We've seen the explosion and deep-rooted connection of the Occupy Wall Street movement in America and beyond since last Fall, and with the term "Occupy" now a full part of the modern lexicon, which specifically targets unfair corporate and government policies that have caused mass joblessness, corrupt government architecture and more. Musicians including Thom Yorke of Radiohead and Massive Attack have come out to lend their support, as well as Cat Power, Portugal. The Man, Gogol Bordello, Zack De La Rocha and many more.
Now, the term is being spun to give rise to a new activist mindset within the Hip-Hop community, following in the footsteps the likes of Russell Simmons, Kanye West, and Lupe Fiasco joined the cause with their presence and words. This isn't a gimmick like holding a funeral for a swear word or signing a pledge to "clean up" lyrics, but rather a measured effort to raise awareness within the black community.
Iconic civil and human rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson plans to galvanize support by hosting “Occupy Hip Hop New York,” a discussion that will bring together a “Power Panel” from the music, broadcast and education sectors for what leaders are calling “a Conversation, a Pledge, and a Plan.”
“All that we have gained in recent years has been attacked,” Rev. Jackson told AllHipHop.com in an exclusive, pre-event interview. “We have to protect ourselves from the tyranny of the majority.”
The January 26 event is part of Rev. Jackson’s 15th Annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit, and includes speakers such as author/Georgetown University scholar Michael Eric Dyson; Hip-Hop journalists and pundits, Chuck Creekmur of AllHipHop.com and Davey D, rapper Master P, politician/activist Adam Clayton Powell IV, and others. There are also planned musical performances and workshops throughout the summit.
Decrying the current trend of apathy and proud ignorance in today's youth, Rev. Jackson said, “To not vote in 2012 is to vote for [Newt] Gingrich, [Mitt] Romney, or someone else who has no regard for civil rights, and no commitment to us. When we vote, things tend to come out right. No one cares enough to put air in our ball now. Dr. King’s last act on earth was to ‘occupy’ on behalf of the workers he was speaking out for. Now, we need to ‘occupy the streets’ for access to education, healthcare, and more…we have big work to do.”
The man's got a point.
Visit www.wsphiphop.eventbrite.com for more info.