Last week, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) hosted their 52nd Annual Legislative Conference (ALC) in Washington, D.C.
At this year’s ALC, there were over 100 panels where academics, community organizers, and politicians convened “to spark a call to action that results in progress toward positive change.” And this year’s ALC certainly aligned with this year’s ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of hip hop.
“From its beginnings 50 years ago, hip hop has explored a range of themes that address the root causes and detrimental effects of mass incarceration, including urban decay, poverty, community violence, hyper-policing, police misconduct and brutality, government surveillance, tough-on-crime policies, and prosecutorial zeal,” writes the American Bar Association.
Given that hip hop and politics go hand in hand, the mission of the Hip Hop Caucus “is to use the power of our cultural expression to empower communities who are first and worst impacted by injustice,” with a vision of achieving “racial justice, healthy communities, and a healthy planet,” according to their website.
This year’s theme for the ALC was “Securing Our Democracy. Protecting Our Freedoms. Uplifting Our Culture.” In case you weren’t able to attend, ESSENCE is highlighting some ALC panels where politics intersected with hip hop.
The panel and town hall discussion, “50 Years and Still Going: Hip Hop’s Struggle Against Mass Incarceration and the Criminal Legal System,” explored the relationship over the last five decades between mass incarceration and hip hop, in addition to addressing recent challenges as related to disenfranchisement, inmates dying while in custody, and other pressing criminal justice matters.
Another panel, “Hip Hop and Politics: Activism, Culture, Revolution and Entrepreneurship,” dealt with “the importance of taking action against injustice and utilizing the power of hip-hop to strengthen the Black community,” per Howard University News Service.
The Hip Hop Caucus also hosted a press conference in solidarity with the activists in Atlanta to “Stop Cop City,” featuring Insecure’s Kendrick Sampson and Amanda Seales along with President and CEO of the Caucus, Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr.
In addition, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were on site and delivered remarks at the ALC signature event, Phoenix Awards dinner. Two of the Phoenix Award winners were LL Cool J and MC Lyte, for “representing 50 years of hip-hop,” per the White House briefing room.