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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hip Hop Responds to Van Jones Drama

Posted By on Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 2:12 PM

Ali Chagi-Starr, Van Jones (c), and Ron Dellums at Silence the Violence Day, 2007 - EKAPHOTOGRAPHY
  • EKAphotography
  • Ali Chagi-Starr, Van Jones (c), and Ron Dellums at Silence the Violence Day, 2007

By now, everyone and they mama has heard that controversial green jobs adviser Van Jones has been forced to resign from his white house job. There are many differing takes on the subject, from ultra-rightwing commentators like Glenn Beck and his Fox News cohorts, to the liberal lefties over at HuffPo and Alternet.

Whatever your take on Jones as an individual and green jobs in general, there's no question that the media frenzy surrounding him has been deafening. Earlier today, Davey D's website posted a new video by rapper Jasiri X called "The Crucifixion of Van Jones," which intersperses video clips of Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and various TV talking heads, along with footage of Barack Obama, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Jones himself.

It's only fitting that hip-hop has weighed in on this topic--after all, Jones began his career by addressing issues of concern to the hip-hop generation like police brutality and juvenile justice, and the organization he founded, Oakland's Ella Baker Center, continues to organize around anti-violence and urban green campaigns. (Full disclosure: I am a former employee of EBC). Whether such issues should be part of a national debate over green jobs largely depends on your perspective, but for all the flak rap gets for being mindless and dumbed-down, it's nice to see independent hip-hop artists address relevant, topical issues in a thought-provoking way.

As always, comments--on green jobs, Jones, and this video--are welcomed. Just keep it clean and don't waste any brain emissions.

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Eric Arnold


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