Monday, April 30, 2007
We Got This

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posted by Zentronix @ 8:03 AM   1 comments links to this post

They Don't

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Thursday, April 26, 2007
Going Home To New Orleans? :: Housing and Public Policy

We want the real rebirth!
Poster of Philip Frazier by Terance Osborne

As thousands of tourists head to New Orleans for the opening of JazzFest today, featuring performances everyone from Eddie Bo to Norah Jones to the Rebirth Brass Band, plus the bittersweet return of the Hot 8, it's important to remember that thousands of families still cannot return home.

Poor, pre-flood New Orleans residents are confronting a massive housing crisis in the as-yet unrebuilt city and the proposed destruction of public housing. At the same time, legislation now pending in Senate that might help solve the problem is being blocked by local politicians and development interests.

Tram Nguyen's forthcoming ColorLines cover story, "A Game of Monopoly", featured here in an exclusive sneak-peak, brings the stakes home in an emotional way:

About 4,000 of the 5,146 families who lived in New Orleans public housing remain displaced. As bureaucrats, politicians, developers and lawyers fight over the city’s redevelopment plans for low-income housing, these buildings remain closed, and residents have been told they’d have to wait for another three or five more years to return home. In all likelihood, without a drastic change of power and planning, many will never be able to come back and live in their city.

So as the Jazzfest celebration continues into next week, we ask that you please take a moment out to add your voice to the multitudes who are supporting HR 1227-the Gulf Coast Hurricane Housing Recovery Act of 2007. Props to and ColorLines for focusing on this important issue.

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posted by Zentronix @ 10:07 AM   0 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Quote of the Millennium
"The American people are capable of determining their own ideals for heroes, and they don't need to be told elaborate lies."
-Pfc. Jessica Lynch testifying in Congress yesterday alongside the family of Pat Tillman


posted by Zentronix @ 8:15 AM   1 comments links to this post

Me on Chuck Brown's Great New Album

Chuck baby don't give a f---!

Here ya go. It's a great record yall.

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posted by Zentronix @ 8:07 AM   0 comments links to this post

Who gets to use the N word? :: Mark Anthony Neal on Jabari Asim
Yet another great piece today from our man Mark Anthony Neal here in Salon interviewing Jabari Asim about his new book, The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't, and Why::

Mark: Were you conflicted at all when the conversation inevitably had to go to hip-hop? I mean, I imagine that there were all kinds of pressures around you as you turned in the manuscript to make it sexier, and sexier at this moment includes an indictment of hip-hop. But you dealt with hip-hop as it presented itself in a logical way. I thought it was interesting that you could take a so-called conscious rapper like Mos Def and so-called gangsta rappers like N.W.A. and acknowledge that there was a very real consciousness, especially in the case of N.W.A., behind how they employed the N-word.

Jabari: I didn't set out to do that. I've never had strong emotions about hip-hop, one way or the other. I've never been a hip-hop head, though members of my generation are. I never felt that it spoke to me in particular or told my story. I thought that quite a bit of the criticism of hip-hop -- and I say this as an outsider and a resolute non-expert -- is superficial, in that it comes from people who perhaps have never sat down to listen to a hip-hop recording. Criticism, if it's gonna serve any constructive purpose, must be deeply informed. So I had to listen to all that N.W.A. and I had to read those lyrics. And so as I listened to it. There were songs that confirmed what I had heard about these guys -- this is some awful stuff. And then there were other songs that seem to meet all the criteria. My hastily assembled yardstick for the use of the N-word is that I think art is sacred and you just don't respond to it the way you respond to other things. Secondly, if the use of the N-word advances our understanding of the culture in some way, then to me it is valid. N.W.A.'s lyrics easily meet that criteria. People talk about hip-hop spreading the N-word through the culture, but I take pains to point out that popular culture has always spread the N-word. There is serious precedent -- in the 1920s and 1930s, you went into a white middle-class home and the N-word was everywhere. It was on the shelves, it was in the cookbooks, the sheet music on the piano, the toys children played with. Let's not talk about hip-hop introducing this word in some new and unprecedented fashion. The only difference is that hip-hop exists during a period of high technology and spreads these things a lot faster. But let's not pretend that hip-hop has somehow confused white people regarding the use of the word. I think that's a very disingenuous argument.

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posted by Zentronix @ 7:26 AM   0 comments links to this post

K Sanneh on Hip-Hop Outrage
K does what he does--provides a smart metanarrative on the hip-hop debate:

You can scoff at Mr. Simmons’s modest proposal, but at the very least, he deserves credit for advancing a workable one, and for endorsing the kind of soft censorship that many of hip-hop’s detractors are too squeamish to mention. Consumers have learned to live with all sorts of semi-voluntary censorship, including the film rating system, the F.C.C.’s regulation of broadcast media and the self-regulation of basic cable networks. Hip-hop fans, in particular, have come to expect that many of their favorite songs will reach radio in expurgated form with curses, epithets, drug references and mentions of violence deleted. Those major corporations that Mr. Cooper mentioned aren’t very good at promoting so-called positivity or wholesome community-mindedness. But give them some words to snip and they’ll diligently (if grudgingly) snip away...

The strangest thing about the last few weeks was the fact that hardly any current hip-hop artists were discussed. (All these years later, we’re still talking about Snoop Dogg?) Maybe that’s because hip-hop isn’t in an especially filthy mood right now. It sounds more light-hearted and clean-cut than it has in years. Hip-hop radio is full of cheerful dance tracks like Huey’s “Pop, Lock & Drop It,” Crime Mob’s “Rock Yo Hips,” Mims’s “This Is Why I’m Hot” and Swizz Beatz’s “It’s Me, Snitches.” (The title and song were censored to exclude one of the three inflammatory words — proof that this snipping business can be tricky.)

On BET’s “106 & Park,” one of hip-hop’s definitive television shows, you can watch a fresh-faced audience applaud these songs, cheered on by relentlessly positive hosts. For all the panicky talk about hip-hop lyrics, the current situation suggests a scarier possibility, both for hip-hop’s fans and its detractors. What if hip-hop’s lyrics shifted from tough talk and crude jokes to playful club exhortations — and it didn’t much matter? What if the controversial lyrics quieted down, but the problems didn’t? What if hip-hop didn’t matter that much, after all?

The last time this debate raged, a lot of angry politicized rappers lost their contracts.

