BlogIn the LoopNews

11 Days of Christmas: Athens Hip Hop Gets Political

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

Mokah Jasmine Johnson talks with ACCPD Capt. Mark Magnuson during a Black Lives Matter rally in July.

As the Flagpole staff takes a much-needed break over the holidays, we’re reposting 11 of our most popular, most important, funniest and/or otherwise noteworthy stories of this most dismal of years. Look for a new post each day through Jan. 2.

A new voice emerged in local politics in 2016—a year when blue-on-black violence continued to roil the nation. Hip-hop promoters Mokah Jasmine Johnson and her husband, Knowa, spoke up with a message of peace and harmony in a city that too often ignores its racial fault lines.

And they brought the Athens scene with them. Artists ranging from elder statesman Ishues to Versatyle tha Wildchyld to upstarts Squalle and Yung’N Restless have been following the Johnsons’ lead, speaking up on political issues both local and national.

Credit Athens-Clarke County Police Chief Scott Freeman, too, for building relationships of mutual respect with Athens’ minority communities. 

The work isn’t done, though. While the ACC Commission has banned bars from discriminating against people of color—the issue that first prompted the Johnsons to take action late last year—activists are still agitating for a local civil rights commission.