Virginia Gov and DNC Chair Tim Kaine Says Times Are Changing in Texas

Gov Tim Kaine

Gov Tim Kaine

Is Texas about to turn Blue? If you ask most people outside of the Lone Star state they’ll look at you in disbelief and start laughing. After all when you have a governor who runs around declaring he’s gonna have the state secede from the union, who could take such a notion seriously? Antics like the one Governor Rick Perry pulled make for great TV and water cooler talk, but unfortunately it’s put the state in a bad light and made us a laughing stock. This has angered many within the state.

Fortunately Rick Perry is not your typical Texan. He represents a small mindset from the past which is soon to be overshadowed by a new energetic growing population that is increasingly young, increasingly people of color and increasingly left leaning in its politics. We are in a state that that for so long has been solidly red but is now purple and about to go blue. People who really know what time it is are taking note.

Earlier this year we caught up with former DNC chair Howard Dean and he told us that he saw Texas changing for the ‘better’ within the next few years. Virginia Governor and current DNC Chair Tim Kaine came to Austin the other night along with a large contingent of DNC folks and underscored Dean’s assertions. He gave an inspring speech as he talked about what took place in his home state of Texas and what he sees coming down the pipe. It was clear to him that ‘times were a changing’ and folks better get ready to make room at the proverbial blue table. Kaine said he and the DNC will be doing everything they can to make this happen. Kaine noted that 2010 will be the state’s political superbowl and when all is said new sheriff in town and her name is Texas..If everything continues to grow as predicted, the only thing Red in texas will be raw meat.

Check out this video to hear just how serious Governor Kaine was as he put forth some very inspiring and hope

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Rosa Clemente Weighs in on Van Jones Takedown

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Notes from a Hip Hop Radical: The Van Jones takedown and the politricks of the Obama Administration
by Rosa Clemente September 11th, 2009

RosaClemente-BfreshOver the Labor Day weekend Van Jones, a member of the Hip Hop generation and special advisor for green jobs at the White House Council for Environmental Quality, tendered his resignation, and it was accepted by the Obama administration.  I will be the first to say that I never found Van Jones to be a radical, a Black Nationalist or a communist as  Fox News has suggested.

Although I appreciate his book The Green Collar Economy, I never believed that a green economy will save working people. I felt that the book gave solutions on how to save the current capitalist system. And fundamentally that presents a problem, as many in this country are suffering because of capitalism and its failures.

No matter my political differences with Jones, I will never discount his work, energy, community organizing skills and progressive tendencies, which have reconnected urban youth with Mother Earth and have inspired many in my generation to create space in the predominately white liberal “green” movement. As the former Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate, I am not surprised that Jones turned out to be a high-profile casualty of an administration that started at the center and continues to move to the right.

But what has surprised me is that people are not holding the Obama administration for its role in the matter. Do not be fooled. There is no doubt that the Obama administration knew about Jones’ so-called “radical” past. I am not willing to believe that they never did a Google search on Jones or looked at his past comments, speeches or actions. By accepting Jones’ Resignation the Obama administration essentially gave a victory to the very racist Glenn Beck and the most vile “news” station in modern time. They have put a target on all of us who would be deemed activists or radicals. Accepting Jones’s resignation is a slap in the face to all of us.

So for those who voted for Obama, when will you let him know that you will not accept Van Jones as a casualty of an administration capitulating to the right? How dare we allow a bunch of white boys whom in the 1950’s would have been wearing hoods and burning crosses on Black peoples lawns have this much power.  Where is the movement? Where is our infrastructure? Where is progressive media?

So where do we go from here?  I caution people, first do not make Jones a martyr. Van jones is not Jesus, God or Malcolm reincarnated and elevating him to icon status is dangerous and does us no good. I am urging people to go back to the grassroots, go back to local community organizing and support progressives and 3rd party candidates in local elections. Stop thinking that once you vote that is your contribution, the easiest thing to do now-a-days is vote, the work begins after you cast your ballot.  Malkia Cyril the Executive Director of the Center for Media Justice the other day on Democracy Now! stated, “We need to create an echo chamber of progressive media to counter the echo created by the right.”

The Van Jones takedown has revealed our own frustrations and inability to build and sustain a powerful multi-faceted, multi-racial, self-sustaining movement.  I do not know all the answers and solutions to the chaos we finds ourselves in at this moment in history, but I do hope that people take one lesson that I learned from Van Jones’ book, “Stop fight against something and start fighting for something.” Maybe our fighting for something began at 11:45pm this past Saturday. If that is the case, we should all thank Van Jones for leaving the manicured green lawns and oak offices of the White House and for those who are still not convinced, the words of dead prez:

“Everywhere we go, everyday on TV, they be talking about who you gonna vote for,
Got a Black man running but I wonder if he get in who he gonna open up the door for
I don’t want to discourage my folks I believe in hope I just want us to want more
Politics is a game, how they keep us contained, there’s gotta be more that we can hope for
Democrats and Republicans just two sides of the same coin, either way its still white power, it’s the same system just changed form,
You wanna vote, please do, cast your ballot, let your voice be heard
But what I do wanna say is after the election you’ll see mark my word
It’s Politrikkks time again.”

© KnowThySelf Productions LLC.

Rosa Alicia Clemente is a community organizer, Hip-Hop activist, journalist and the Green Party 2008 Vice-Presidential candidate.  Rosa resides with her husband and daughter in the South Bronx and is currently on her speaking tour, Its Bigger than Black and White. She is also at work on her first book: When a Puerto Rican Woman Ran for Vice-President and Nobody Knew Her Name and will soon begin her doctoral studies in Political Science. She can be reached at clementerosa@gmail.com and facebook.

