As the nation and global community turns its attention to the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement, celebrity involvement has been a growing hot topic. Last week, controversy erupted over Kanye West’s presence at the protest site, Zuccotti Park in New York City, at the invitation of Russell Simmons. One article of particular interest, Why Kanye West Doesn’t Belong at Occupy Wall Street, was written by GOOD Senior Editor Cord Jefferson. Highlighting the selling price of his outfit and his image as the “Louis Vuitton Don,” the writer concluded by saying that “what OWS doesn’t need is everyone who’d like to be seen as a populist jumping onboard for a photo opportunity before leaving to go buy $500 jeans. Lip service and deceit is what got us into this mess in the first place.”
Watch this videotaped discussion to hear Urban Cusp’s Editorial Director Rahiel Tesfamariam reflect on the author’s points with Bakari Kitwana, who has a forthcoming new book entitled Hip-Hop Activism in the Obama Era. Kitwana has been seen and heard on CNN, Fox News, C-Span, PBS and NPR. He is the CEO of RapSessions.org and Senior Media Fellow at the Harvard Law-based think think, the Jamestown Project. Kitwana is also the former editor of The Source, co-founder of the National Hip-Hop Political Convention and author of the best-selling The Hip Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African American Culture.