Hip-hop for Change

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It is hard to decipher one’s role in the election, besides that of a voter on November 4th. However one USF senior has taken a more active role in the elections. Sociology major Courtney Parham appeared in “We Need A President,” a hip hop video geared toward gaining support and spreading Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign platform of change and hope.

“We Need A President” was produced by Eklectyk Creative Media, an Oakland based “online community dedicated to strengthening a physical community of talented artists.” Courtney Parham’s brother, Trevor Parham, directed, edited and appeared in the video featuring original music by Napalm Clique, F.L.O and Tai Chi.

 

 

 

 

 

Courtney Parham is “definitely a huge supporter of Obama” and wanted to get more involved and go beyond canvassing neighborhoods and promoting candidates through social networking sites, like Facebook and MySpace. Sen. Barack Obama’s nomination speech and his emphasis on the availability of quality education and how it is easy to overlook the value of a strong education, struck a chord with Parham, who comes from a family of educators. After watching his nomination speech and seeing how much attention it received, Parham knew she wanted to be involved in her brother’s video; she appears in a few different cameos, singing “We Need A President.” 

Treasure Island

 

The video talks about the current political situation and favors Obama as “positive, humorous and educational” as the lyrics include key aspects of Obama’s political agenda: “See his plan for energy efficiency’s

right and exact/ On top of that he’s gonna pull all of the troops out of Iraq/ Spending our budget wisely on education and universal healthcare.” Parham pointed out that the song has a “catchy chant” that sticks in one’s mind, as well as conveying Obama’s famous message of hope. 

To reach the notoriously politically absent demographic of voters ages 18-25, Parham acted as a publicist posting it on the Internet and sending press releases to newspapers like the Oakland Tribune and the San Jose Mercury News who picked the story up. The concept is viral marketing, posting the video online and promoting it so that it spreads like a virus and gains popularity. The choice of a hip hop song was also chosen to target this difficult age group. Parham said, “Hip hop has a history of being political since its inception in the early 1980s.” It has a reputation of being a musical genre that “has political commentary and criticism.” Trevor Parham enjoys working with Napalm Clique, but also agreed to take on the project because he loved the song and felt that people needed to hear it. He also believes that “students and young adults will inevitably sway this election if each and every one of them chooses to vote.” 

Of her involvement with the “We Need a President” music video, Courtney Parham said it was “empowering, the prevalence of technology gives everyone a voice and increases the freedom of speech.” 

“We Need A President” can be viewed below:

We Need a President

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