Archive for April, 2006

Hip-Hop’s Betrayal of Black Women

by Jennifer McLune

Indeed, like rock & roll, hip-hop sometimes makes you think we men don’t like women much at all, except to objectify them as trophy pieces or, as contemporary vernacular mandates, as baby mommas, chickenheads, or bitches. But just as it was unfair to demonize men of color in the 60s solely as wild-eyed radicals when what they wanted, amidst their fury, was a little freedom and a little power, today it is wrong to categorically dismiss hip-hop without taking into serious consideration the socioeconomic conditions (and the many rcord labels that eagerly exploit and benefit from the ignorance of many of these young artists) that have led to the current state of affairs. Or, to paraphrase the late Tupac Shakur, we were given this world, we did not make it. – Kevin Powell, Notes of a HipHop Head. [emphasis added]

To hip-hop’s apologists: You were given this world and you glorify it. You were given this world and you protect it. You were given this world and you benefit from it. You were given this world and even in your wildest dreams you refuse to imagine anything else but this world. And anyone who attacks your misogynistic fantasy and offers an alternative vision is a hater, or worse, an enemy who just doesn’t get it. What is there to get? There is nothing deep or new about misogyny, materialism, violence and homophobia. The hardest part isn’t recognizing it, but ending it. Calling it unacceptable and an enemy of us all. Refusing to be mesmerized, seduced or confused by what hip-hop has come to signify: a betrayal of our imagination as a people.

author Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell‘s “socio-economic” explanation for the sexism in hip-hop is a way to silence feminist critiques of the culture: It is to make an understanding of the misogynistic objectification of black women in hip-hop so elusive that we can’t grasp it long enough to wring the neck of its power over us. His argument completely ignores the fact that women, too, are raised in this environment of poverty and violence, but have yet to produce the same negative and hateful representation of black men that male rappers are capable of making against women.

Powell’s understanding also lends itself to the elitist assumption that somehow poverty breeds sexism, or at least should excuse it. Yet we all know that wealthy white boys can create the same hateful and violent music as poor black boys. As long as the boys can agree that their common enemy is female and that their power resides in their penis, women must not hesitate to name the war they have declared on us.

Hip-hop owes its success to the ideology of woman-hating. It creates, perpetuates and reaps the rewards of objectification. Sexism and homophobia saturate hip-hop culture, and any deviation from these forms of bigotry is made marginal to its most dominant and lucrative expressions. Few artists dare to embody equality and respect between the sexes through their music; those who do have to fight to be heard above the dominant chorus of misogyny.

The most well known artists who represent an underground and conscious force in hip-hop – like Common, The Roots, Talib Kweli and others – remain inconsistent, apologetic and even eager to join the mainstream player’s club. Even though fans like me support them because of their moments of decency toward women, they often want to remain on the fence by either playing down their consciousness, or by offering props to misogynistic rappers. Most so-called conscious artists appear to care more about their own acceptance by mainstream artists than wanting to make positive changes in the culture.

The Roots, for example, have backed Jay-Z on both his Unplugged release and Fade to Black tours. They’ve publicly declared their admiration for him and have signed on to his new “indie” hip-hop imprint Def Jam Left to produce their next album. Yet Jay-Z is one of the most notoriously sexist and materialistic rappers of his generation.

Talib Kweli

Hip-hop artists like Talib Kweli and Common market themselves as conscious alternatives, yet they remain passive in the face of unrelenting woman-hating bravado from mainstream artists. They are willing to lament in abstract terms the state of hip-hop, but refuse to name names – unless it’s to reassure their mainstream brethren that they have nothing but love for their music.

Talib Kweli has been praised for his song “Black Girl Pain,” but clearly he’s clueless to how painful it is for a black girl to hear his boy Jay-Z rap, “I pimp hard on a trick, look Fuck if your leg broke bitch, hop up on your good foot.

The misogyny in hip-hop is also given a pass because some of its participants are women. But female hip-hop artists remain utterly marginalized within the industry and culture – except when they are trotted out to defend hip-hop against feminist criticism. The idea is that if women rap, then the industry and culture can’t be all that sexist. If women find meaning and power within hip-hop culture, then it must be unfair to call hip-hop patriarchal. What about the ladies? they say. But the truth is, all kinds of patriarchal institutions, organizations and movements have women in their ranks in search of power and meaning. The token presence of individual women changes nothing if women as a group are still scapegoated and degraded.

Unlike men, women in hip-hop don’t speak in a collective voice in defense of themselves. The pressure on women to be hyper-feminine and hyper-sexual for the pleasure of men, and the constant threat of being called a bitch, a ho – or worse a dyke – as a result of being strong, honest, and self-possessed, are real within hip-hop culture, and the black community at large. Unless women agree to compromise their truth, their self-respect, their unity with other women, and instead play dutiful daughter to the phallus that represents hip-hop culture, they will be either targetted and slandered, or ignored altogether. As a result, female rappers are often just as male-identified, violent, materialistic and ignorant as their male peers.

