Written By: Pili X
Edited by: Marie Nikkie Victorious
This is just something I wrote early one morning, when I saw quotes on Facebook and Twitter, advocating that people NOT exercise their right to vote. One individual posted on the topic of voting “’The only politics black folks should be concerned with today, are the politics of revolution’ -Bobby Seale”. My response to this is; revolution meaning change! If change comes about by voting and being involved with politics as we have seen time and time again throughout human history, than we should most definitely be concerned about what’s happening in American politics today, and be a part of the solutions to the things that are not in the best interest of the people.
A new and progressive political party of America, called the Hip Hop Party for the People (HHPP) is grounded on the fundamental truth that we must BE THE CHANGE that we want to see. The HHPP is a vehicle to encourage and enable members of our community to run for elected office. We’ve been and strive to continue moving forward in fielding candidates in local, state, and national elections. The HHPP is dedicated to breaking the democratic and Republican Party domination of political power and participation. We will not only continue to register new voters, but most importantly, we will continue to educate communities on the power of its organized vote. The Hip-Hop Party for the People will use the elections and elected office as just one platform of many to educate and empower more honest Americans who want to see a change for the better in our society. We will also provide endorsements of non-HHPP candidates who are about doing the work that we must in order to make a positive change for our nation as a whole. As previously stated, our vote is just one tool, one tactic, one platform.
With elections coming up so many are taking to twitter and Facebook to say how they feel and which candidate they are with or not with. I also see a lot of people who are “In the know” as far as governmental politics may be concerned, such as social activist, occupiers, community organizers and many others; actually pushing the line of not voting. When I ask “what’s the alternative to not voting”? Silence. No one can ever give me an answer. Maybe the reason they can’t give me an answer is because they have no actual practice. They put in no work to bring about change (outside of facebook politics), have no alternatives, and do no real work inside their communities.
In 1973 Bobby Seale, cofounder of the black panther party, ran for mayor of Oakland and Elaine Brown (Philadelphia native) a leader in the Black Panther party, ran for city council in Oakland the same year. The triumphs of President Hugo Chavas of Venezuela and the Maoists in Nepal winning a majority of votes in the 2008 elections are amongst many things, a testament to the importance of knowing and exercising the power of the peoples vote. In 2008 American voters, many first time voters united and made history by electing Barack Obama as President of the United States.
In the 2011 Philadelphia elections in which I was a candidate for city council, I saw many candidates under the age of thirty; courageously take on leadership rolls by running for city government. People like me and Keturah Caser who run for city council of Philadelphia under the Hip Hop Party for the People. Megan Door (who ran for mayor), Diop Olugbala (also ran for mayor) and Isaiah Thomas (ran for city council) to name just a few people. In other states we’ve seen Hip Hop artist Che Smith aka “Ryhmefest” run for city government in Chicago and Luther Campbell aka “Uncle Luke” run for mayor of Miami. Both Fest and Luke ran serious campaigns for the people of their respected cities.
The urban/hip hop community is split in it’s acceptance of our right to vote. Some believe that your vote does not count while others promote the importance of voting. Recently two highly influential Hip Hop artists, Kendrick Lamar and Lupe Fiasco, have publicly expressed their disbelief in the American voting system. While other artists such as 2 Chainz who is a spokesman for the “respect my vote campaign”, Flo Rida, Good Music’s artist Pusha T and Nas, have spoken on their decisions to still support President Obama. Jay-Z, who headlined his Made In America festival and during the early part of his set, played a video of a personal message from the President, telling people to go vote this November, no matter their political views, affiliations or beliefs.
Being educated and involved with politics is a tactic/tool to bring about change (revolution). No, it is certainly NOT the whole answer, but the vote is proven to be a powerfully, necessary tactic/tool, that for many nations of people, plays a pivotal role in our everyday life as we know it. I’m not going tell you who to vote for but I will urge you to go out and exercise your right to vote. I used to feel like many who don’t believe in politics, “my vote doesn’t count”, “Nothing’s going to change”, “All we’re doing is voting for the lesser of two evils”. These are all lines that I myself used to say to counter people saying “go vote”. But these are all excuses and part of the reason why we, the people of this great nation are stepping up, to BE The Change that we want to see, Instead of letting our power lay dormant. Get involved, educate yourself and exercise your right to vote.