I’ve long had a jones for the rapper Mos Def, whom I met years ago when I was an entertainment reporter for the Daily News. Back then, Mos, along with his partner-in-rhyme Talib Kweli, had invited me to read from my first book, The Sistahs’ Rules, at their bookstore, a well-respected establishment the two had purchased from its longtime owners. The rapping duo, who at the time was known as BlackStar, later turned that bookstore into a community center of sorts, where local kids could go and read, write and recite poetry, bond and just be. I thought that was dope, and it said a lot about Mos and Talib’s consciousness and heart for African American children.
Of course, Mos has gone on to find fame outside of the Hip Hop arena; he’s a well-respected actor who’s been nominated for an Emmy and a Golden Globe for his work in the critically-acclaimed HBO film, Something The Lord Made (a fab, kid-friendly movie you should add to the Netflix queue), and starred in other heavyweight flicks like Monster’s Ball, The Italian Job, 16 Blocks, and Lackawanna Blues. And of late, he’s shown off his comedic timing with his star turns on The Chapelle Show and The Boondocks.
But beyond his talent as a rapper, an actor, and a humorist, Mos Def is quite political and extremely outspoken. A friend of mine hipped me to this Mos Def video from the hip online social consortium GOOD, in which the rapper talks about what he’d do if he were president. It’s funny as hell, but Mos Def’s presidential promises also reveal that he, a father, is passionate about the issues that all of us parents think and care about: healthcare, education, mentoring, high taxes, jobs, acknowledgment of black history, and living an authentic, good life. Go ahead and push play, have a good laugh, and give a nod to Mos Def for giving a damn. Mos Def for president! (Er, um, after Barack and Michelle, of course!)