Saturday, March 14, 2009
The GOP Urban Agenda: Creating a Counterculture by Akindele Akinyemi
Oftentimes we hear from social conservatives and the religious right of how decadent our society has become in our community. We have Black men sagging their pants as if there are in prison. We have Black women walking around wearing scarfs on their head as if they are slaves. The tattoo phenomenon has taken root in our community. You cannot go to a mall without witnessing a mother cussing her child(ren) out in public.
I agree with social conservatives there is a problem. What I rarely hear is a solution.
When we talk about the culture in our community we need to apply it with something more than just blaming it on Hollywood. Telling your child to turn off the TV is unrealistic because that child will sneak behind the parent and turn on the TV or DVD player anyway.
The solution is for urban conservatives to create a counterculture to deal with the liberal left of entertainment.
Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day.
During the turbulent 1960s and 70s counterculture groups rose to every debatable occasion. Groups such as the Chicago Seven , Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and a on a whole, the term, New Left, was given to the generation of the sixties that was radicalized by social injustices , the civil rights movement, and the war in Vietnam. One specific incident would be when Richard Nixon appeared on national television to announce the invasion of Cambodia by the United States, and the need to draft 150,000 more soldiers. At Kent State University in Ohio, protesters launched a riot, which included fires, injuries and even death.
Part of creating a GOP Urban Agenda is to develop a way to create a counterculture that separates mainstream liberal ideologies or indoctrination. In urban conservatism the creation of a counterculture will fall under young adults who were born after 1980. The reason is because most people born after 1980 and who are conservative most likely had parents who are conservative and fell under the Reagan Revolution of the 80s. So fast forward to today those children are now adults and can lead another cultural revolution.
RNC Chair Michael Steele is reaching out to the Hip-Hop Republicans. Meanwhile, urban conservatives, like myself, are reaching out to poets, neo-soul and gospel artists. However, when I discuss the need for a counterculture I am not talking about banning rap music like C. Craig Lewis is talking about. There are some rap music that is socially conscious that we will need in the Silver Rights Movement. I go to the Detroit Festival of the Arts and the Ann Arbor Street Festival in Ann Arbor, Michigan and Arts, Beats and Eats Festival in Pontiac, Michigan each year to connect with people who are into the arts and connect them with our urban conservative message. They respond positively because I talk about issues that is dealing with them directly.
Where are our poets to recite on the mic when its poetry night to tell the Silver Rights story? Our neo-soul artists to tell our story? Detroit is the gospel capital of the world yet urban conservatives who would like to push for Silver Rights have not connected or forged a serious relationship with this genre of music/artists. I am not ignoring the hip-hop crowd but I am focusing more on the neo-soul/gospel crowd because they are most likely to vote as well as carry our message much further than traditional conservatives who whine about liberals in Hollywood.
Speaking of Hollywood social conservatives constantly tell us how much decadence come from there. So what do we do? Will Detroit be our "Silverwood"? In Nigeria, they have Nollywood and it is a nascent film industry, growing up within the last two decades to become the third largest film industry on the planet, behind the United States and Indian film industries. According to Hala Gorani and Jeff Koinange formerly of CNN Nigeria has a U.S. $250 million movie industry, churning out some 200 home videos every month.
Popular actresses such as Genevieve Nnaji (below) is also has her own clothing line called St. Genevieve.
Most movies are not produced in studios. Video movies are shot on location all over Nigeria with hotels, homes and offices often rented out by their owners and appearing in credits in the movies. The most popular locations are shot in the cities of Lagos, Enugu, and Abuja.
This is urban conservatism and silver rights at work. We can do the same here in local urban communities to (1) clean up our image, (2) bring solutions for our social conservative activists and (3) bring in revenue to help build a community up from the ground.
Also, we must be reminded that urban conservatism is international and not just domestic. How many of us support the Africa Channel on cable? We lost the Black Family Channel (which would have been an excellent venue to push urban conservatism). How many of us are watching BBC and Al-Jazeera television to get a glimpse of what is going on in the world? We have to be able to work on both fronts to make a difference.
Urban conservatives also need an answer for radio hosts Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner, Mo'Nique, Wendy Williams, Russ Parr, Mildred Gaddis (for those of you who live in Detroit) who constantly spin the liberal message towards Blacks. Where is our counterculture here? The same for the Black Press. Where is our voice to give the alternative viewpoint?
Tyler Perry movies and plays are really good. However, he cannot do it alone. Again, urban conservatives who live in Michigan should take advantage of the new film industry here to tell our story. Creating a Silverwood (silver rights entertainment that will help generate wealth) will help create balance in terms of the types of entertainment we are exposed to. I favor more movies that deals with family living, Christian or other faith based challenges, and documentaries that deal with environmental issues and creating solutions for urban blight.
Nina May has produced Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution, a documentary that is telling the historical relationship between Blacks and the GOP. Other documentaries must be produced to give real and accurate description of Blacks, Hispanics and other groups as it relates to the GOP. We do not need PBS to show this on TV. Most of us have access to local public access through cable TV, You Tube or distribution centers. Most importantly, it will be the youth and young adults leading the way with this new counterculture. When we conduct our grassroots/outreach operations we must have t-shirts, buttons and other paraphernalia showing the world who we are and why our culture will change lives.
In order for us to create a counterculture we will need to tap into the non-profits and faith based groups to make it work. Most churches have access to stages where we could put on productions to tell our story. Podcasting is very important in promoting Silver Rights through urban conservatism. And the biggest way to create a counterculture is to involve other races of people to create diversity in the new culture wing of the party.
That's a long way from the traditional right wing conservatives who harp about issues such as abortion. If abortion is important then create an independent film about a woman and her struggles to NOT give up her baby. For example, have someone young who is from the African Diaspora or Hispanic community do the acting (since we LOST this demographic last election cycle to Obama). We have to be diverse in our thinking if we are serious about outreach and winning elections.
We have the resources to do this. We also have the money. The problem with us is the fact that we think so individualistic and not think as a group. Urban conservatism is based on communalism not individualism. Pooling our money and resources together is how we successfully create a counterculture. I think this is the best contemporary way of helping social conservatives in the 21st century get the message out through a grassroots Silver Rights Movement. To cling on to the old ways of social messaging and hating on people who do not look like, pray like or talk like you is ignorant. This is a new ballgame and its time we learned how to play the game correctly.
We have to include not just urban conservatives but social, green, fiscal, and libertarians in this counterculture.
It is our responsibility to get our message out. We cannot continue to make excuses to give fuel to the fire for liberal ideology. If the GOP is smart they will embrace silver rights through urban conservatism and roll with the program. Otherwise, we will continue to lose elections.