This time, K seems to suggest, it may be the Stop Snitching crew. Will we only be left with the MCs that want to keep the party live? Are we headed for more mindlessness? Or just back to hip-hop's real roots?

A great, thoughtful piece.

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posted by Zentronix @ 7:04 AM   0 comments links to this post

Dave Marsh on Imus and Whiteness
Dave Marsh gets real with Imus, whiteness, and hypocrisy::

Every day, that show was based in explicit racism--every single day. This is, in fact, certain people’s truth about race. It’s Bernard McGuirk’s truth about race. It’s Don Imus’ truth about race.

So how do you put the lid back on once this truth gets shown? You put the lid back on by getting rid of the guy who took the lid off. And then, you go for a scapegoat--and you say that this is just as bad as that.

And the thing that was sitting there, waiting for it to happen, was hip-hop. Because, first, hip-hoppers speak Black vernacular language--they talk the way people talk in their community. And second, hip-hop is made by people who don’t have the education in what you don’t say. They say it. And because they get a lot of attention when they say “bitch” and “ho,” they say it more.

Now, I don’t think I’ve ever met a hip-hopper who, one, didn’t go to church--maybe Ice T doesn’t--and two, didn’t love their mom. You wouldn’t want to be in the same room with them, and call any woman who had the loosest connection to them a “bitch” or a “whore.” Because doing that, then it’s real. Otherwise, there’s this unreality to it.

So this is yet another way that the people who make hip-hop are vulnerable. Young Black men are six times more likely to go to prison then their percentage in the population, and approximately 600 times more likely to be censored.

And now, you have the transferal of the discussion away from the fact that many of the most powerful people in America had been on that show--up to and including the most powerful, Dick Cheney. In fact, three Republican presidential candidates--John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Rudoph Giuliani--all defended Imus, until it became very apparent that the worm had turned, and that Imus was, on that day, where Alberto Gonzales is today.

Plus, this whole argument gives them cover on another issue. They can act like they’re the ones who are anti-corporate, and that the whole of rap has become this “bitch-ho” music because Jimmy Iovine wanted it that way, and Universal and the other media companies want it.

If any of you saw Fox News's John Gibson yesterday sitting in front of Davey D and Chuck Creekmur from acting like he'd invented all of the anger against hip-hop's language, then you're definitely feeling Dave Marsh as much as I am. (And he likes Can't Stop Won't Stop, which I think is also a nice thing.)

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posted by Zentronix @ 7:00 AM   2 comments links to this post

Tuesday, April 24, 2007
On The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network's Language Ban
Here's that promised piece from Davey D I mentioned the other day. It provides the deep context for the editorial by Dave Zirin and I that ran in the LA Times yesterday, and it's coming from one of the people who has been at the forefront of this hip-hop media justice movement for two decades.

I should also mention that there is a quote of me apparently going off on the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network's "recommendation" for a voluntary industry ban on the N-word, the B-word, and the H-word, a "Coalition on Broadcast Standards", and artist mentoring, and in today's AM New York.

This quote was taken out of context by the reporter. Last week, reporter asked me how I felt generally about the reaction of activists like the Rev. Al Sharpton. He was not asking specifically about the ban which, when he interviewed me, had not yet been announced. Folks, that's called shitty reporting.

For the record, my position is simple: radio and TV already have banned these words, so the statement--a "recommendation" for "voluntary action"--does nothing new. There are no real incentives in this for the industry to bring more balance to the airwaves.

As for all this top-down stuff, it will always be too little too late unless hip-hop generation activists who have been working hard on the issues and have the community's interest at heart are brought into the discussion. Otherwise, it is posturing and grandstanding.

Extra stuff:

* Here's what Bakari Kitwana and Joan Morgan think.

* Lastly, Davey and Chuck Creekmur from will be part of a roundtable panel on Fox News with John Gibson this afternoon at 5pm est/2pm pst to talk this stuff. Tune in.

Finally, I don't agree with everything in Davey's piece, and he does call out a lot of close friends of mine, some of whom I'm very inclined to defend. But I also know, having known Davey for two decades now that this piece is probably the realest he's been in a long time with himself and with his audience.

Read it and debate it in the context of the major soul-searching we all are doing now.

This Gangsta Stuff & Russell's Call For Change
by Davey D

I've read the recent criticisms launched at Russell Simmons and the assertions that his current position of wanting to ban the use of certain words on records is "self-serving." Of course it is. Anything Russell does is gonna be self-serving. What did we expect? Wasn't that the plan? Weren't we supposed to create an economic, political or social situation where he would see it in his best interest to change up?

He has business interests to protect -- and the social and political climate has rightly changed now, with calls for balance growing substantially louder. Russell's business is being impacted by people who are tired of the mass marketing of the mainstream minstrelsy that we see all day, every day.

Certainly no one seriously expected Russell or Ben Chavis to come up to Harlem to watch a screening of Turn Off Channel Zero. Why would we? And let's be honest...did we really want them there? I think one of the things we overlook is the role that we played in getting these issues as much attention as they've gotten. We are the ones who changed the current climate with our collective efforts.

The fact that so many people are fed up is the result of the Turn off the Radio tribunal longtime radio vet Bob Law had up at the church on 126th street in NYC several years ago.

The climate was also changed as a result of the Hot 97 campaign, which was quite successful in New York. We not only made them lose money, but we blemished people's records as well, and even got several people dismissed as that station saw its ratings drop. They went from number 1 to number 8 in their market, which, in the radio industry, is major. Sure there were other factors at hand, but we certainly played a big part in initiating change there.

The climate change that we're seeing is also the result of the KMEL People's Station campaign put together by Tony Coleman of Minds Eye Collective and Malkia Cyrill of Youth media Council in San Francisco after I got bounced from working there. That was a successful campaign that forced KMEL to start playing local music and even offer me my job back (which I turned down).

We're seeing the change in climate now as result of Black Out Fridays in Detroit too. There we had intense lobbying efforts by Industry Ears to the FCC, Attorneys General, and Congress about the continued abuses of our airwaves. The new focus on balance is the result of people like Chuck D, dead prez, Immortal Technique and so many others...voices who railed against fucked-up media in public spaces in places. It's also the result of films like Turn Off Channel Zero and Hip Hop Beyond Beats and
Rhymes, and of the Zulu Nation's Bring Back The Balance campaign.