Hip-hop artist Eve, who describes herself as “a pit bull in a skirt,” makes an appearance in the Sporty Thieves video for “Pigeons,” one of the most hateful misogynistic anthems in hip-hop. Her appearance in this video displays her unity not with the women branded “pigeons,” but with the men who label them. This is a heartbreaking example of how hip-hop encourages men to act collectively in the interest of male privilege, while dividing women into opposing camps of good and bad, or worthy and unworthy of respect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Xe5Ew6N5wE

Some women sing along to woman-hating lyrics because they’ve convinced themselves that Snoop, Jay-Z, Ludacris and others aren’t talking about them. They are talking about women who act like bitches and hoes and thus deserve to called bitches and hoes. When do women ask what men deserve? Too many of us sing along to woman-hating lyrics because we have allowed men to decide which women are worthy of respect and which women are asking to be called names. But as long as men define the terms upon which any woman is worthy of respect, we are all bitches and hoes. And as along as we allow men to divide and label us, they’ve conquered us all.

Lip-service protest against sexism in hip-hop culture is nothing more than a sly form of public relations to ensure that nobody’s money, power or respect is ever really threatened. Real respect and equality might interfere with hip-hop’s commercial appeal. We are asked to dialogue about and ultimately celebrate our “progress” – always predicated on a few rappers and moguls getting rich. Angry young black women like myself are expected to be satisfied with a mere mention that some hip-hop music is sexist and that this sexism of a few rappers is actually, as Powell calls it, “the ghetto blues, urban folk art, a cry out for help.” My question then is: Whose blues? Whose art? Why won’t anybody help the women who are raped in endless rotation by the gaze of the hip-hop camera?

They expect us to deal with hip-hop’s pervasive woman-hating simply by alluding to it, essentially excusing and even celebrating its misogyny, its arrogance, its ignorance. What this angry black woman wants to hear from the apologists is that black women are black people too. That any attack on the women in our community is an attack on us all, and that we will no longer be duped by genocidal tendencies in black-face. I want to hear these apologists declare that any black man who makes music perpetuating the hatred of women will be named, shunned and destroyed, financially and socially, like the traitor of our community he is. That until hip-hop does right by black women, everything hip-hop ever does will fail.

If we accept Powell’s explanation for why hip-hop is the way it is – which amounts to an argument for why we should continue to consume and celebrate it – then ultimately we are accepting ourselves as victims who know only how to imitate our victimization, while absolving the handful of black folk who benefit from its tragic results. I choose to challenge hip-hop by refusing to reward its commercial aspirations with my money or my attention.

I’m tired of the ridiculous excuses and justifications for the unjustifiable pillaring of black women and girls in hip-hop. Are black women the guilty parties behind black men’s experience of racism and poverty? Are black women acceptable scapegoats when black men suffer oppression? If black women experience double the oppression as both blacks and women in a racist, patriarchal culture, it is our anger at men and white folks that needs to be heard.

The black men who make excuses for the ideology of woman-hating in hip-hop remind me of those who, a generation ago, supported the attacks on black female writers who went public about the reality of patriarchy in our community. The fact that these black female writers did not create incest, domestic violence, rape and other patriarchal conditions in the black community did not shield them from being skewered by black men who had their feelings hurt by the exposure of their male privilege and domination of black women. Black women’s literature and activism that challenge sexism are often attacked by black men (and many male-identified women) who abhor domination when they are on the losing end, but want to protect it when they think it offers them a good deal.

Black women writers and activists were called traitors for refusing to be silent about the misogynistic order of things in our minds and homes, and yet women-hating rappers are made heroes by the so-called masses. To be sure, hip-hop is not about keeping it real. Hip-hop lies about the ugly reality that black women were condemned for revealing. Hip-hop is a manipulative narrative that sells because it gets men hard. It is a narrative in which, as a Wu Tang Clan video shows, black women are presented as dancing cave chicks in bikinis who get clubbed over the head. Or where gang rapes are put to a phat beat. Or where working class black women are compared to shit-eating birds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGS7I8_UXhM

As a black woman who views sexism as just as much the enemy of my people as racism, I can’t buy the apologies and excuses for hip-hop. I will not accept the notion that my sisters deserve to be degraded and humiliated because of the frustrations of black men – all while we suppress our own frustrations, angers and fears in an effort to be sexy and accommodating. Although Kevin Powell blames the negatives in hip-hop on everything but hip-hop culture itself, he ultimately concludes, “What hip-hop has spawned is a way of winning on our own terms, of us making something out of nothing.”

If the terms for winning are the objectification of black women and girls, I wonder if any females were at the table when the deal went down. Did we agree to be dehumanized, vilified, made invisible? Rather than pretending to explain away the sexism of hip-hop culture, why doesn’t Powell just come clean: in the end it doesn’t matter how women are treated. Sexism is the winning ticket to mainstream acceptability and Powell, like Russell Simmons and others, know this. It’s obvious that if these are the winning terms for our creativity, black women are ultimately the losers. And that’s exactly how these self-proclaimed players, thugs and hip-hop intellectuals want us: on our backs and pledging allegiance to the Hip-Hop Nation. If we were all to condemn woman-hating as an enemy of our community, hip-hop would be forced to look at itself and change radically and consistently. And then it would no longer be marketable in the way that these hip-hop intellectuals celebrate. As things stand, it’s all about the Benjamins on every level of the culture. And black women are being thugged and rubbed all the way to the bank.

