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Kanye West, Olivia Pope, and the New Faces of American Empire

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" They tryna lock niggas up

They tryna make new slaves

See that's that privately owned prison

Get your piece today"

Lyric from Kanye West's 2013 single "New Slaves." The song can be viewed here.  

Popular culture in American society serves multiple functions. Viewed by many as simple artistic expression seeking to provide entertainment for its audiences, throughout American history popular culture has been deployed by the ruling elite as a means to solidify the imperatives of American capitalism and empire in the minds of the nation's citizenry as well as the world abroad.

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"President Dwight D. Eisenhower helped lead the foundations of global jazz diplomacy in the aftermath of Brown v. Board of Education--a decision that provided impetus for a world wide United States Information Agency (UNIA) propoganda campaign."--"Jazz Diplomacy: Promoting America During the Cold War Era," by Lisa E. Davenport

Black jazz musicians were recruited by Eisenhower and subsequent administrations to be the ambassadors for American Capitalism in third-world countries that were recently gaining independence and flirting with Communism as a political and economic model in the height of global Soviet prominence. These black musicians were being recruited at a time when America was only slightly making overtures to crack the walls of Jim Crow segregation. Yet, signs like the recent Supreme Court decision of  Brown vs. Board of Education naively led some in the black community to believe that a transformative victory had been won as opposed to a judicial policy choice to improve America's image abroad in the face of Communist expansion. 

"Starting in the 1950s the U.S. State Department solicited Jazz Artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, and Louis Armstrong as 'cultural ambassadors' to third-world countries and the African continent to try to 'rehabilitate' America's racist image and offer the American way of life as an alternative to the increasing post-colonial popularity of Communism. Armstrong was performing in the Katanga Province in the Congo the same time of Patrice Lumumba's capture and torture with American complicity. He was on the continent when Lumumba was killed."  
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was the brainchild behind this movement of recruiting jazz artists for this purpose.--"In Search of the Black Fantastic," Richard Iton.  

In today's political age with the browning of America, the ruling elite have realized that having the pop culture/media arm of the black mis-leadership class endorse empire in blackface, with politicians like Barack Obama and Cory Booker, is crucial to ensuring people of color are fully vested in these new politicians to ease the blow of the devastating agenda they have willingly signed on to implement. Celebrities ranging from Oprah Winfrey, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jay Z have made regular pronouncements of their loyalty to the Booker/Obama types as a means of fulfilling some ridiculous black redemptive fantasy under the guise of the constant con game of racial-kinship politics.

Currently all the rage in the black community, the Kerry Washington poli tical-intrigue program "SCANDAL," about a black woman named Olivia Pope whose job it is to help Washington DC politicos through damaging and embarrassing dilemmas, is an excellent example of the way black popular culture is being deployed to fulfill the ruling elite's implementation of brown faces in high places. "SCANDAL" is a shrewd way to create a sense of racial-collective necessity for a show that glorifies and breeds reverence for American empire and those working to the benefit of American empire. Hence, further glorifying intelligence agencies and all the tools of the American police state with a brown face creating the televised female version of the Obama effect. Therefore, they are getting the most oppressed segment of American society to dream and fantasize about being the most effective agents of the empire that is destroying them; very shrewd indeed.

What's most interesting about "SCANDAL" is that the show is based on the real-life story of a black woman who got her political start in the Reagan administration and was critical in getting Clarence Thomas confirmed on the Supreme Court after his allegations of sexual harassment by Anita Hill, and also helped clean things up regarding the criminal Republican Iran-Contra scandal. If that dubious activity is too far back for most to question, the inspiration for the character Olivia Pope, as recently as May of this year represented Paula Deen, the white TV cooking-show maven who outraged black America for allegedly admitting she fantasized about "owning slaves". So dramatically speaking, this is the real-life Olivia Pope black America is cheering for while watching "SCANDAL."

In a very interesting twist, a fixture of black popular culture, Kanye West, has used his membership in the elite star chamber to write a song called "New Slaves" that basically admits the agenda of the ruling-class elite in a questionably defiant tone. He's even using the Confederate flag as a means of seeming acknowledgement of the agenda. The song acknowledges the rise of mass incarceration and private prisons, the prevalence of corporate dominance over people's lives, and even possibly suggests the role of class within the black community as a source of contention, talking about "those in their Hampton Houses" while bizarrely singing the refrain, "I know we the New Slaves. I know we the New Slaves...We the New Slaves."  The lyrics can be found here. However, in the true fashion of the elite, Kanye West admits in the song that this agenda can't touch "HIM" because he can "fly [his] family out the country." But what about the supermajority of black Americans who will never be able to fly their family out of the country as they face the five-pronged merciless agenda of American Empire: 1) Finance-capital hoarding of wealth; 2) Neoliberal privatization of prisons, schools, and government services; 3) Austerity cutting of social programs like Social Security and food stamps; 4) Mass incarceration; and 5) Growth of the surveillance state via NSA, Homeland Security, etc. This is the agenda that Obama and the Cory Booker types have been deployed to lay on black America and the rest of the country while people cheer around and scream, "That's my president!"

What black America needs to realize as sits in a complete fog in the Obama age is that if black redemption is prefaced on showing white imperialism and oppression that we are equally competent at managing its affairs, in light of our legacy of black struggle, then we are morally bankrupt, even more so than those who truly control American empire. Hypocrisy and duplicity are always the more repellent treasonous crimes. 

Watch this video of current jazz musicians such as Winton Marsellis admit to their willingness to be musical ambassadors for the uses of American empire and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admit that "Hip Hop" is American and can deployed as a "pawn" in the goals of American empire abroad. The video can be seen here

"African Americans have been rendered redundant and more valuable in prison than as a functioning part of the nation's economy."--Ajamu Baraka, Public Intervenor for Human Rights in the Democracy Branch of the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States.  

 

Lawyer, Blogger, and iconoclast advocating for Haiti and the children of the Haitian Revolution. I love all things politics. SHEER political independent unafraid to slay the most sacred cows of ideological orthodoxy from the Left, or the Right. I (more...)
 

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