Hip Hop Artists Tell Oil Corporations: Don’t Kill California’s Clean Energy Future

Artists from across California urge voters to reject Proposition 23 and 26

By C. C. Song, The Greenlining Institute

The artists at Beatrock Music didn’t become musicians only because they love music—they also believe in hip hop’s power to inspire and motivate young people and people in their own communities.

That’s why they all came together and made the “No on Prop 23” song when Valero and Tesoro bankrolled Proposition 23, the Dirty Energy Proposition, onto the November ballot.  The artists—producer Gammaray, emcees Braelan B, Otayo Dubb, T-Know from The CounterParts, Nomi from Power Struggle, Somos One from BRWN BFLO, and Damn Pete from Think Tank—wanted to produce a song that would be catchy, and would poke through the lies of the “California Jobs Initiative.”“Prop 23 will kill our clean-energy future.  Not only will oil greed continue to pollute our environment, it will also kill the half a million jobs created by the renewable energy economy that our communities so badly need,” T-Know said.  A native of Wilmington, home to many refineries, T-Know was also a beneficiary of the East Los Angeles College’s green curriculum.

“The green economy is a very personal issue for me.  Having grown up in Wilmington, I’m used to the smoke, the pollution, and diseases caused by pollution.  I’ve been frustrated my whole life about what I can do, so that my neighbors can stop dying from cancer,” he said.  “Now I’ve found the answer.  The LA Harbor Region needs green jobs.  Now the oil companies are going to take them from us?  No way!”

The song aims at inspiring communities of color, who have often been undermined by political campaigns, and don’t always receive adequate voter education to make informed choices.  In the past, voters of color have been misguided to support initiatives that hurt the interest of communities of color.

Braelan B said that he has been inspired by the great work that many organizations have done to raise awareness of Prop 23 in California’s diverse communities, as well as Prop 26, another tricky initiative that would make it nearly impossible to raise fees for polluters.  “While it’s been a tough fight I’ve never felt more inspired, and I hope more artists will join us and realize how much power we have in creating social change,” he said.

In his capacity as The Greenlining Institute’s Communications Director, Braelan B said he’s had the fortune to work with groups like Communities United Against Dirty Energy Proposition, The Clean Energy Tour, and the California Student Sustainability Coalition, who has been asking students to pledge to vote No on Prop 23 at http://powervote.ca/.

The song has been picked up by Mother Nature Network’s Siel Ju, one of the nation’s premier green bloggers, who said “No on Prop 23” is “pretty catchy — especially for a song that deals with cancer and asthma!” The song has also been featured in The San Francisco Chronicle’s SF Gate, San Francisco Bay Guardian and LA Public Media’s LA Forward Blog.

Braelan B, a resident of Oakland, said that this election is particularly important for low income communities.  “We’ve got two tricky ballot initiatives, Prop 23 funded by Valero and Tesoro, and Prop 26 funded by my neighbor Chevron, and if these two pass, California’s clean energy future will be destroyed.  We have to send corporations and special interest groups a strong message, that California is not for sale, and hopefully in some small way our music has helped to amplify this message.”

C.C. Song is Green Assets Fellow at The Greenlining Institute, www.greenlining.org.

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3 responses

  1. PROP 26 is just as destructive as PROP 23. Prop 26 is a treacherous Big Oil rip-off, which “passes the buck” from oil corporation, clean-up fees to the taxpayer, who will pay the oil recycling fees, the materials hazards fees and other fees. If you do not understand the ambiguities and the intrigues behind Prop 26, then, vote no. BP, Shell and Exxon Mobil are silent partners behind Prop 26. Power to the people.

  2. The key thing to keep in mind is that, according to CARB, AB 32 will do NOTHING to help global warming, will cost jobs and have a negative effect on the economy. This comes from the very people who drew it up!

    AB 32 does nothing for local pollution.

    Prop 23 leaves us with the toughest pollution laws in the country, among the toughest in the world. It will NOT increase local pollution

    If Proposition 23 is rejected, here is what will happen according to expert sources:

    •A 60 percent increase in your electricity bill according to the Southern California Public Power Authority.

    •An 8 percent increase in your natural gas bill according to CARB’s economic analysis.

    •$50,000 more for the price of a new home according to an analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

    •$3.7 billion a year more for gasoline and diesel according to Sierra Research.

    •A $1,000-$3,000 additional cost for a new car according to CARB and automaker studies.

    On top of all that, a study conducted for the California Small Business Roundtable found that AB 32 regulations would cost small business alone nearly $200 billion, and would result in more than 1 million lost jobs.

    The more I learn about AB 32, the more I fear it. It just gets worse. Please vote yes on Prop23.

    “”2 Guys on the Bay Area Transportation Board told the CARB people, “If you try to do what you are going to do(AB 32) we’ll have gas at $9.07 a gallon and we have freeway tolls at up to $4,500 a year to drive during rush hour.”

    “Part of the plan is to stop suburban development, get people to stop driving, make driving too expensive for people to live out there, force them to live in high-rises, condos, in the city.”

    For months, John and Ken have made Prop 23 their top priority, calling it a necessary step to stop a law they say will kill jobs and cost Californians a fortune in higher gas and energy prices. With an estimated one million listeners per week, these two guys usually manage to rally enough votes to get their way.

    The video has John and Ken explaining why they think this bill is the most important measure on the ballot.


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