Jennifer McLune can be contacted at jennmclune@hotmail.com

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Fights Break Out in Lemiert Park Between Black Minute Men & Immigration Activists
by Davey D
 
daveyd-raider2Yep you read the title right Black Minute Men. Below is an article illustrating the type of bullshit going on in LA that is making this Black-Brown situation spiral out of control. Yesterday cats were in Leimart Park boxing each other over this immigration issue. Ted Hayes a well known homeless activist, showed up with a couple of hundred people including Minute Men to lead an anti-immigrant demonstration. Of course all the media showed up and have been salivating at the jaws for this to happen- Black folks trying to smash on Brown folks in LA.
 
Fortunately a large number of brothers showed up to counter this thing and let it be known Hayes and his Minute Men aren’t speaking for the Black community. That’s when the fighting broke out. Hayes started leading a chant of ‘Communists Go Home’ while holding a big banner saying Crispus Attucks Brigade.  He also said some thing about we been hear since slavery and therefore have amoral obligation to stop alien invasions. Now these cats are running around planning a big anti-immigration rally for Thursday. The Minute Men themselves haven’t even organized such a protest-just these Negroes.
 
In addition to all that the Clear Channel station that ran the ‘Kill Tookie Hour’ are now doing a big promotion called ‘Weening Yourself Off Illegal Aliens“. They dedicate an hour a day to people calling on clowning Mexicans complete with spliced speeches and people using fake accents. Of course Ted Hayes and company are now heroes to the same station that regularly clowns the homeless and Black people in general. What people won’t do for some fame and glory.
 
Meanwhile Black owned but white run Radio One have barely touched this issue here in LA preferring to stick with their policy of only dealing with Black folks and not the Latino community which makes up 40% of Southern Cali. At least KJLH owned by Stevie Wonder has been on it.  Props to Yo-Yo who has been hitting this hard and doing her best to make sure bridges are being built and that people like Hayes don’t cast a wide shadow over all of us… She’s planning a big Cinco de Mayo event and trying bring a lot of artists out to show support. Also Brother J of X-Clan and Fidel Rodriguez of Divine Forces Radio [KPFK] and also Julio G of KDAY have been out there repping hard. Also tens of thousands took to the streets in San Francisco last night. Large numbers of Asian/Filipinos in particular came out.
 
Thank God Fred Hampton Jr. and Immortal Technique stayed in LA for a full week and toured the place and saw for themselves what’s really going on and all the power dynamics that are at work. Thank God they’ve been  aggressively speaking out on this and calling people out for their faulty analysis. As Technique pointed out ‘Juan who is selling oranges on the freeway is not taking away jobs from nobody. Look to the government shifting jobs overseas’. The hi-tech computer jobs in Silicon Valley are being out-sourced to India while other big corporations are applying for guest worker passes claiming that US worker are too dumb to work many of the jobs we as Black folks are blaming Latinos for taking. 
 
As Chairman Fred pointed out, Black folks should not be playing the role of Buffalo soldiers for white power interests who are obviously enjoying the shenanigans of having Black folks run around sounding off worse than any Klansman.
 
The perceptions and misinformation floating around LA is crazy. Case in point. I attended a meeting last week with Black and Brown press folks. Many of the Latino media folks were wondering why the silence with Black stations like KKBT.. They were shocked to know that while Black owned it’s white run from top to bottom and that the day to day silence is the call of the PD and GM. That revelation helped clarify things immensely.
 
I’m encouraging folks to peep the Fred Hampton Jr. interview if you haven’t already. Also be on the look out because a lot of Spanish speaking rappers are getting together to record a song about this issue..
 
 
Where’s P-Diddy and HSAN on this issue? Did they address this over the weekend during the Summit? I heard Russell speaking on Sudan.
 
Call your Congressman and call your local rapper and let them know how you feel about this issue.

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Sexism and Racism Cover Duke Lacrosse case  

 original article-Thursday, April 20, 2006 

If anybody thinks Racism and Sexism are not rampant in America they havent been paying attention to the Duke Lacrosse case. It does not even matter if you think she is telling the truth or not. The handling of the Lacrosse players and the alleged rape victim are opposites spectrums.

Personally I think that something happened, let me state that for the record.

They may have the wrong two but something happened. It’s funny that although one of the accused players was on probation for a bias attack this indictment has not affected his probation.

In case you did not know Collin Finnerty already had to cop a plea on a gay bias attack. Finnerty agreed to perform community service, pay the victim’s medical bills and stay out of trouble for at least six months.

Heres what happened November 5 (less than 6 months ago out here in the DC area) Finnerty, the rich, NY athlete who was one of two Duke Lacrosse players to be charged this week in the rape of a black mother and student who strips.

Jeff Bloxsom and a male friend were walking through Georgetown early on Nov. 5 when Finnerty and two pals yelled derogatory anti-gay slurs at them, according to Washington police reports. Bloxsom, whom his attorney said is not gay and has a girlfriend, shouted back, so Finnerty and his friends crossed the street and attacked the two men. Bloxsom suffered a bruised chin and a busted lip, according to a police report filed two hours after the incident. Bloxsom attorney said “It’s our expectation that everything is back on the table in terms of how the district attorney in Washington will deal with the accused,” but those of us in D.C. should keep our eyes on this because it doesnt look like they will do anything.

This violent guy is given the benefit of the doubt by media.Its ironic that the feminist organizations use a past history to jump on an alleged suspect but not much noise from many of them now, especially the most vocal ones and this is from the outset.