This climate is the result of us starting our own media outlets like The Block Report, Freemix Radio, Soul Patrol, Harrambe, Radio, Breakdown FM and others. I could go on and on...

These changes, both large and small, are due to us pushing and pushing -- and agitating and demanding better scenarios for our collective community. Russell's proposal to change lyrics is but a small victory...he wouldn't have done this a year ago. We now need to take credit and push even harder for substantial change both within and outside of the industry.

Having been deeply involved with the first wave of content battles back in '88 when we led the NWA boycott, I clearly recall how the community argued ferociously against our effort. We did two weeks worth of radio shows getting community input back then, and I remember how many well-meaning Black folks who considered themselves conscious and revolutionary told us we were straight-up wrong. Maybe I'll post those landmark radio shows at some point -- shows which which included me, the guys from Digital Underground, Beni B of ABB records and all the Black college deejays from the Bay at that time. Now that time has passed people have a very different stance, but that big debate back then lead to the formation of the Bay Area Hip Hop Coalition.

The debates we had were fierce. Many felt we should never glamorize disrespectful language, while others felt like NWA and Luke were somehow revolutionary. Hell, I even have a tape of KRS coming on our show praising the rough use of language by those guys -- he felt like it was good thing at the time.

There were many who felt that the stories by NWA needed to be heard and that they were indeed a reflection of us. I recall people throwing their fist in the air saying "fuck what white people think, this is our music" and "we gonna use the N-word all day long." People felt like keeping it 'hood was important. We were coming off the tail end of people criticizing Bill Cosby for not showing his Brooklyn neighborhood as a rough and rugged ghetto. Even Spike Lee caught heat for having a 'too clean' Brooklyn 'hood when he showed Do the Right Thing.

I recall white writers like Dan Charnas of The Source getting props and blessings from revolutionary types when he praised Ice Cube for reflecting anger in the 'hood when he called women bitches. In fact, I even remember Harry Allen almost coming to blows with this cat because he took such a strident stance and had revolutionary types 'supporting his efforts.' If you think I'm lying go back and look at the arguments that were raised at that time around this subject matter.

Part of the praise placed upon NWA and gangsta rap was this was Hip Hop way of 'keeping it real' (that's when that phrase started to get popularized). Hip Hop has always been about being honest and true to the subject matter at hand -- but soon that definition got narrowed down to Hip Hop supposedly keeping it 'true to the streets.'

Complicating this issue further was the fact that West Coast rap prior to NWA often wasn't even considered Hip Hop by our east coast brethren. I have all those early New Music Seminar tapes with Egyptian Lover and Rodney O complaining about being clowned when they came to the Big Apple because their music was considered too soft.

I also remember groups like The LA Dream Team, Sir Mix-a-Lot and numerous others being dissed. Paradise even talks about the time when Hammer came up to the Latin Quarters by himself to do his song "Ring 'Em," which was big hit in the hoods out here in Cali, but was clowned in NY.

NWA, with its booming beats and harsh lyrics, put LA and the west on the map and got Cali some acceptance. This was a big incentive for folks out here to overlook their own morals and common sense and get behind those gangsta groups that knocked the doors down. Personally, despite doing some of NWA's first interviews, I felt uncomfortable calling what they did revolutionary because I recall both Cube and Eazy telling me they were cursing up a storm as a way to initially be funny and that they enjoyed seeing the shocked look on people's faces. They weren't doing it because they really felt that way (as many like to romanticize). Look at some of the old articles on them and you'll see them admitting to that.

This was a big point of contention, and was also the beginning of how shit started to get co-opted. When we did the boycotts, they were the result of community approval, involvement and support. The boycotts were effective and lasted for a year, and we did follow up interviews with NWA about them.

During one landmark interview, Cube spoke passionately about his desire to change and be more political, and even talked about the internal debates he and his group were having about being responsible. It wasn't that long after that that he left the group, and much of what he talked about soon surfaced on his Amerikkka's Most Wanted album.

Ironically the NWA boycott was broken by white deejays who felt like the group's material, and material like it, should be heard, and that NWA was somehow more authentic and real then groups like X-Clan and Public Enemy.

This assessment not only played itself out on college radio, but it was replicated on commercial radio as well -- and I personally saw our playlist switch up almost overnight from playing PE, X-Clan and Paris to gangsta rap.

Again, non-black deejays like Theo Mizuhara lead the charge in pushing gangsta material over the positive. This attitude was also embraced by several high profile black writers like Cheo Choker, James Bernard and later Toure -- who once bragged to me via email that he "killed the career of Public Enemy" by writing a widely read negative review of their album

In hindsight, we can see (and hopefully understand) that it was probably a mistake for us to not have been more involved in demanding what we knew to be right at the time, and we soon began to see people cash on the love that those outside of our communities were showing for gangsta rap. In 2007, we are seeing the end results.

The fact that we helped create a climate to start to turn things around is a good thing. If it manifests itself in stations saying they wanna change up then that's great. If it means it will help get more people excited about doing a different type of rap highlighting different subject matter then I'm all for it.

If it means Russell (who for the past few years has said he would never try and tell an artist to change his or her lyrics) is now calling for an end to hateful and derogatory words in commercially-released material, I say that's good thing. We should push harder and encourage more to follow suit.

What's the next step? That's our collective challenge.

Now that we have people ready to push for better music, how do we intend to distribute? Keep in mind that while we were arguing about Russell being a culture vulture, the RIAA and US Copyright Law flipped the script and developed a new type of payola which effectively has wiped out Internet radio and any other digital distribution streams.

They got the US Copyright office to raise rates by 1200% and to have it apply retroactively starting on May 15th. Appeals to this ruling have been denied, which means that most small internet broadcasters and streaming will stop by the end of May because cats are gonna be bankrupt. The big players like AOL radio, Yahoo and Microsoft will be around, but not the rest. So how are we gonna get all this good alternative music across?

If you think you can get around it by using independent artists, think again. Because of fear of lawsuits, most internet providers are gearing up to protect themselves from lawsuits. They won't want to take the chance of one of us putting out RIAA-owned material, so they will take precautions and limit the ability to pass the good music along.

While many small broadcasters like us (who saw the internet as a saving grace) will now find themselves in serious legal and financial jeapordy, the big time radio stations are cutting side deals with the major labels so they don't have to pay the high royalty rates -- in exchange for normal airplay.

