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'Renegade' Advice for Obama

In his early 1980s dancefloor hit "Renegades of Funk," hip-hop legend Afrika Bambaataa said men such as Chief Sitting Bull and Martin Luther King, Jr., were renegades -- or, as he put it, “people with their own philosophy; they change the course of history.”


Afrika Bambaataa. (Courtesy photo.)

So does Bambaataa, who will deejay at the Funk 4 Peace Inaugural Ball on Jan. 20 at Modern on M Street in the District, put President-elect Barack Obama -- whose Secret Service code name is "Renegade" -- in that category?

We asked him that and other questions in a recent interview.

Inauguration Watch: Do you think of Obama as a "renegade of funk"?

Afrika Bambaataa: Obama is definitely an intelligent man in the way he pushed forward into getting elected. We hope we see some kind of change. Like I told many people before, the change is in the people. You can’t wait for politicians to do something. These are serious times that we live in now.

IW: You said the change depends on the people, but do you think Obama can help facilitate that?

AB: The people are who he came to. You can see that by how so many came out to vote. All around the world people are sick and tired of all the politics around the planet.

A lot of people are starting to get back in tune with the planet. It’s time for us to catch up to the Jetson age. We got to get ready for the future age. The cause is now to be more in tune with our planet and universe, our solar system. It’s time for the solar movement.


IW: What about his secret service name, "Renegade"? There’s been some talk on blog forums comparing him to you because of the name. What do you think of that?

AB: It’s good. I mean, he definitely came into the politics game and wasn’t following big rules and regulations. It’s the same way people got excited when Clinton played the saxophone. People look at that as renegade. And when people like Guns & Roses swore on the television. People saw them as renegades and bought their albums.

The real renegades are waiting to see what he will do. He has to be a people president. For the people, by the people, for the planet and the universe.

IW:Do you consider yourself politically active? What does being politically active mean to you?

AB: Being involved with politics 24/7. Even while you’re sleeping, you’re thinking politics and trying not to be with "politricks."

IW:What’s politricks?

AB: Politricks is when somebody tells you something and makes you believe or see something that’s factual or truth, but behind there’s nothing there.

IW: How can Obama avoid politricks?

AB: Mostly by being true to the people, by revealing when something is wrong and being straight up with it and not faking the funk.

I respect Obama, but I’m a supporter of what is right and what is right is being respectful of factology and respectful of our universe.

IW:Anything else you wanted to add?

AB:Just peace and blessings to all people. The people really hope he’s going to bring change. They see a difference from the whole line of different presidents. Now you have an African-American president, and they hope that something will come of this.

-- Brittany Levine, washingtonpost.com

By Washington Post Editors  |  January 12, 2009; 11:58 AM ET  | Category:  Celebrities , Entertainment
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