I think the Reason why is simple -the accused is a struggling black female and the accused are well to do white men. Typically National Organization Women (NOW) show up for black women in high profile cases if the alleged assailant is black also ex. Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill or Mike Tyson and Desiree Washington.If its Black and White like Kobe Bryant and Fabe forget aboout it, the loyalties are out on the table, there is never this wait and see approach as the Duke accuser.

The woman at the center of the rape scandal is a 27-year-old African-American student from a Historically Black College called North Carolina Central University (NCCU) ironically it is known for its prestigious Law Degree Program. She is also a mother. Since the alleged attack, she has been in seclusion and under a doctor’s care. Her cousin, who wants only to be called Jackie, appeared on “Good Morning America” on her behalf. saying “She’s exhausted, emotionally and physically, but she’s happy that the arrests were made, Who could stand this much pressure?, It’s become this huge media circus. My cousin is a petite, humble and family-oriented person who was trying her best to raise her two children, ages 6 and 7. My Cousin did not make up this story but its a strong possibility” that she could have consumed a drugged drink at the party. Date rape drugs are often associated with outfits like the lacrosse team threw and which she showed up at.

Granted the absence of DNA evidence is a major blow but it does not prove that none of the team members assaulted her. A large percentage of rape cases have no DNA evidence. Since prosecutors can have DNA evidence that matches no alleged assailants and still move forward as in the Central Park case why anybody should be surprised at this turn of events.

In 1978, Congress passed Rule 412 of the Federal Rules of Evidence; better known as the Rape Shield law. Since then, 49 of the 50 United States have adopted identical or similar laws, which vary in practice from state-to-state.

What rape shield laws do is limit defense lawyers in rape trials as far as bringing the alleged victims sexual history into play. The laws are intended to prevent the alleged victim from having their credibility attacked and their reputation sullied with information that supposedly has nothing to do with the case at hand. The pressure that goes along with high profile rape cases is something that victims have to endure, it happens. I am not surprised that the student/mother stripper even considered pulling the plug after the case turned into a racial pressure cooker. While at Duke Campus, hundreds of students are wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Innocent till proven guilty.” At NCCU it seems from media coverage that everybody has been forced into a wait and see attitude. (I need to inquire with Jupiter Hammon) and support her but wont wear their activism on their sleeves. Not sure what has happened to student activism on Black College Campuses maybe Universities like Hampton are killing it “At one point, she wanted to just drop the charges,” said Jackie. “But as a family, we told her to stand her ground.

I do not know happened yet since there has been no trial. However I am disgusted by the media handling of it, they intentionally plant doubt in the black alleged victim story and always offer media rebuttal to any idea that she is telling the truth.

According to the NY Daily news The stripper at the heart of the explosive Duke University rape case has been forced into virtual hiding as photos of her were aired on TV yesterday. Threats from Duke supporters have forced the woman, who is black, to stay with different friends almost every night after she accused white lacrosse players of raping her at a wild party. The stakes went up again when a local NBC station aired photos of the woman taken the night of the party, which the lacrosse players’ lawyers say show her possibly drunk. The time-stamped pictures, with her face obscured, were later widely disseminated on the Internet.

Question for you. How can you show somebody drunk with a obscured face in a still picture and no sound? Answer you cant. Its a racist media tactic to show enough of her image so that those who know her can identify her and cause further humiliation to her. If you thought that the Rape shield Law makes it illegal to show alleged rape victims in the media , its does not . It is simply an agreement by media that to do so is tacky. When you get emailed these photos do me a favor send them back to the person that you got them from and tell them its tacky.

For Comments respond to
oohpapi@playahata.com

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An Open Letter to the Hip Hop Community About Immigration

by Adisa Banjoko
original article-April 20 2006
 
Below is a speech I gave in Watsonville, CA on April 17th 2006. I was invited to come down and speak by the Watsonville Brown Berets. Fred Hampton Jr. of the P.O.C.C. and Immortal Technique also represented HARD that day.
               
It was an amazing display of racial, political, religious and Hip Hop unity. There were b-boy circles, tons of performers, spoken word poets and vocal performers. Mexican, Black, Asian, White, Arab and Native Americans all came together in peace. There was no violence and no threats of violence. I must commend the Berets on making everyone feel welcome, secure and for running an efficient schedule. I dont have the official numbers but I estimated about 700 people to have been in attendance.
 
With me representing the west, Fred Hampton Jr. representing the Midwest and Immortal Technique repping the east- it was an unprecedented display of nationwide unity on the issue of justice for immigrants and justice for the youth. I was honored to have been a part of this event. I hope more people do their homework and research on the Brown Berets, the Black Panthers and why unity between Black and Brown is so important in this these times. My speech was entitled Keys to the True Unification of Black and Brown Peoples. Big shout out to Anas, JR, Mike Perry, Tomas, Scape Martinez and my man Apakalips from the Universal Zulu Nation. The beauty and power of this day will live in my heart forever, inshallah. 
 
Peace,
Adisa Banjoko
 
As Salaam Alaikum,
 
My name is Adisa Banjoko. I am the author of Lyrical Swords Vol. 2: Westside Rebellion. It deals with Black and Brown unity. It deals with a lot of political and social issues that we face every day. I speak in a lot of places. Some times its prisons, sometimes its universities. Today I am honored to be here with the Brown Berets. I am honored to be here with the beautiful people of Watsonville.
 
