My feelings about hip hop as an art form can be best summed up in Common’s “I Used To Love H.E.R.” I don’t follow it much anymore, except to reminisce on my glory days as a battle rapper and to listen to the classics. I said that to say that once upon a time, hip hop was a revolutionary art form, becoming the voice of the voiceless. As much as the owner of this blog hates this saying at one time, hip hop was Black people’s CNN (as uttered by Chuck D). Now, of course, hip hop is Black people’s BET… and the circular logic behind that statement is too mind-boggling to try to unravel. So, I won’t.
This is about the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, one Michael Steele. It’s also about the Republican Party.
The Republican Party is in jeopardy. During the Presidential campaign, the Republican base revealed itself to be hateful, racist, and supremely ignorant. Did I mention hateful and racist? The Palin/McCain rallies could have easily been Stormfront rallies with all of the lovely sentiments like “TERRORIST” and “KILL HIM” oozing from their orifices. Since then, the Republican Party has been putting forth an image that it is trying to be the party with the big ideas, and the Big Tent Party of Inclusion. This led to the ascension of Michael Steele to the Chairmanship of the RNC. It has also led to great moments in comedy. I’ve commented on his greater moments of hilarity in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of my series, “Mike Steele In The Hour Of Chaos.” In Part 1, we discovered Mike Steele’s attempt to bring hip hop into the Republican Party. All of this brings us to Mike’s latest adventure, his latest quote, and his latest way of proving that the Republicans just don’t get it.
Mike finally follows up with his
threat promise to reach out to the hip hop citizenry that’s dying for a Republican leader to take them to the Promised land. He plans to create a Hip Hop Storm, so that he can apply Republican principles to the urban/suburban settings of hip hop. And just how does Steele plan on creating this Hip Hop Storm? Why, I’ll let his words speak for themselves.
What it’s about right now is your health care, ability for you to run a small business and grow it to a major business. Defining wealth in America. What I like to call creating legacy wealth that is generational. Empowering you to put your kids in schools that actually educate them as opposed to dumb them down to go out and be, you know, not very productive members of society. So, you know, these are important conversations to have. I’ve just been struck by the fact that this president has not addressed those issues in a meaningful way, in the black community especially. So, I’m looking forward to doing that and causing a little hip-hop storm, if you will.
This would be comical if it weren’t so pathetic. Steele is failing because he believes that the only way to address issues in the Black community is to use hip hop. Yeah, because people would’ve never elevated Obama to the Presidency of the United States if it weren’t for the powerful grassroots efforts of hip hop… except that this is utter garbage. Political, or socially-conscious hip hop is so bereft of real voices in the mainstream that Kanye West’s blurb about George Bush not caring about Black people was seen as shocking, daring, and revolutionary in the vein of bombs dropped by Chuck D and Public Enemy. These days, what passes for revolutionary music in hip hop can be summed up with overrated songs like Jadakiss’ “Why” and the like. And don’t get me started on Puff Daddy’s retarded “Vote Or Die” campaign. So, without getting into any more specifics about the emptiness of thought-provoking music in hip hop, it’s safe to say that Hip Hop is far from being the “voice of the people” that it once was. Steele has already demonstrated that his grasp of hip hop is lacking, to say the least, and he has clearly stated that he is about as out of touch with mainstream Black people as most Republicans.
Steele has already proved how terrible he is at grasping the concept of using hip hop, when he was schooled by Stephen Colbert:
Now, he wants to try to “rap” his way into legitimacy, and he actually believes that this is the way to bring the moderates and independents to the Republican Party. If Mike wants to TRULY lead the Republican Party, and not be a mere figurehead kissing the ring of Don Rush Limbaugh, he must actively and repeated condemn the racist garbage spewed forth by the base. He must tell people like Patrick Buchanan, Dick Cheney and Sean Hannity to shut up, especially when they’re stating that Cheney makes a better example of the Republican Party than, say, Colin Powell. The silence from his ranks when Republicans are being bolder and bolder about their racism is deafening, and it is obvious that his attempts to bring minorities to the fold is mere lip service. For example, where was Steele when California Councilman Gary Frago sent racist e-mails to his staff and community members? (By the way, you can click on the link to see other examples of racism from the GOP, including the one with the President being depicted in picture as nothing but a pair of eyes in an all-black background)
There are some moderate Republicans, like Sophia Nelson, a Black woman who is Republican and conservative. However, she has gone on record condemning the racism from the Right, but her voice is marginalized while people like Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, etc ad nauseum. The voice of reason from the Right is now the fringe, and the hateful, racist, evangelical, hypocritical, holier-than-thou Palin-loving and Reagan-worshipping “fringe” is now considered “the base.” And who in their right mind would join a party where its de facto leader (Boss Limbaugh) says that he not only wants the President of the U.S. to fail, but that the only reason that one of the highest-profile African American Republicans voted for Obama was because he (Colin Powell) and Obama are both Black? Instead of trying to play Black people for fools, Steele should be asserting himself as the leader of the RNC, and demonstrating the ability to be (or at least recruit) a real voice of reason to speak for the GOP. Steele may speak in front of the NAACP, but he undermines what little credibility he has when he says that he’ll bring more Black people to the GOP by ladling out scoops of potato salad and handing out fried chicken.
Michael Steele is clearly demonstrating that he can’t even create a cloudy day, let alone a storm. He’s too busy being tossed aside by the storms of his own ineptitude as a leader and as a figurehead for real powerbrokers in his party, who probably long for (as Archie Bunker once put it) the “carefree days of slavery.”