This is why some of us -- like me, Paul Porter, and Lisa Fager from Industry Ears -- were harping on this payola stuff so much. Now the shit is about to come back and haunt us big time. That's a serious battle that we will have to undertake. For those who have concerns about censorship, this change in copyright law is where we have the real battle.

Peace out for now,

Davey D

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posted by Zentronix @ 9:39 AM   3 comments links to this post

Lifesavas Out Today!

Hey fam, this is a must-cop from my Portland homies the Lifesavas, out today.


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posted by Zentronix @ 9:10 AM   1 comments links to this post

Your Life's A Cartoon

Keith Knight, the legendary Morrie Turner, Aaron McGruder, and your boy.

We all got down last week at the JCC-SF. Big big love for the photos to Mikhaela Reid and Masheka Wood. Hope you got your phone back OK!

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posted by Zentronix @ 9:06 AM   0 comments links to this post

Monday, April 23, 2007
RIP David Halberstam

D-Hal Doing What He Did

This morning, while browsing through Moe's, I finally got myself a copy of that classic baseball book Summer of '49, about the famous pennant run involving Dimaggio vs. Williams. I had missed David Halberstam's visit to Cal this past weekend when I was giving a talk up at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle.

But his epic nonfiction books, works of patient reporting and rich detail like The Best and the Brightest (a book that both described the Vietnam War and, in its small way, also helped end it) and The Children (about the young Black activists of the Civil Rights movement), have been an inspiration for a self-taught journalist like me.

Halberstam always wrote plainly about topics large and small. He was less a stylist than a storyteller of breadth and depth. When I found out I shared his birthday, I was even more determined that I would somehow find the time to catch up on his work, especially The Powers That Be, about the rise of modern print media, Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made, and the recent War in a Time of Peace: Bush, Clinton, and the Generals.

So it was with great sadness that I learned he passed away this same morning, in a car crash in Menlo Park.

He leaves behind a huge body of work, and this great journalistic advice:

I have what I call the backup catcher theory. Most other people doing a book want the top guy. My belief is, you probably learn more from the backup catcher on a baseball team than from the star. Because the backup catcher's smart: He watches the game, he's into the game, he always has to be ready, and when it's all over, 20 years later, he has a lot of time to talk because not a lot of people come to see him. When I did 'Summer of '49,' about Williams and DiMaggio on those two great teams, the Red Sox and the Yankees, no one was more fun to talk to than a guy named Matt Batts, a former Red Sox catcher down in Baton Rouge, La. He had nothing but great anecdotes.

Enjoy all the backup catchers in heaven.

UPDATE 4/25:: Halberstam on surviving as a journalist

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posted by Zentronix @ 9:13 PM   2 comments links to this post

Don't Scapegoat Hip-Hop :: LA Times Editorial with Dave Zirin
Dave Zirin and I teamed up to get this editorial into today's Los Angeles Times:

No Scapegoats: The Other Side of Hip-hop
By Jeff Chang and Dave Zirin

April 23, 2007

MUCH OF THE criticism of commercial rap music - that it's homophobic and sexist and celebrates violence - is well-founded. But most of the carping we've heard against hip-hop in the wake of the Don Imus affair is more scapegoating than serious.

Who is being challenged here? It's not the media oligarchs, which twist an art form into an orgy of materialism, violence and misogyny by spending millions to sign a few artists willing to spout cartoon violence on
command. Rather, it's a small number of black artists - Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and 50 Cent, to name some - who are paid large amounts to perpetuate some of America's oldest racial and sexual stereotypes.

But none of the critics who accuse hip-hop of single-handedly coarsening the culture think to speak with members of the hip-hop generation, who are supposedly both targets and victims of the rap culture. They might be surprised at what this generation is saying.

In his recent PBS documentary "Beyond Beats and Rhymes," filmmaker Byron Hurt made clear that rap music can be as sexist and homophobic as it can be positive and enlightening. Marginalized young women and men have found their voices in hip-hop arts, gathering to share culture at b-girl conventions around the world or reading for each other in after-school
poetry classes. Hurt's film pointed the finger where it needs to be pointed - at American popular culture, which has trafficked in racist and sexist images and language for centuries and provides all sorts of incentives for young men of color to act out a hard-core masculinity.

If all the overnight anti-hip-hop crusaders really cared about the generation they want to save, they would support the growing Media Justice movement led by hip-hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa and such outspoken women activists as Malkia Cyril and Rosa Clemente. The group contends that such media powers as Emmis Communications and Clear Channel have corrupted hip-hop radio.

The critics would engage young public intellectuals like Joan Morgan ("When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost"), Gwendolyn D. Pough ("Check It While I Wreck It") and Mark Anthony Neal ("That's the Joint!: The Hip-Hop Studies Reader")*, who are defining what they call a new hip-hop feminism.

The gap between the programming on Viacom's MTV and BET and young people's interests seems never to have been bigger. According to the Black Youth Project, a University of Chicago study released in January, the overwhelming majority of young people, especially blacks, believe rap videos portray black women negatively. That's one reason rap music sales declined 20% last year and remain down 16% this year.

Yet sales are a poor indicator of what is really happening in hip-hop.

Local hip-hop scenes are thriving. Great art is being made not just in music but in visual arts, film, theater, dance and poetry. It can be seen in the works of Sarah Jones, Nadine Robinson, Rennie Harris, Kehinde Wiley and Danny Hoch. Hip-hop studies is a rapidly growing and popular field at colleges and universities, with more than 300 classes offered. In hip-hop after-school programs, voter registration groups, feminist gatherings and public forums, the future of hip-hop is under discussion. These hip-hop thinkers want to take the culture that unites many young people and channel it toward political engagement. In 2004, voter registration campaigns using hip-hop to target youth produced more than 2 million new voters under the age of 30.**

To confuse commercial rap made by a few artists with how hip-hop is actually lived by millions is to miss the good that hip-hop does. If hip-hop's critics paid attention to the hip-hop generation, they would learn that the discussion has already begun without them and that they might need to listen. Then a real intergenerational conversation could begin.

UPDATE :: Two additional notes I need to clarify:

* Mark's book on hip-hop and masculinity was somehow missed in the Times edit, and is called New Black Man. It's a very important book.

** There were more than 4 million new voters between the ages of 18 and 29, and more than half--the 2 million plus cited here--were Black and Latino, a demographic watershed that has gone completely ignored by mainstream media and most progressive media, for that matter. In any case, this fact somehow got mangled in the final edit. You can find more information on this here.

