Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama / Tea Party Era

The Youth Vote & The 2012 Presidential Election

In 2008, twenty-three million 18-29 year olds voted for president. The two-thirds of young voters who cast their vote for Barack Obama gave the new president a mandate, reflected in opinion polls: they expected the creation of living wage jobs, making college education more affordable, and lowering gas prices, to name a few.

Dissatisfaction with president’s impact, alongside the emergence of The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements, opens the door for various outcomes in 2012. Add to this the recent economic recession—with depression level youth unemployment rates—and the current political landscape begs the question, “is hip-hop a relevant tool for mobilizing young voters this election year?”

Led by a distinguished panel of activists, artists and scholars, HIP-HOP ACTIVISM IN THE OBAMA / TEA PARTY ERA explores the ways today’s political climate has both strengthen and diminished hip-hop’s effectiveness at galvanizing the youth vote.

  • What are the political issues that matter to young voters?
  • Have both the election of Barack Obama and the rise of the Tea Party, diminished hip-hop’s influence as an organizing tool among youth?
  • How do the Occupy protests overlap with existing youth mobilization efforts?
  • How will the Obama Administration’s response to youth issues, affect youth participation in the 2012 Presidential Election?
  • Are Democrats and Republicans willing to go far enough to win the youth vote?
  • What can student activists do to mobilize the hip-hop vote?