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Beats, Ballots, and Booty Calls: Why Should We Vote?

Jay-Z_President Obama

“A 40 and a blunt/ that’s all she really wants…” – “Slow Down” – Brand Nubian

From the moment Mitchell O. Barry scoped Jameka Jumpoff strollin’ down the baby food aisle of Wal-Mart, she didn’t stand a chance. Over a value meal at Micky Dee’s he seduced her with his sweet talk about how he was gonna make life better for her and her kids. After taking her home on the city bus, he charmed his way into her bedroom, telling her everything that she had ever wanted to hear, as “We Shall Overcome” played softly on his iPad. When she woke up the next morning, Mitch and his promises were gone. The only reminder of the wonderful night that they spent together was the “I Just Voted” sticker stuck to her headboard….

As we head full steam into a heated political season, most ethics and special interest groups are getting their lists of demands ready to put in front of candidates who are, aggressively, courting their votes. However for the Black community, there is no courtship. Just a sip of a cheap malt liquor, a one night stand, and a promise that “I’ll call you tomorrow.”

For politicians, less affluent African Americans are a cheap date or the political equivalent of a late night booty call. We, enthusiastically, give up the goods with no strings attached.

Although, you are allowed to diss the Democratic and the Republican candidates unmercifully, there is an unwritten law in this country that says that under no circumstances are you ever, ever allowed to pose the simple question…

“Why should I vote for either one of you losers?”

I don’t know about you, but nothing ticks me off more than some old Civil Rights-type person lecturing me about how “my ancestors died for my right to vote.”

I’m like, “Back up off me homie, you don’t know me like that, and I haven’t seen you at one family reunion!” My kin folks didn’t die for the right to vote. They died trying to get free by any means necessary.

This year, some Black leaders have a new slogan, “Vote… because Trayvon Martin would have wanted it that way…” How many of these opportunists who are using Trayvon Martin as a political pawn when he’s dead would have even given him (or his peers) the time of day when he when he was alive? How many Black commentators who have sampled the infamous 911 call for a “get out to vote” remix use their air time to politically educate the boys in the hoodies?

What most political crusaders will never admit is there is a disconnect between them and the Hip-Hop Nation.

Hip-Hop has long addressed the contradictions surrounding America’s politics. Back in the ’90s, Chuck D said, “Neither party is mine/ not the jackass nor the elephant” on “By the Time I Get to Arizona”. Also, on “Ah Yeah,” KRS-One scolded, “Remember the chains/ remember the whips/ remember the rope man/ You Black people still talkin’ ’bout votin’…” More recently, Lupe Fiasco gave a strong critique of the current administration when on “Words I Never Said,” he rapped “That’s why I ain’t vote for him/next one neither…”

That’s not to say that some in Hip-Hop (mostly the filthy rich) have not been political pimps over the years. During recent elections, there have been various campaigns where politicians have used millionaire rappers to convince Lil Tyrone that if he didn’t go to the polls, a gang of gold-toothed goons was gonna show up at his front door and give him a beat-down for neglecting his civic responsibility.

However, it ain’t gonna be that simple this year, as the suckers who bought into the whole “Vote or Die” hype back in 2004 are the same people who, in 2012, believe the Mayan Calender prediction that the world is going to end before the next inauguration, anyway. So why bother?

Although, the alternative sexual lifestyle has been a hot topic in Hip-Hop for years, any discussion of alternative political lifestyles has been taboo.

With all of the resources that Hip-Hoppers possess, why has there never been a serious effort to form a Hip-Hop Third Party, or at least consider the strategy of being independent of a particular party affiliation?

Although, there have been various people referred to as “Hip-Hop candidates,” over the years, they have been mostly politicians with a little store-bought swagger who knew how to kick a Run-DMC lyric. A rare exception being longtime Hip-Hop activist, Rosa Clemente, who was the Green Party vice presidential candidate in 2008.

Even the current Prez has to realize that listening to Lil Weezy on his iPod, or givin’ the Snowman (Young Jeezy) a shout out, doesn’t make you down with the streets.

Contrary to popular belief, some of us actually read. We have studied the works of economic thinkers such as Dr. Claude Anderson (Powernomics) and Dr. Amos Wilson (Blue Print for Black Power). A few of us have read Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power and know that America is not really a Democracy, but what John Perkins in “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” called a “Corporatocracy.” And while we brace for Armageddon every four years, the corporations that run the planet have already factored the upcoming elections into their 25-year agendas for global domination.

The Hip-Hop Nation must also realize that “civic responsibility” does not begin and end at the ballot box. It’s pretty easy for your favorite celebrity to motivate your crew to go out and vote once ever four years, but can you get your peeps to go to city council and school board meetings on a regular basis? As they say, “All politics is local,” and the ‘hood needs fewer drives for voter registration and more classes for political education.

In 1964, Malcolm X predicted it was gonna be “the ballot or the bullet.” This year, we have to decide whether it’s gonna be “the ballot or the booty call?”

Are we going to have real change, or are we still going to be neglected and disrespected by the major political parties?

As Ice Cube said in the classic flick, Boyz In the Hood, how long are we gonna rep’ for people who “either don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care what’s goin’ on in the ‘hood.”

TRUTH Minista Paul Scott’s weekly column is “This Ain’t Hip Hop”, a column for intelligent Hip-Hop headz. He can be reached at info@nowarningshotsfired.com, on his website, www.NoWarningShotsFired.com, or on Twitter (@truthminista).

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