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posted by Zentronix @ 7:40 AM   7 comments links to this post

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
A Must-Hear :: Davey D Takes Out Rap Misogyny, John McWhorter, and Hip-Hop Haters
From this morning's broadcast of WNYC's Brian Lehrer Show, Davey D ethers rap misogyny, anti-hip-hop media pimp John McWhorter, and hip-hop haters.

Recognize: Long before Sharpton and Constance Rice and a whole long line of civil rights generation anti-hip-hop crusaders did, Davey D and Kevvy Kev launched the first nationwide rap boycott over issues of misogyny back in 1989, when they called for the Bay Area hip-hop community to decide whether or not they wanted to hear NWA. Over the course of two weeks, the people called in and voted to stop playing NWA. Both are Bronx men who grew up with the old school and moved to the Bay Area to become heroes for many of us.

At the same time this was being aired today, rap industry execs were having an emergency meeting behind closed doors to talk about how to handle the continuing blowback from the Imus incident. We can assume that the agenda included how to handle a growing beef with the Rev Al Sharpton and two panel discussions on Oprah's show that may have caused more damage than good.

Fam, there is no reason to think that much in the way of substance will be coming out of there.

The bottom line is that if the conversation on gender and hip-hop is going to go anywhere, we have to stop letting civil rights-gen mouthpieces act like the hip-hop generation doesn't have its own history and voices, and we have to stop letting media folks go to the old names when the real work has been happening with real people down here on the ground for decades.

Davey will be telling his full story on this episode on his myspace page and website soon, and I'll post that when it's ready.

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posted by Zentronix @ 4:55 PM   2 comments links to this post

Monday, April 16, 2007
Happy Birthday Kool Herc!

Go Herc, it's your birthday...

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posted by Zentronix @ 7:30 AM   4 comments links to this post

Getting Random

Sorry Yankees. We still own you.

Hip-hop journal Words Beats and Life is soliciting submissions for its new issue. The topic is timely: "It Ain't My Fault: Blame It On Hip-Hop". Download the call on that page link above. It's hard to find, but it's in the right corner.

For those of you who caught the New Orleans riff, come check us out this weekend in Seattle at the EMP and the University of Washington.

If you are in NYC this weekend, skip the Yankees game and go see Kwikstep & Rokafella's Full Circle Productions 10th Anniversary at PS 122. This is where, 16 years ago, Kwikstep and the Rhythm Technicians set off perhaps one of the most important events in the hip-hop arts movement ever, "So What Happens Now?" It is recognized now as the production that launched the hip-hop theater movement.

Busy week here in the Bay too. We have a Total Chaos event Tuesday night at the Yerba Buena Center and you can catch your boy interviewing Aaron McGruder on Thursday night at the Jewish Community Center. All the info is here.

posted by Zentronix @ 6:08 AM   2 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 15, 2007
Imus-ing Rap :: Capitalism, Race, Gender, and Speech
It wasn't 48 hours ago that Javier Reyes and I were being interviewed about hip-hop aesthetics and Imus on KALW, and the question came up as to whether the Imus thing had legs. Reyes laughed, "Are you kidding? Hip-hop is about to be on trial."

So our friend Ethan Brown points out today's NY Daily News headline: "Hil & Obama got help from foul musicians". Turns out that Timbaland, that notorious foul-mouthed rapper, and his fellow trash-purveyor, Ludacris, helped raise funds for Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.


Suddenly the Sunday morning armchair pundits had a new thing to talk about: whether rap made Don Imus say what he said, and whether rappers are really the ones to blame here.

Let's be real here. Rap didn't allow Don Imus to call the Rutgers womens basketball team "nappy headed hos": widespread acceptance of racism and sexism allowed this rich white man to do what he did.

Media, as usual, mostly doesn't want to deal with context. Imus's words were another act of silencing women of color. People would like to have you believe that words can float out there in the either, free of context. But words have history, words have meaning, and words can silence entire communities.

This is why, when Coach Stringer was asked to comment on Imus's insult, she provided a lengthy personal history. It was her way of saying: I'm a woman of color who has struggled against poverty, racism, and sexism, and I will not be silenced anymore. In all the tumult of this past week, all the voices that weighed in on this, the most important were the words of Coach Stringer and the woman of the Rutgers basketball team. But instead, the conversation was dominated by men, white and Black. Context lost again.


Another piece in the Daily News, by Jim Farber, pits Byron Hurt against Busdriver on the question of the H-word, taking both their quotes way out of context. (What, Joan Morgan and Jean Grae weren't available?)

This is not the conversation Byron--or any of us--wanted to have.

We want a conversation about race and gender and sexuality in the popular culture, one that can help transform it to make it look more like how we really are.

But what we get so often in the mainstream media is a flattening of differences and a discarding of context. Something that Busdriver says about how young Blacks use language is made equivalent to something that Byron says about how the pop culture encourages young Black male stars to flaunt their sexism.

Here's another example of how context and difference are routinely tossed out. One idea that many floated last week was that Imus ought to be shielded from criticism because "rappers say worse". If Imus and Snoop say the same thing, the thinking goes, why does Imus get hung?

This idea rested on a uniquely American notion (which we are busy exporting around the world): hey, we consume all this stuff, what's the difference?

Or, put another way: so many white men buy sexist rap by Black men--Black men like Timbaland and Ludacris have been made rich off this--that white men who mouth racist and sexist comments ought to be immunized from criticism.

It's like, we all live in a post-racist world and these are all just words floating in it. Weren't we all mad about Katrina together? Aren't we all fighting this War on Terror together?

But buying a rap record does not mean that you purchase innocence from America's racial history. Imus knows this. He certainly would not have used the N-word to describe the women. But it's OK if he uses the H-word? How you figure?


Because of a paradigm shift in the hip-hop community that has taken place from the grassroots up since 2001, hip-hop adherents have begun confronting the fact that rap's massive success has made us gender innocent and sexuality innocent. We have literally bought the idea that purchasing hip-hop has given us innocence from society's and our communities' histories of sexism and homophobia.

