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Unformatted text preview: uperstar P Diddy,
who plays a complex role in MTV’s campaign coverage. At times he is the object of the
coverage, primarily for his get-out-the-vote advocacy. He also functions as a reporter at
the party conventions and hosts the program Hip Hop Politics , which tries to encourage
members of the broadly defined hip-hop community to become active in the political
sphere. The program tries to draw linkages between national politics and everyday life
in rural and inner-city poverty, intercutting on-location segments with young, poor
African-Americans with commentary from Diddy and a number of activists, including
rapper Chuck D, business mogul Russell Simmons, and professor Cornell West. Downloaded By: [Ohio State University Libraries] At: 01:44 26 September 2007 JOURNALISTIC AUTHORITY ON MTV Like all of MTV’s reporters, Diddy positions himself as representative of his audience.
At the Democratic convention, he tells Hillary Clinton that ‘‘I am here representing the
young people of America.’’ He continually speaks of ‘‘we’’ * ‘‘we’re a lifestyle, a culture, a
community,’’ he says in Hip Hop Politics * referring specifically to hip-hop, but more
symbolically to poor, African-American youth. At the Democratic convention, he takes to
the streets, discussing politics with the patrons of a barber shop in Boston. Both ‘‘the
streets’’ and the ‘‘barber shop’’ serve as iconic settings for the construction of AfricanAmerican identity. Likewise, Hip Hop Politics opens with Diddy driving in a convertible
through Harlem. As he yells greetings to people along the streets, he says to the camera,
‘‘you can’t never escape where you’re from, I’ll always be a part of this community. That’s
what makes me me.’’
At the same time, Diddy stresses his sociocultural privilege, reminding his viewers of
all ‘‘the cars, the money, the jewelry, the clothing sales, the record sales’’ he has amassed.
When he decides he wants to know what politicians are willing to do for ‘‘our
communities,’’ he says, ‘‘you k...
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