Hip-hop can maintain political momentum, keep candidates accoundable

Jineea Butler | 6/7/2013, 11:49 a.m.
Hooray! The Associated Press reported that America’s Blacks voted at a higher rate than Whites in 2012 for the first ...

We underestimate our political power. Thanks largely to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, Blacks voted solidly Republican until Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Even as late of 1960, Republicans were receiving 30 percent of the Black vote.

Blacks left the GOP in droves after Barry Goldwater’s right-wing presidential defeat in 1964 and the party’s adoption of a “Southern Strategy” – concentrating on White voters at the expense of Blacks.

Many worry what will happen now that Obama’s name will never appear on another presidential ballot. But hip-hop can play a unique role in keeping our issues on the front burner.

Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. put it best when he said “We never lost a battle that we fought, but if we don’t fight we can’t win.”

Most of us who don’t vote, are certain not to win. Our non-vote is also a vote – a vote for the opposition.

As the political season begins and petitions begin circulating, don’t suck your teeth and walk away. Demand that these candidates that are asking you if they can have a job representing your community have a plan for fixing problems and a vision for the future.

Jineea Butler, founder of the Social Services of Hip-Hop and the Hip-Hop Union, can be reached at jineea@gmail.com or Tweet her at @flygirlladyjay.