But hard work by people like Cathy Cohen, Joan Morgan, Elizabeth Mendez Berry, Gwendolyn Pough, Lisa Fager, Rosa Clemente, Kuttin Kandi, Afrika Bambaataa, Davey D, Mark Anthony Neal, Byron Hurt, Paul Porter, and thousands of others, from the academy to the newsrooms to the steps of Hot 97 has complicated this idea. Their work actually made it possible for the Imus issue to reach critical mass.

In the wake of the Imus episode, the conversation isn't continuing toward more serious considerations of race, gender, sexuality, and power. The mainstream media has shifted its attention to Ludacris and Timbaland and the Democratic presidential candidates.

The fact that wealthy Black men like Timbaland and Ludacris might actually leverage power with campaign donations to Democratic candidates has come under fire. The question has become: What are the Democratic candidates--one a woman, the other a Black man--getting for their money? This new post-Imus story isn't about power, gender, and race, it's about the sanctity of the transaction.

In America, the thing we want to believe above anything else is that our money is clean. We ought not to have any guilt when we go to the cash register. (And for that matter, when we throw things away. Capitalism eventually turns most things into trash.) Here is one explanation of why CBS and NBC dropped Imus so easily--their advertisers were telling them that they didn't feel right about transacting with a known racist.

This is the context in which Timbaland and Ludacris have been Imused. It's not likely that Luda's song about domestic violence and abuse "Runaway Love" will be getting much mention. It's time to do a counter-lynching for the memory of Imus.

Every once in a while, culture does an interesting thing. It shows potential ways that society may change. The Imus episode, which is what made it qualitatively different from the Mel Gibson or Michael Richards meltdowns, revealed all kinds of ways that power might actually shift in this country. It suggested, in fact, that power might shift towards women and people of color.

So the flattening of context and difference, these false equivalencies that the media has made--all of this taking our eyes off the real targets.

Instead, what matters is that "the 'ho' problem", as the NY Daily News woman writer puts it, continues. What matters is that everyone goes back to feeling OK about what we pay for and what we get for what we pay for.

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posted by Zentronix @ 12:00 PM   5 comments links to this post

42 :: More Than A Number

Thank you, Jackie Robinson.

posted by Zentronix @ 9:53 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 12, 2007
Hope I Die Before I Get Old?

30 is not the new 20. 40 is not the new 30. Yall should be so lucky.

OK, forgive me one last post about this whole aging thing and then I will write about it no more. Not until my next birthday.

One of the topics that came up at the Berkeley panel, and that I raised again last week at Duke is this: when generations speak to each other, what are we supposed to say?

At the 2004 National Hip-Hop Political Convention, it was clear that even after all these years and books and screaming matches and Congressional hearings, those of us who came of age in the 80s and 90s still hadn't figured out how to communicate with those of us who came of age in the 60s and 70s. Not barely close.

When I sat in the audience at Cal's Pauley Ballroom last week, I got a weird flashback. Two decades before, I had been a student listening to my heroes in the same room urging us to fight for UC divestment from South Africa and an Ethnic Studies requirement. I was a twenty-something listening to then-late thirty-, forty- and fifty-somethings talking about the unfinished struggles of the 60s and 70s they were hoping to marshal the energies of young folks to continue to fight.

It was a little disconcerting to see my peers up there, in the place of my Baby Boomer heroes, and have a sudden pimp-slap of self-recognition. Ouch.


Davey D raised a point about the lack of media for people of color in their mid-30s to mid-40s these days. It's a point I've made myself, but didn't realize the full implications of til he broke it down.

I'll explain it like this: you can be a fan of rock, and have a classic rock station if you came of age in the 60s or 70s, an "adult alternative" station if you came of age in the 80s, an "adult alternative contemporary" if you came of age in the 90s, and another if you're 20 right now. There's no similar continuity--never has been--if you're a fan of Black music. There's a station aimed at 20 year olds and a station aimed at 50+ year olds.

I know Davey talks from experience. He literally hit the age ceiling at the end of the 90s at Clear Channel. It's like: time's expired, you're in Logan's Run and you've just hit 30, baby. And just you wait, young'n, for you too will have your Logan's Run moment before too long.

(BTW that's why Jay-Z lied, yall, about 30 being the new 20. But now I understand where it comes from--he, just like all of us, wants to continue the conversation, and he's got something to say that, odds are, most people wouldn't hear if it weren't for all the money around him and that message.)

So where would one even begin to go if you wanted to hear a Chuck D or a Yo-Yo these days? If you wanted to hear a fortysomething and a twentysomething come together and talk like adults, like grown women and men, about what's good and what's next?

Joan answered the question at Duke: most likely, you'd have to go to a college. Tune in a college radio station, take a hip-hop studies course, check out a panel discussion at a university.

Now, in the past, this nostalgia would have come back as kitsch. (Anyone remember "The Last Dragon"? Of course not!) These days, seems like history is forgotten until it comes back as a Wax Poetics article or a musicblog entry. You ever wonder why hip-hop heads had to "rediscover" soul jazz during the 90s and why hip-hop heads have to "rediscover" Large Professor now?

The answer is a lot deeper than you think: It's just the way American culture works. Maybe the generation gap isn't just a development of getting older, maybe it's a product of the way things are set up around here.


So, back to Davey's point: what if one wanted to have a real intergenerational dialogue these days? Where would you do it?

The answer is that there is nowhere to do it. We gonna entertain the kids over here, and all the adults can gather over there and talk about how mad they are at the kids these days, what the kids don't know about what we've been through, what the kids don't appreciate about what we did, how spoiled are them kids, what is this racket they're listening to anyway.

So instead, the lack of intergenerational discussion pops up in different ways--in all these anti-intellectual conversations amongst young folks about how pompous all this hip-hop-in-the-university stuff is, in--haha--blog discussions about what old folks ought not to wear, in old folks angrily claiming 'hip-hop is dead'. Even ridiculous ways--bloggers saying they're proud never to have read a book about hip-hop, young folks wearing pastel polo shirts with the collars up (still a bad look, fellas), young folks who only buy cassette tapes from the 80s.

I say all this to say that if we were really to get real about changing things, we might recognize that we've been niched, penned, and branded by age. We're like cows sitting in our own filth cursing out the cows on the other side of the fence for their filthiness of their filth.


Alright. Back to life, back to reality.


posted by Zentronix @ 7:58 PM   11 comments links to this post

Dave Zirin on Don Imus
As the word "Imus" quickly moves from being a surname to being a synonym for "openly and stupidly racist" (sample usage: "Coulter and O'Reilly are Imuses..."), Dave Zirin's Edge of Sports comes with it so right, I'm reposting in full.

