    We already know it’s a conspiracy. George Bush and Dick Cheney’s whole administration existed to exploit the American People. It’s a conspiracy. We got Enron’d. We can say it. They took advantage of our emotions. I don’t want the mainstream to shy away from it anymore. The administration exploited the American People. They allowed our domesticity to fall to pieces. They left levees unsecured to wash out whole communities of people. They put young people, teenagers, overseas and into Iraq and let them die over a lie they told to gain control of the oil fields, so they could in turn use our oil dependency against us, while claiming it was for our own good, because they were fighting terror. The causalities of the war in Iraq reach into the 9th ward of New Orleans. But like Enron, they do not care about the exposure of the exploitation and abuse of power because they’re gone now, they have very little power, theoretically speaking. But really, they have no integrity to sacrifice so they are already comfortable without it, even in public. They are the evil they claimed to be fighting. These are not decent men. These are Masons. They will sacrifice each other. These are crooks and gangsters and we should have the power to let that be known. Oh wait…enter Barack Obama.

    Barack Obama is not afraid of the truth. He does not shy away from possibility or from reality. He is a man of integrity coupled with innovation. Barack Obama is not afraid of the streets. He is also not afraid of the revolution. He is not just a president. He is a political and cultural leader. Barack Obama has the ability to lead Americans and the Globe peacefully into a better future. He can lead us through the shifting of the paradigm. We just have to be ready. We have to be patient yet unyielding. We have to sacrifice,like we always do.

    Evolution of the human race is what Barack Obama is proposing to lead us through.

    Hip Hop has provided through it’s cultural interpretation a social documentation of oppressed peoples throughout the world. It is through Hip Hop that racism has been most combated and that global class warfare has been exposed. Barack Obama is Hip Hop’s contribution to the world.

    The environmental crisis that we face is nothing that we can search into our history books and find solutions to, technically. The answers to those problems are being created now. Barack Obama is not just asking us to conserve energy, he is asking us to step our level of humanity up. He is asking us to work hard for each other, not just ourselves. The economic crisis will only be solved when we become a more humane society.

    This is what Hip Hop has taught the world.

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