By Rebecca Bulnes
By Laurie Charles
By Chuck Strouse
By Lee Zimmerman
By Laurie Charles
By Falyn Freyman
By Hans Morgenstern
The championship, which will be at Mansion on South Beach, is a careful blend of politics and entertainment. The first half of the evening will be devoted to the slam competition; the Miami representative is scheduled to be Wanda Darden, a.k.a. Phantom Knoet. The winner will be awarded $5000.
The second half will be a showcase for a new hip-hop label, South Beat Records, with MTV MC Battle II champion Wrekonize, Mayday, and Algorithm scheduled to perform. The night climaxes with a performance from the Roots, a band well known among progressives for appearing charity and political events such as this one.
"The idea is to activate the hip-hop community," says Hausman, who points out that the hip-hop generation usually skews Democratic. "In the 2000 election, that population voted at a pathetically low rate of 24 percent. But we know that most of the people, when they're going to vote, are going to vote Democrat. So the concept behind it was, how can we convince hip-hoppers to actually get out to the polls in a real partisan way?"
But why vote for Kerry? "It's the lesser of two evils," says Soulflower. On September 29, she'll be one of two female judges (the other is L.A. rapper Medusa) on a star-studded panel that includes Public Enemy front man Chuck D., and one of two Miami reps on the panel, the other being acclaimed spoken-word artist Will Da Real One.
Despite her extensive credentials as a progressive musician, Soulflower says she's concerned about "national security." "You definitely want someone to stand up as a fearless warrior to lead you," she says, pointing out Kerry's Vietnam experience. "But you want someone who's compassionate, too. And I'm sure that, once he gets elected, we'll learn a lot more about him than we know now that we might not like."
Soulflower acknowledges that Kerry may not the perfect candidate for the hip-hop generation. "Politicians always have a hidden agenda," she says.