I came today to talk about peace and unity. Peace and unity is something that we absolutely have to have in this moment, dealing with the Bush administration and the things we face today. The Black people of America cannot do it alone. The Latino people cannot do it alone. The Arab cannot do it alone. The Muslim, the Christian and the Jew cannot do it alone. The Buddhist cannot do it alone. We have to be unified in this moment.
 
Peace and unity are both byproducts of knowledge. Meaning that when I fist got into knowledge of self, as an African American, I was only focused on that. It took me a moment to learn about the beauty of the Mayan people, of the Aztec people, of Cesar Chavez and Delores Huerta.
 
I had to do that to be a true humanist. You have to read about humanity! If all I read about is me, and all I care about are the struggles of the Black man- then Im going to have a very small window [to see the spectrum of life through].
 
We have to take the time to defend one another. We cannot be afraid to defend one another. I am here defending you. Defending what you stand for. Defending your rights. This is your land. I wont pretend that its not. I stand here today as a descendent of slaves. I descendent of SLAVES.
 
I am Muslim. But the Dali Lama was here in the Bay Area just the other day with Hamza Yusuf from the Zaytuna Institute. They built upon the peaceful nature of both of these faiths. My faith has been demonized by the press.
 
 Since 911, many people from Saudi Arabia, many people from Pakistan, many people from Palestine, Iran and Yemen were harassed. They were sent to prison and abused by this Bush Administration. This was because of their faith, because of their race.
 
We must make America live up to its words on paper. Not just for my sake. Not just for your sake. Its for the sake of all people who walk on this soil. We deserve this justice. We are not asking for anything that is not already on paper. We are not asking for anything we dont already know that belongs to us here. It belongs to us here!
 
When you look at the ghettos across America, were very lucky to be on the west coast. Out integration levels are much higher than in other places like NY. The Blacks and Latinos dont always mesh [out there]. Thats tragic.
 
But thats why the Bay Area is so special. Thats why we have to seize this moment right now. Thats why we cannot hesitate to defend one another in this moment. My father is originally from New Orleans- from the Magnolia projects. My mother is originally from Monroe Louisiana.
 
But when my father came to the Bay in his youth, he grew up in the Mission District. As a young boy I was always around Delores Park. I was always around 24th and Mission. I was always around my Latino peoples.
 
I dont have another frame of reference for Latino peoples than my brothers. I have no other frame of reference. Its the first brotherhood I knew.  
 
Whether you are Mexican, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Brazilian, Puerto Rican- we are all in the ghetto together! Oppressed by the same people. Struggling to get the same knowledge- that they hide from us in the schools. Struggling, to not be abused by the police. Struggling to find work and provide for our families, for our children and be safe.
 
Unity is the key. Arab unity. Black unity. Latino, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist Jew. The realest of us. THE REALEST OF US! We are all attacked by this administration. But there is another enemy.
 
Before I get to the other enemy I must mention that these people who attack usWho dont like events like thisThis is why todays event is so important. These people dont respect our history and they dont want our children to know it. They dont want your children to know their beautiful history- of Aztlan. They dont want my children to know the beautiful history of Africa.
 
But this other enemy- they are people within BOTH of our cultures. We have to work against the people who look like me- but they are against Black and Brown unity. We need to work against the people who look like YOU- but they are against Black and Brown unity. Because they can hurt this more than the Bush Administration, more than right wing republicans. More than any of them! We need to cleanse our own people, of the bigotry, and the fear [that causes distrust in our hearts].
 
I will take it on, on my side. But I need you to take it on, on your side so we can be truly united. I spoke just a few weeks ago at San Quentin Prison. I was on the exercise yard and I spoke to every group of people on the yard. Two minutes after I left there was a fight on the yard between Black and Brown. This is unacceptable.
 
I was just talking to them right before it happened. I said Yall need to be going back to the Brown Berets and yall need to be going back to the Panthers. Understand that I was speaking on the same soil where George Jackson and Jonathan Jackson were killed. We need to get back to that [ way of living together].
 
But a lot of the conflicts that do happen between Black and Brown happens because of drugs. It deals with crack, it deals with meth, it deals with ecstasy. It deals with things that dehumanize both of our people. Drugs have been used to destroy Black and Brown people.
 
We have to keep our children out of gangs. We have to be dedicated to that. We have to keep our children knowing that there is more beauty in knowing about Aztlan than knowing about the blunts. We have to let them know there is more beauty in then knowing about Africa, than knowing about crack, and thizzin and going dumb. We need to get smart in this moment.
 
We need to get smart in this moment! We need to fight in this moment! We cannot be afraid in this moment!
 
Cesar Chavez, Delores Huerta the Brown Berets the Black Panthers are better than any drug they can try and feed our children.
 
We have to be open enough to learn about other faiths. I do my best to read about other faiths all the time. I am a nonviolent man of God. I follow a Prophet of Peace. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. But I am not afraid to die for this. Im not afraid to die for anybody in this room. Im not afraid to die for the truth that Malcolm, that Martin that all of these freedom fighters before us- [loud applause roar]. If they did not do it, WE would not be here today. Lets be honest about that.
 
But yo, nothings going to hold me back, or block me. They gonna have to pop me to stop me. This is why Im here.
 
