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Democrats Unveil New Hip Hop Task Force to Tackle Racial Inequity

A coalition of Democrats are looking to use the power of music to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing Black and Brown Americans.

Rep. Jamaal Bowman(D-N.Y.) on Wednesday unveiled the Congressional Hip Hop Power and Justice Task Force outside the Capitol.

The taskforce, led by Bowman, will use hip hop’s messaging of building a more equitable society to help spearhead initiatives to address economic equality, affordable housing and racial justice imperatives.

In an exclusive with The Hill, Bowman explained that the inspiration behind the task force came from reflecting on how the genre impacted him over the years.

Artists like Eric B. & Rakim, Queen Latifah, Chuck D and Public Enemy inspired the New York lawmaker throughout his life, he said, including during his time as an educator.

“They were very instrumental in creating a curriculum and blueprint for my life,” Bowman told The Hill. “I owe a lot of who I am to the lessons that they taught me on and through their music.”

Hip hop, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last August, has often been used as a political tool for Black and Brown Americans, and Bowman said he hopes to capitalize on that through the taskforce.

“Hip hop has always been about ending poverty in America, about fully funding our public schools. It’s always been about justice reform and police reform,” the lawmaker said. “It’s always been about affordable housing and dealing with the issue of threats of violence.”

“At this moment in particular when you consider the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ceasefire movement and the fight that continues for freedom, justice and equality — now it’s time to build political power at a level that’s never been done before,” he added.


But Bowman also points to how legitimizing hip hop can lead to widespread cultural change. One way, he said, is by addressing misogyny both in the genre and public discourse.


Bowman, who grew up in a single mother household, said his mother used to listen and enjoy hip hop with him as he grew up.

“I’m very lucky because I was raised in the culture, the time when the culture was not as misogynistic and violent,” he said.

To introduce the task force on the day of her passing, he added, “is to give honor to her and to pay homage to her as a single Black mom in America and pay homage to all the single Black mothers in America and all the women out there loving their sons and doing the best they can for their children, their families.”


In addition to Bowman, the task force will be led by Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson (Ga.), Delia Ramirez (Ill.) and Andre Carson (Ind.). No Republicans are part of the task force.