Hip-Hop Republicans

Illustration: Sean Kernick

Two years ago, at a Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association dinner, Fox News captured an unlikely musical performance: Former deputy chief of staff Karl Rove went from suit-wearing political puppet master to suit-wearing political puppet master with an attitude. (The act mostly consisted of his growling “I’m MC Roooooove!” into a mike, his arms crossed awkwardly over his chest.)

Rove probably never blasted NWA’s “Fuck the Police” from a PA system a day in his life, but the Grand Ol’ Party’s values of economic gain, fiscal responsibility and individual ownership are in sync with mainstream hip-hop, as well as the ideals of Hip-Hop Republicans (hiphoprepublican.com), a networking group and blog founded by Richard Ivory. “Hip-hop has evolved,” says 25-year-old HHR political contributor Brandon Brice. “It’s not just about the music—it’s about the people who listen to it.”

Hip-hop and politics have always overlapped, harkening back to the culture’s early days, when Grandmaster Flash rapped about the plight of the inner city. For its part, HHR was built to provide a platform for young, moderate Republicans and Libertarians of color. Brice says the group strives to “empower people on issues in the Republican Party, which directly affect urban America.”

Aspiring pundits should hit up one of HHR’s monthly meetings, where members discuss new outreach methods, including sex-ed programs and career-building workshops for at-risk youth in Harlem and Brooklyn. “Membership is open to all ages, races and political affiliations,” says Brice. “You don’t have to be a McCainiac to join.”—Emily Bailin

GET IT RIGHT! Hip-Hop Republicans meet monthly at the AQ Caf (Scandinavia House, 58 Park Ave between 37th and 38th Sts). Check hiphoprepublican.com for info.

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