The corporate media machine does a great job of brainwashing our children. Of having our children wish that they were in jail. Of having our children on dope and violent against one another. They make it easy for them to fight against one another. We have to start taking the time privately and publicly to start squashing that.
 
An organization that I represent is called Project Islamic H.O.P.E. Its based in LA and led proudly by Najee Ali. If you go to www.islamichope.org you can see that hes working with the Mayor of Los Angeles to host a beautiful Black and Brown unity conference (June 3rd 2006).
 
I hope everybody goes to that. One day will not solve this. We have to make sure we are working tomorrow. We have to make sure we are working next month. We have to make sure that we are reading and reaching out.
 
I was just talking to my brother, Anas, on the way down. He said Look we have to utilize the internet. All of the organizers before us never had the ability to use the internet as a tool to organize. Just to find out our respective histories, let alone have direct contact. We have to use all levels of technology and all levels of online and offline strategies.
 
But you know brothers like Davey D promoted this event real hard. He was one of the ONLY people who went down to LA and supported yall in that march. Im sorry that more African American leaders from the old guard havent supported you. I dont know whats going on with them. I dont know what it says about their original intent that more of them did not step up and openly support you in Los Angeles.
 
But I am here. The young Muslim leadership is here. The young Black leadership is here. This is our time and I am with you. My people are with you. I promise you that. My man Apakalips from the Universal Zulu Nation is with you. Shamako Noble from the Hip Hop Congress is with you. Artists like Paris, T-Kash, Aya De Leon, Immortal Technique, Dilated Peoples, Nate Mezmer, Self Scientific. Follow those artists! Support those artists! They love you. They are rappin for you right now. You must support them.
 
Dont let your kids watch BET. Dont let your kids sit down in front of MTV. We have to be honest about this. Right now my man D Labrie from East Oakland is gonna spit this piece called Black & Brown. I told him I was doing this event, he kicked it to me over the phone and I had to have him come down and let you hear this. Thats my time. ALLAH U AKBAR! God is the greatest. May God bless ALL in this room so we can unite and fight every day.   
 
Adisa Banjokos next lecture is entitled Lyrical Warfare: Hip Hop,Religion and Politics in the New Century, at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania on Monday April 24th @ 7 PM. Rapper One Be Low will be ripping the mic at the close of the lecture. For more information email pr@lyricalswords.com .

 

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D12 rapper Proof killed in shooting at afterhours nightclub

An unidentified 35-year-old man, who was shot along with Proof, is in critical condition at Detroit’s St. John Hospital. Police were called to the shootings around 5 a.m, following reports of a fight and shots fired.

original article-April 11 2006 
proof-d12-75Rapper Proof of the hip-hop group D12 was shot and killed this morning at an illegal afterhours club on Eight Mile, police said. Proof, whose real name is Deshaun Holton, was dead on arrival at Conner Creek Medical Center in Detroit, according to a spokeswoman for St. John Health System. He was 32.
Proof was among the most pivotal players on the Detroit hip-hop scene, and revered as one of the best freestyle MCs in the city. He befriended Eminem long before he was a houshold name, and was a nearly constant presence as the rapper rose to superstardom. He toured with Eminem as his on-stage hype man, was a member of his group D12, had a bit role in the “8 Mile” movie and served as the best man at his wedding in January.

 

 

The club where it occurred is called 3C, and it’s at 8 Mile near Hayes. The club isn’t illegal but it was operating illegally after hours.

This is the second shooting involving Eminem’s entourage in three months.

Another Eminem pal and rapper Obie Trice was shot and wounded New Year’s Eve while driving along the Lodge Freeway.

Anyone with information on the shootings is asked to call Detroit Police at 313-596-2260.

 Positive Proof: Longtime Eminem collaborator upbeat as he prepares for the release of his first solo album

April 11, 2006
BY BRIAN McCOLLUM

FREE PRESS POP MUSIC WRITER

http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060411/NEWS11/60411004/1013

Proof (Mario “”Khalif” Butterfield/Iron Fist Records)
Originally published August 7, 2005

Detroit rapper Proof could have unveiled his first solo album ages ago. But a few distractions sort of, you know, popped up.

That’s bound to happen when you’re tight with the guy who becomes the biggest star in hip-hop, when that momentum carries your own group to the top of the charts, when you spend your time onstage in sold-out stadiums, on the world’s movie screens, on the cover of Rolling Stone.

But even as Proof found himself caught up in the hysteria generated by his close friend Eminem and their group D12, the rapper born DeShaun Holton kept the concept percolating in the back of his brain: a hip-hop record that would evoke the spirit — if not exactly the sound — of a rock ‘n’ roll legend.

The result is finally at hand. On Tuesday, Proof will release “Searching for Jerry Garcia,” a 20-track album more than three years in the making. It’s not just his solo debut; the record also marks the inaugural release for his Iron Fist Records, the label with which Proof hopes to do his part for Detroit’s ongoing musical resurgence.

Proof will toast the album’s release Friday at the State Theatre, soon after the festivities wrap up across the street at Comerica Park, where he’ll accompany Eminem, D12, 50 Cent and 40,000 hometown fans for the U.S. finale of the Anger Management Tour. He’ll be joined at the State by G-Unit’s Lloyd Banks and Young Buck, and premiere the glitzy video for his record’s first single, “Gurls Wit Da Boom.