Take the events of the week, add the results of the Black Youth Project survey on culture and politics, and we have, as, Davey D said last week here in Berkeley, a change in the wind:

Memo to Imus: You're Fired

By Dave Zirin

In an absolutely mind bending turn of events, Don Imus is now a man without a job. A week after calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy headed hos," the man once hailed by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people in the country, is officially off the air. The final ax fell as CBS announced that they could no longer withstand the heat from both inside and outside their company. As CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said, "There has been much discussion of the effect language like this has on our young people, particularly young women of color trying to make their way in this society."

"Discussion" is an awfully antiseptic word what went down. Make no mistake: CBS's Moonves and the bigwigs at MSNBC, who Wednesday pulled the plug on Imus’'s TV show, were met with an upsurge inside their own ranks.

As Bob Herbert wrote in the New York Times, "Powerful statements were made during in-house meetings by women at NBC and MSNBC - about how black women are devalued in this country, how they are demeaned by white men and black men. White and black women spoke emotionally about the way black women are frequently trashed in the popular culture, especially in music, and about the way news outlets give far more attention to stories about white women in trouble. Phil Griffin, a senior vice president at NBC News who oversaw the Imus show for MSNBC, told me yesterday, 'It touched a huge nerve.'’"

As the days went on, the anti-Imus tide gave expression across the country to a pent up rage people feel about the way this kind of bigotry continually goes unchallenged.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed a majority black city, withers from neglect, and not a word is said. Women face a constant barrage of sexism in our "Girls Gone Wild" culture but if you challenge it, you’'re a humorless prig. Imus calls Arabs and Muslims "ragheads" and still had the John Kerrys, Tim Russerts, and Harold Fords as regular guests. This was a classic case of the tipping point, when people just said enough is enough.

But why did this comment, in a career of ugly statements, finally break the camel's back? I would argue the answer partly lies in how we are taught to understand sports. Remember that Rush Limbaugh felt the biggest backlash of his career when he said that the media over hyped Philadelphia Eagles football star Donovan McNabb because of their "social concern" to see a successful African American quarterback. After thousands of angry calls and emails Rush was bounced from ESPN.

Both Imus and Rush built careers on this kind of bile but when they cross-pollinated their bigotry with sports, a new level of anger exploded. We are relentlessly sold the idea that our games are safe space from this kind of political swill. We are also told that sports are a "field of dreams," a true meritocracy where hard work always meets rewards.

But when the playing field is shown to be unlevel, it stings.

This sporting reality can wake people up and reveal the hidden inequities in our society that otherwise go unnoticed. When a Rutgers team defies the odds and makes the NCAA finals, and gets called "nappy headed hos" for their trouble, it presses a very raw nerve.

But Imus is also without a job because Rutgers Coach Vivian Stringer and her team, unlike many of Imus's victims, refused to be silent. As captain
Essence Carson said, "We're happy -- we're glad to finally have the opportunity to stand up for what we know is right... We can speak up for women, not just African-American women, but all women."

Coach Stringer took it even further in her comments last night to MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

She said, "We've become so desensitized that we've allowed a lot of things to pass, and we've not been happy... Too often politicians, leaders, and religious leaders speak for us, and we sit back and don't realize the power in numbers, and when to say enough is enough....We see all the time. A kid that steals something with a plastic cap pistol, and spends 10 years in jail, and yet you see, the white-collar workers, you know, thieves that steal millions of dollars.

"And I do think that if people stood up, politicians [wouldn't] wait for a poll but strong enough to make a decision and stand...You know I happen to be the daughter of a coal miner. My father lost both his legs in a mine. He worked hard each and every day. He only stayed out of the mine six months until he got prosthetics. I know what it is to work hard and this has been a lifelong pursuit and passion.

"I've coached for 36 a person of conscience, I have seen so much that I would like to see changed, with everything. I would gladly exchange winning a national championship if we, as young ladies, would stand and allow the country to somehow be empowered and that we take back our

If you want to understand why Imus is out of work, read Coach Stringer's words again. The fact is that so many of us are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We are sick of the casual racism. We are tired of the smirking, drive-by sexism.

We are done with people who make their living by selling the idea that some people are less human than others. We are fed up with the politics of division and hate. We are the majority in this country, but are often entirely without voice. This past week, our voices were heard.

It won't - it can't - end with Don Imus.


posted by Zentronix @ 7:53 PM   2 comments links to this post

Sunday, April 08, 2007
Nutn But A Number

Islanders Give New Meaning to 40 Water

Big up to Weyland, Sake Uno, and all the Aries and Taurus April massive...

posted by Zentronix @ 8:55 AM   0 comments links to this post

Friday, April 06, 2007
Black President, Pt. 2 :: Obama vs. Chuck D?
Eric Arnold weighs in on a new discussion in hip-hop communities as a Draft Chuck D for President starts making a little bit of buzz. Could it be Chuck D vs. Obama, the prophet of rage vs. the $25 million man?:

"Barack Obama seems the only logical choice for hip-hop generationers in 2008. Though he doesn't rhyme or namedrop rappers, the junior senator from Illinois has much in common with the hip-hop generation: At 45, he's (relatively) young. He's fresh. He's charismatic. He represents a new way of thinking. Oh, by the way, he's also black...

In a recent blog entry, radio personality Davey D skewered all the Democratic candidates, opining that "none of these clowns are making it happen." His gripes revolved around the lack of critical dialogue on issues like Katrina, police brutality, immigration laws, and prison overcrowding — all of which could theoretically be addressed by Obama's legislation to reduce profiling. Furthermore, until hip-hop can offer a consistent voting bloc, politicians will overlook its concerns. Plus, with a year and a half until the election, there's plenty of time for dialogue. Davey's suggestion? That hip-hoppers draft Public Enemy's Chuck D instead...

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posted by Zentronix @ 8:52 AM   0 comments links to this post

Thursday, April 05, 2007
Spring Again

Doing It At Duke: Mark Anthony Neal, your boy, Joan Morgan, Danny Hoch (l-r)

Spring again, right Biz Markie? Welcome to April, the month of my solar return and the official opening of protest season or panel season, depending on what mood your campus might be in this year. Some days I think back on days of burning tires and bandanna'd youth on Telegraph Avenue in my adopted homeplace Berkeley and I think we might be better served by more protests than panels.