Is BET really the Belly of the Beast? An Open Letter from Andreas Hale

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We often hear about some of the negativity surrounding BET (Black Entertainment TV). Over the years it has been the target of boycotts, protests and thousands of complaints. Most center around the network resurrecting nasty stereotypes. Thats not a good look for an outlet that has positioned itself to be a leading voice and representation of Black America.

Andreas Hale is well known in the Hip Hop world. He was the man behind the success of Hip HopDX where he served as editor and chief for a number of years. he was a factor in the National Hip Hop Political Convention-Las Vegas chapter. He’s been an outspoken critic of BET and media outlets that disrespect Hip Hop and Black people in general.

Hale being hired to work at BET was a shock to many of us because we knew about his outspokenness. He said he would give it a good year. He is now starting to tell his story.

-Davey D- 

 Is BET really the Belly of the Beast? An open letter from Andreas Hale

Andreas Hale

Andreas Hale

To friends, colleagues and those that should know,

As of today (September 8, 2009) I am no longer the Executive Editor of Music at BET.com.

Upon entering the position at BET I said that I needed one year to see what really went on inside the belly of the beast. I needed 365 days to sleep with the enemy and infiltrate the system. One year to see if they REALLY wanted change at BET.

As someone who has been critical of BET for many years, it surprised many that I would leave my post at HipHopDX last year to take a position at BET. But it was an opportunity I absolutely had to take. I could no longer be critical of this company without accepting the opportunity to change it when given. Although I was hired to bring about change, I was systematically shut down. I wasn’t hired to make noise, I was hired to be silenced.

The truth of the matter is that everything that you thought was wrong with BET is true.

Over the past year I’ve seen a lot to reinforce my position that BET is too far gone in the negative to turn into a positive. We have all always thought the worst, but to actually see it in action is another thing in its entirety. The unprofessionalism, the tom foolery, the favors, the misappropriation of resources, the bad ideas that reinforce negative stereotypes, the emasculation of men, the meetings that break down in full fledged cursing battles, the unpaid overtime, the tears from employees scared for their underpaid and overworked positions and ultimately the unwillingness to change are all harsh realities that I’ve witnessed firsthand.

That is not to say that there aren’t some good people who have sat in the offices of BET. Unfortunately, the good people are not in positions of power to instill any change. Instead, they work their fingers to the bone just to keep their jobs in this harsh economic climate. The other good people ran out of the door as soon as an another employment opportunity presented itself. To say BET was a revolving door would be an understatement.

I came in with a plan to provide balance and to deliver good music to the masses and help make BET relevant again – at least in the dot com world. Those attempts were shut down by out of touch executives who run a dot com but could barely turn on a computer. By those who judge their metrics by page views over absolute unique visitors (that‘s ad sales talk). By those who simply don’t understand the internet.

They brought me in because of my track record but never once took a look at my body of work. If they did, they would have known that I was the pen behind editorials such as “BET’s Coon Picnic” or were aware of the many times I have been critical of their award shows and programming. All they knew is that I played a major role in making a once unknown website into a online media outlet that surpassed theirs and they wanted a piece of the action. Too bad they never researched who I really was.

During my tenure I worked long hours and sometimes succeeded at bringing in decent content to try to reflect the change I wanted to achieve. But it wasn’t without opposition. While some interviews and content initiatives were able to make it through, many others were either shut down or met with ridicule. I offered ideas to incorporate the blog world and to spotlight new talent before MTV did. Those ideas were met with comments such as “This isn’t HipHopDX” or “You don’t know what you are talking about.”

BET is not about the quality of your work. Rather, BET is about the relationships you have with powerful people within the company. BET is not about challenging. Instead, BET is about accepting and saying “yes.” If you have known or followed me over the years, you would know that these are things that simply are not in my character and ultimately resulted in my removal.

For the artists and labels that I have worked with for years, I tried. I did whatever I could to achieve that balance many of us wanted to see happen. To the writers who wanted to writer for BET, I made an attempt but was never given a budget to work with.

Upon my arrival, I was told I would be given a staff. Not true. I had a staff of one to carry out daily operations on a website. I fought tooth and nail to accomplish the minimum (an embeddable player and a site people could navigate) and was constantly brushed off. It was a position that was set up for failure. But I endured as long as I could.

Alas, I have been removed from my position after infiltrating the system and the timing was perfect. I wasn’t let go because the site’s numbers were down. Not because I didn’t work hard. Simply because of a personality clash with an individual whose proverbial ass I didn’t kiss enough. Again, not about the work you do but about the relationships you keep and the sides you take.

I’d like to thank BET for covering the cost of my relocation to bring me to the great city of New York/New Jersey. I’d also like to thank them for putting me in close quarters with people who think like me and will hopefully work with in the near future. I’d also like to thank them for providing me enough controversial content that I observed firsthand and will make for many tales to be told.

I said it and I meant in: One year to either make changes or move on. I left HipHopDX on September 16th 2008. Today is September 8, 2009. Eight days short of a year. Most thought I wouldn’t even last that long. But in that year I’ve had my greatest fears about Black Entertainment Television affirmed.

There is so much wrong with BET that I’d rather not break it down in a single email.

It is pretty good fodder for a book don’t you think?

As of today, Andreas Hale is a free agent.

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