A Hip-Hop Agenda; What's Ours?

A month ago, Tavis Smiley and a group of Black

intellectuals and activists, which included Minister Louis Farrakhan,

Dr. Cornel

West, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Michael Eric Dyson, and others got

together to

discuss the importance of President Barack Obama addressing of a Black

Agenda. Apparently the goal was not

for the group to address the Black Agenda, but rather dialogue and


whether it’s appropriate or not for a Black president of the United States to address the needs of Black

people in America. After watching the round table

discussion, which I strongly recommend you watch if you haven’t already,

I began

to think about a Hip-Hop Agenda, which in actuality would correlate with


agenda some suggest President Obama is avoiding to publicly address as it pertains to African Americans.

What’s the purpose of a Hip-Hop Agenda? What should a Hip-Hop Agenda

entail? Who should create a Hip-Hop

Agenda? If a Hip-Hop Agenda was

created (some may suggest one has been discreetly created already, to


benefit of a few and the detriment of many) who will implement it?

Hip-Hop is more than music; it’s actually a

movement, a

reflection of our community. But

what is it reflecting and where is it moving? Obviously,

just like the womb it was

birthed from (the community); its growth has been stagnated. Let us not ask why?

A Hip-Hop Agenda, in my opinion, would organize,


and give purpose to the music and culture, as well as, raise awareness,

expectations, increase responsibility and accountability of the people

in the

community. A Hip-Hop Agenda should

entail the answers to the concerns affecting the community which are

parallel to

that of the Black Agenda:

education, employment, health, public policy, economics and

imagery. We should own our own distribution,

control radio and the portrayal and depiction of imagery of ourselves on

television and/or movies. Since our

culture has been commercialized we should own the greatest stake in it


we made the greatest investment.

The commercialization of hip hop is only detrimental when the


generated is not reinvested back into our community, which it hasn’t

been. There should be more Kevin Powell’s,

someone from the hip hop community running for elective office with the

hope of

being elected and influencing public policy affecting our community. There should be more Cornell Dews’, in

the classroom teaching youth who resemble him and reside in the same


from which he come and still remains.

There should be more diversification in the music. 

If we controlled it, packaged it and

sold it, then we could diversify it.

For instance, I’d like to have more than one female rap artist at

a time

to choose from. I like attractive

women as much as the next man; however, I’d prefer to be entertained


something other than her sex appeal.

It’s a discredit and disservice to the female artist as well

because it

takes the attention away from her talent and encourages the major focus

on her


A Hip-Hop Agenda would afford us a sense of

direction. Who would create and

implement the agenda? We would, the

people from the community.

Preferably the first generation that was raised on Hip-Hop, my

generation, with the guidance and support of our elders and

participation and

cooperation from the youth. To

start, we would need a mission statement.

So simply put, our mission would be to improve our community by


our time, money and efforts in the lives of the people who live in our

community, which would be reflected in the music and the imagery of Black people

projected around the world by Black people.

Only if we controlled hip hop and we had an

agenda with a