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Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons

Posted: November 13, 2008 11:37 AM

The Hip-Hop Effect


(From globalgrind.com) Sometimes when you defy the odds, it may appear under-appreciated or historically insignificant until you achieve such a success it catches the attention and support of the entire world.

The election of Barack Obama to be the 44th President of the United States of America has captured the enthusiastic goodwill and hopeful imagination and support of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world community.

During the last 30 years, hip-hop culture has helped immeasurably to open the door in the mind and consciousness of millions of Americans and others in ways that creatively transcended racial divisions and fears.

Just a few months ago, there where many national pundits and pollsters who erroneously speculated and even predicted that the "Bradley Effect" (whites refusing to vote for qualified blacks because of deep-seated prejudice and fear) would be a decisive factor against Obama. Of course that did not happen.

First and foremost, Obama ran an effective campaign that refused to be sidetracked by negative campaign tactics and the false stereotypes of the past.

Consciousness can be informed by and through the creative arts effectively even when the realities of racial distrust and prejudice are socially prevalent. Thus it is cause for celebration that the hip-hop generation today is considerably less racist, sexist and homophobic than others born generations earlier.

18-35 years voted in the 2008 elections in record numbers. The "Hip-Hop Effect" neutralized the so-called "Bradley Effect."

What happened 20 years ago in California with Mayor Bradley running unsuccessfully for governor is less likely to happen in 2008. In fact, it is reported that most young African Africans in California voted against proposition 8, while older voters voted in favor of the proposition that was used as a negative polarizing issue.

A new America is emerging led by the millions of young and older voters who are willing to work and support real change.

During this period of transition, let's make sure that arts and culture remain priorities in the budgetary planning and projections for the new administration. This is a great time to be alive, active and creative.

-Russell Simmons