These are heady days for Proof, whose album arrives as D12’s members begin branching out in anticipation of a career shift by Marshall Mathers. But before he’ll even talk about the music of “Garcia,” Proof acknowledges the obvious: “People hear the title,” he says, “and wonder what in the world I’m talking about.”

Among the puzzled were the administrators of Jerry Garcia’s estate, who insisted Proof obtain permission to use the name of the late Grateful Dead guitarist, a moniker that has long evoked instant images of ’60s hippie culture.

But while Proof is a well-versed fan of rock, including the Dead’s rootsy folk and blues, his album isn’t some interstellar merger of rap and tie-dyed San Fran jam. The title actually reflects a more personal quest, one that began during the height of D12 mania, when the lightning-tongued MC found himself plagued by “stress, a bad diet and drugs.”

Proof says he found resonance in the story of Garcia, who endured similar struggles while continually seeking catharsis in an eclectic musical approach.

“It’s about coming back, finding the way,” he says. “I think there’s some Jerry Garcia in all of us.”

Proof has been getting himself to this point for quite some time.
These days, even casual followers of hip-hop are well acquainted with his face and voice. For six years, he’s been Eminem’s prime companion onstage, a seemingly constant presence at the side of his fellow Detroit rapper. With D12, he’s become an MTV and radio celebrity via such hits as “Purple Pills” and “My Band.”

But around Detroit, Proof was the preeminent figure in hip-hop years before the Eminem explosion tacked the city’s name onto the national rap map. If you weren’t there in person during the mid-’90s — inside the Hip Hop Shop, for instance, where he hosted Detroit’s top rap battles — you can just rent the movie “8 Mile.”

There you’ll find him embodied in the character played by Mekhi Phifer, who tapped Proof’s cool-but-in-control persona for a role based on the rapper’s position as Detroit hip-hop ringleader.

“He was one of the hardest-working MCs in the city,” says Khalid el-Hakim, Iron Fist’s vice president and a veteran of the Detroit scene. “He was a master of self-promotion. Early on, he was appearing on everybody’s projects, and a lot of people really looked up to Proof. He still has that same work ethic. He doesn’t stop.”

As Eminem himself has said, Proof was instrumental in carving out a place in the scene for the aspiring rapper. Without the assist, Marshall Mathers might never have made it onto local stages, let alone become one of the world’s most familiar celebrities.

“He legitimized Em in the Detroit hip-hop community,” says el-Hakim. “I think most people weren’t feeling a white MC at that time. Proof was pushing him because he heard something there. He had his back.”

Proof, who would go on to win Source Magazine’s national rap battle in 1999, was known as the city’s top freestyler, a gifted improviser with a biting wit. The vote of confidence went a long way — and returned big dividends when Proof got taken along for the Slim Shady ride.

After Eminem’s launch into the hip-hop stratosphere, Proof channeled most of his rhymes into D12’s material, his relaxed but rough-edged flow a distinct trait of the group’s work. Through it all, he made sure to save some for himself, steadily accumulating the songs that would ultimately make up “Garcia.”

It’s a whirl of creative enterprise that Proof long ago learned how to navigate.

“I try not to compare any of it at all,” Proof says. “My D12 deal is my D12 deal, the Em stuff is the Em stuff, my solo deal is my solo deal. You’ve gotta try to do something extra with each one.”

Production began on the record in 2002, with release planned for the following spring. But all was placed on hiatus after a series of what Proof describes as business hardships and the record industry’s “Jedi mind tricks,” including a botched distribution deal and personnel turnover within his own camp.

When he returned to the project last year, he replaced half the album with new cuts. It was a savvy move: “Garcia” now showcases the services of guests such as 50 Cent, Nate Dogg and Obie Trice, along with a full-on D12 collaboration — including you-know-who — on “Pimplikeness.” El-Hakim says the album has garnered more than 200,000 advance orders through Alliance Distribution, one of the nation’s biggest music wholesalers and Iron Fist’s link to the big leagues.

“Gurls Wit Da Boom,” a slinky club track that would fit comfortably on an MTV summer playlist, is something of an anomaly. Most of the “Garcia” tracks — many built on live instrumentation — find Proof tapping and tweaking a host of styles. Songs like the opening “Clap Wit Me” and “Bilboa’s Theme” evoke the jazzy funk of his Detroit compatriates in Slum Village. “Forgive Me” (with 50 Cent) and “72nd and Central” (with Obie Trice) groove atop the strings, harpsichords and minor keys of the darker Shady sound. “High Rollers,” with Method Man and B. Real, takes a toke off Kanye West-style soul.

That’s the same sort of diversity Proof says he’ll bring to Iron Fist, where he’s working with acts ranging from Detroit hip-hop ensemble Purple Gang to vocalist Stephanie Christian of rock band JoCaine.

“I don’t want to be just another rapper putting out rap acts, and I’m looking for a lot of different talent,” he says. “This is the rock city.”

Whatever the fate of the new record — which will likely enjoy underground success even if it doesn’t break mainstream — Proof and his associates are pleased that he’s at last getting his own say.

“Proof has taken this album back to his Detroit hip-hop roots, but at the same time, he’s drawing on his experiences from around the world,” says el-Hakim. “He’s invested a lot of time and effort into making this happen, because this is his chance to let the world know who he really is.”

 Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Rick Rock & the Federation Going Beyond Hyphy

by Davey D

original article: April 03 2006

Listen to Rick Rock and Federation Interview on Breakdown FM

Last week the Bay Area was treated to good news when E-40’s new album My Ghetto Report Card debuted on the Billboard charts at number one. His new single Tell Me When to Go is a bonafide hit that is lighting up radio station and night clubs from here to New York, throughout the South and even spots overseas are checking out the buzz and everybody is asking What does it mean to be Hyphy?

There is no doubt the Bay is on fire. Currently there are bidding wars amongst major labels for acts like Mista F.A.B. and Rick Rock and the Federation. T-Kash who is signed to Pariss Guerilla Funk label is finding that his new politically charged album Turf War Syndrome is one of the most sought after and heavily added on the college radio circuit. If thats not enough the Paris produced Public Enemy album Rebirth of a Nation came in at number 33 on the Billboard charts which is great for a small indie label. Lastly we have super producer Rick Rock and his group the Federation who are currently enjoying major radio play in cities like New York with their new smash 18 Dummies. Now with that being said and done the 64 thousand dollar question is Will the Bay Areas Hyphy Movement catch on and become a nationwide thing that sticks?

According to super producer Rick Rock aka the King of Slaps who along with his group The Federation put out the first Hyphy record 5 years ago, The Bay will become a nationwide stop only if people make a firm commitment to step their business game up and do good music. He emphasized the point that while Hyphy is the in thing right now, its going to take more than a bunch of songs that have the words Hyphy and other related lingo in the hooks to keep the momentum going. He elaborated by pointing out that the Hyphy Movement has gotten the music industrys attention and helped opened a lot of doors, but Bay artists will have to stretch out and constantly challenge themselves.

You have to keep putting paint where it aint, Rick Rock said. You have to come with something different. It does no good to drive down the street and hear the same Hyphy record with all different artists. Its what I call the Das EFX Syndrome. Rock was referring to the rap group Das EFX who came out with a unique triple time rhyme style that got widely mimicked to the point it hurt their careers.

Rock noted that his group is trying to stay ahead of the curve by taking innovative steps and pushing the musical envelop. Case in point, he dipped into his rock-n-roll roots and teamed up with drummer Travis Barker to do a song. Rick noted that he has always been a rock fan and the beats he creates is influenced by bands like Metallica who he considers one of the best groups of all-time.

Rock explained that Barker had heard some of the Bay Areas Hyphy songs and felt that it was natural cousin to in terms of energy and drive you hear in hardcore rock. He was anxious to get down with the Federation cats and the rest they say is history. To hear lead rappers Goldie Gold, Stress and Doonie Baby spitting on fiery lyrics over Barkers drums and Ricks amped up hyphy oriented music is something that will undoubtedly change the game once its released.

Its these types of steps that are going to help keep the Bay Areas profile elevated. Its also going to take folks who are hungry for the spotlight to sit back and stop hating on one another. Regional infighting based upon who is getting recognized is what has crippled the Bay and other burgeoning regions in the past. These were points that were emphasized by Federation members Doonie Baby and Goldie Gold. They noted that theres enough room for everybody to eat and share the spotlight.

Rock who also noted this point said its time for a lot of folks to sit down and have close door meeting to 1-Get a clearer understanding of what to expect with all this increased industry attention. 2-Learn how to better handle the business expectations major labels and other outlets will have of local artists entering into the game .3- How to operate in a hater free environment. In other words as the Bay tightens up on its business and beats it will be national factor that enjoys the spotlight for years to come.

Listen to Rick Rock and Federation Interview on Breakdown FM

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

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AJ Calloway Blasts BET Music Videos
Former BET Star Says He Left Show Over Vulgar Music
original article: April 2 2006

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (April 1) – The former co-host of BET’s popular 106 & Park video countdown show blasted this week what he called the destructive messages of many of the show’s most popular music videos.

A.J. Calloway co-hosted the show for five years with Free, whose given name is Marie Wright. Both left the show in July.

“I couldn’t watch my own show with my niece on my lap,” Calloway told an audience Wednesday at South Carolina State University as part of the “Black Student Today” panel. The discussion focused on the impact of hip-hop music.

“Pick your five favorite songs,” Calloway said. “Write down every word that’s in your favorite songs. Read it back to yourself and think about what that has put into your head.

“Understand internally what you’re taking into your soul and into your system. Really look at it. You might say it doesn’t do anything, but I’m telling you it does.”

Calloway has said that he left because he was only offered a brief extension at the end of his contract. But BET executive Stephen Hill said then that he was surprised Calloway decided to leave the popular show.

Calloway told the university audience he had vowed that after facing racism growing up in New Jersey he would “never do anything against my race.”

“I felt like I was hurting us by doing what I was doing,” he said.

He said the messages in some hip-hop music serve as a distraction to the challenges facing blacks.

“We’re so lost in the music, we don’t understand the reality of what’s happening day-to-day in our lives,” he said. “All those institutions that are out to bring down (blacks) don’t have to work any more because we’re doing it to ourselves. … They’re laughing at us.”

Another panelist defended hip-hop music’s messages.

“Most of the lyrics, if you listen to the poetry of hip-hop, is about taking a devastating situation and making it better, coming up out of poverty,” said Ben Chavis, co-founder of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner