Synopses & Reviews
Hip Hop activism, a joining of a musical genre with political action, is a highly ambiguous term that encompasses a range of initiatives, from those that are genuinely attempting to affect public policy to largely self-promotional efforts that are more about getting media exposure for celebrities than addressing the cause they are allegedly representing.
For too long, Bynoe maintains, Black leaders have only been "Charismatic Leaders," and have largely functioned as "spokespersons" delivering complaints and exhortations to the White power structure. Bynoe is passionate about the need for a new generation of Black leadership and civic and political organizations to instead actively engage in a policy-centered relationship with the White power structure, not only in field of government but also in economics and media. This understanding, Bynoe argues, should be premised on the principle that political power comes from influence and influence comes from the ability to delivery (or deny) money, votes or both to a political candidate, legislator or political party; in the words of MC Lyte, all the rest is "chitter chatter".
"The essays and interviews collected in this volume are passionately addressed to one of the most troubling enigmas of contemporary American life: why is it that the African-American community has entered a period of comparative political stasis at the same time that hip hop has become a dominant cultural force? Bynoe, who publishes the newsletter Full Disclosure: The Business of Hip-Hop, contends that today's black leadership has failed to consolidate and build on the achievements of the civil rights era, and her book argues that the tradition of effective activism might be revived by tapping into the enormous energies of the hip hop explosion. Bynoe offers a detailed, critical overview of activism since the 1960s (including a reprinting of the Black Panther's 10-point plan), interviews with such figures as Clarence Lusane (Hitler's Black Victims) and Kate Rhee of the Prison Moratorium Project. Bynoe's concerns throughout are largely practical, and she is impatient with any theory that lacks real-world application. Her thumbnail profiles of such 'young political turks' as Newark city councilor Cory Booker and hip hop entrepreneurs like Sean 'Puffy' Combs are incisive; she's keenly aware of limitations to power and influence both actual and self-imposed. On the issue of hip hop culture itself, Bynoe is less satisfying, subscribing to an oversimplified and moralistic division between 'conscious' rappers and their gangsta colleagues. Such phenomena as the worldwide reach of hip hop are not explored. And the careers of such rappers as the late Tupac Shakur, who could move between conscious social critic and unrepentant gangsta within the same song, do not really fit into Bynoe's manichaean thesis. However, Bynoe's urgent critique is nonetheless timely and worthwhile, and her insights are founded on a deep understanding of the uphill battles facing those who would effect meaningful social change." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The phrases hip hop” and activism” arent always heard together, but its a marriage that must be made if black empowerment is to succeed. In Stand and Deliver, Bynoe eloquently advocates replacing charismatic but ineffectual black leaders who beg for crumbs from the white power structure with citizen-leaders” who actively engage in a policy-centered relationship with that structure. Bynoe shows how hip hoppers can create a more sophisticated dialogue about what constitutes leadership, politics, and political action. This understanding, she argues, comes from influence, and influence comes from the ability to deliver or deny money, votes, or both to a political candidate, legislator, or political party. In the words of MC Lyte, all the rest is chitter chatter.”
Political activism, leadership and hip hop culture.
The phrases "hip hop" and "activism" aren't always heard together, but it's a marriage that must be made if black empowerment is to succeed. Bynoe eloquently advocates replacing charismatic but ineffectual black leaders who beg for crumbs from the white power structure with "citizen-leaders" who actively engage in a policy-centered relationships.