Then there are days when people like Bakari Kitwana bring in other people like Joan Morgan, Davey D, Mark Anthony Neal, and Yo-Yo—yes, that Yo-Yo, now being heard on KDAY, yes, that KDAY—to your part of the world and you experience more bombs per minute than a gabba set.

The Hip-Hop Studies Working Group at Cal put together two days of events, the first being a screening of Byron Hurt's by-now classic doc "Beyond Beats and Rhymes" and the second a Rap Sessions night curated by Bakari.

I missed the screening, although I have participated in others around the Bay and always been left amazed at how the movie is able to pry open minds and vocal chords on issues of gender and sexuality amongst crowds that would otherwise leave the elephant hanging around the room. I did catch the Rap Session and was impressed at how deep the discussion was able to get in just a 2-hour time.

With a panel as diverse as this, and an audience as sharp as this, the topics ranged widely: from Davey and Yo-Yo's discussion of the way that management manages progressive voices in the radio and media industry (one way--by bouncing Yo-Yo to a weekend deadzone in favor of piped-in programming) to Mark's incisive comments comparing how sexism and homophobia in the church is treated by the media as opposed to hip-hop to Joan's discussion of how video programming and sexual relations. In other words, if videos are accurate visions of the way mean are imagining sex, then that's some boring-ass sex folks are having.

We left later, after Joan's massive fanbase had her sign the entire Bay Area stock of When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost, and continued the conversation down on Telegraph. No burning cars, but a lot of burning minds.

Hey, if you're in the Bay Area, come celebrate with all us Aries and Taurus April babies all day at Weyland Southon's birthday bash on Saturday. I may even play some records...

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posted by Zentronix @ 12:43 PM   1 comments links to this post

Hello Hip-Hop World

Cooking! (l-r) Tony Tone, Vinnie, Rodstarz, and DJ Disco Wiz

I was told that last year's inaugural Trinity College International Hip-Hop Festival was the best of the wave of springtime hip-hop conferences. And this year's festival, which I'm told was much bigger than last, certainly did not disappoint. Ben Herson of Nomadic Wax, DJ Magee, and Zee Santiago invited me to bring a Total Chaos Hip-Hop Forum for the festival (btw big shout to Connie and Victoria and the World Up crew). I'm glad they asked.

I got to attend a great panel led by Marinieves Alba on the Afro-Latino Diaspora in hip-hop, with activist/DJ Loira "DJ Laylo" Limbal, Ariel Fernandez from Havana, Eli Efi from Sao Paulo, Rodstarz from Chicago's Rebel Diaz, and filmmaker Vanessa Diaz. The conversation quickly moved beyond a "here they are, isn't this great" to a deep discussion about the role hip-hop has played in reinvigorating educational and youth movements from Brazil to Chicago to the Bronx.

Eli Efi, in particular, spoke about how independent hip-hop "posses" transformed the entire educational system by taking it upon themselves to organize hip-hop programs in favela schools in Sao Paulo. Youths began to voice their concerns about the school system, and demanded more participation in decision-making. Parents as well suddenly began to understand their children's culture, and many more mothers began to be involved in the schools.

The work of these posses led to the government (under cultural minister and MPB superstar Gilberto Gil's oversight) adopting hip-hop formally into its cultural programming, a phenomenon documented by the New York Times just weeks ago. Needless to say, it was amazing to get the real straight from Eli Efi.

Our Total Chaos panel featured Toni Blackman, POPMASTER FABEL, Juba Kalamka, and Vijay Prashad (whose new book, The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World, is absolutely essential).

Because the event was held on the Saturday after Karl Rove had performed a rap at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, I started with a question about whether this was an indication if hip-hop really was dead. Although the question was part rhetorical, part comic, it was meant to immediately establish a sense of what the current stakes are in debates about hip-hop.

Toni and FABEL both responded by noting the irony that men who cared nothing for the culture would use it in a mocking way, another example of how hip-hop currently is received in the global popular culture. FABEL called Rove a "hip-hopportunist". Vijay Prashad then noted that there was a history of blackface minstrelsy at such White House dinners, that in fact Rove's crunkface was in line with a history going back more than a century.

Panelists discussed the global roots of hip-hop, with Fabel drawing on various examples of how the dances of African diaspora could be seen in hip-hop, and also noting how similar American Indian dances were to hip-hop. Vijay spoke about how Bob Marley was the first truly globalized hero, and was "the prophet of structural adjustment". Hip-hop, in turn, reflects the shift in the state from a supportive one to a repressive one. This, he said, was its limitation—it had not yet done the work of imagining what a world without a repressive state might look like.

All the panelists talked about how to maintain a radical aesthetic in the face of rampant commercialization and continuing voicelessness. Juba noted that young gay rappers no longer have the expectation of speaking to each other, but in breaking big in the industry. Vijay decried the idea of art as property, noting that Jay-Z doesn't write a check to the Black community when he receives royalties for his records. FABEL noted that the decline of public jams and block parties has seriously affected the culture—there are fewer places for competition and evolution of the culture not tied to capital.

"Make films not war!" Charlie Ahearn, still wild after all these years

This thought brought the conversation full-circle. We were blessed with the presence of a large number of pioneers in the audience (Bronx-to-Connecticut connection stand up!), including the first Latino DJ and master chef (for real!) DJ Disco Wiz, Cold Crush Brother Tony Tone, and pioneering Latino b-boy Trac II (Starchild La Rock). Charlie Ahearn was filming the conference and getting folks to do some loud, crazy stuff with a bright red bullhorn.

Trac II addressed the panel and the audience at length, speaking about how he has been dismayed with the way some have treated hip-hop history. He had some words for all of us: hip-hop was always about empowerment. Not necessarily political empowerment, but the kind that makes you move.

We all moved out for some Peruvian food (which was really close to Chinese American home cooking, except the steaks weighed like 25 pounds each), and then returned for a great showcase, with incredible sets from La Bruja, African Underground (with Ben holding down the drumkit like a master), Baba Israel and Yako, and Les Nubians.

All in all, a perfect day. If anyone could come to this event and still be cynical about whether hip-hop can do its thing on a college campus, which if you think about it is just another space to take over, well they probably don't have a soul.

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posted by Zentronix @ 12:14 PM   2 comments links to this post


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