FNV NEWSLETTER #112
*A Few Notes to Ponder by Davey D
*The Hip Hop Generation by Al Sharpton
*Free Oakland Rapper Askari X! by JR
*Hip Hop and Isreal
December 12 2002
In This Week's Issue
The FNV Newsletter c 2002
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A FEW NOTES TO PONDER....
Slick Rick, Cambodians, Arabs and the INS
by Davey D
I was gonna take a few more days off but there have been quite a few
things going on that simply can not be ignored... First of all big
shout out to the folks over at Allhiphop.com for holding things down
over the holidays while many of us shut down.. They stayed on the
case and kept us up to date with the case surrounding Slick Rick who
was literally a day away from being deported. At the 11th hour a
judge granted him a stay so he can have more time to fight his case.
Unfortunately it seems like Uncle Sam is bent on making him a prime
I mentioned this before, but I have to remind folks again, what is
going on with Slick Rick is just the tip of the iceberg. Rick is high
profile so there's been a little bit of information about his case.
However, there are a number of Southeast Asians, mainly Cambodians who
came to this country 20-30 years ago under some very harsh-'escape
from the killing field' type conditions. Some of those folks ran a
foul of the law as teenagers with simple things like possession of
weed or breaking into cars. Under the new INS Rules and an agreement
that was signed with the US and Cambodia back in March there are now laws
on the books making deportation easier. The problem with the
Cambodians is that the law is retroactive and selectively being
enforced. Now what we have is a lot of Cambodian cats being rounded
up and being deported for crimes they did as teenagers. Like Slick
Rick many have paid for their crimes, have turned their lives around
and have been productive citizens. Some have been on the straight
and narrow path for almost 20 years.
My man Mike Tran of the organization Asian Pacific Islanders for
Community Empowerment (API forCE) alerted me to this when he wrote the
"Most of the people being affected are refugees who came over as young
children who fled the Killing Fields to life of poverty and racism.
So its not a surprise that some of them joined gangs and got into
trouble. like i said before, a great number of those people have
turned themselves around and are parents and major income earners. so
to send them back to Cambodia with almost no recollection of what life
is like there, no language, and no family (lets remember that 2
million out of 7 million Cambodians were slaughtered by the Khmer
Rouge) is another unfair punishment (double jeopardy?). Also, it
would punish entire families by breaking them up and thrusting them
into poverty.Also, this deportation operation is happening without
much of the Cambodian community knowing about it. So people are
finding their deportation orders almost out of no where."
While the Hip Hop Community has been focusing on Slick Rick and the
Southeast Asian Community has been devoting resources to the INS
deportation efforts in their hoods, many of us were unaware of the
huge round up and arrests of hundreds of Arab men that took place just days before
Christmas. More than a thousand folks were told to come down to INS
offices to fill out the remaining paper work so they could stay here
in the country and suddenly found themselves being detained for guess
what? Not having their paper work done.. which put them in violation
of US laws. The sad scenario to this was that many of the young men
rounded up had already been in the process of doing the paper work and
properly handling their affairs. When they came down to the INS
offices as instructed, many went figuring that they would be taking
another step to getting their paper work in order. Instead they were
detained for days at a time.
Many of the local TV news stations hardly covered this including the
stations in LA which is where most of the arrests took place.
They only let folks know what was going down after the
men were released. Fortunately we did some pretty extensive coverage
on KPFA as well as our sister station KPFK in LA. What we heard were
horror stories of cats being beaten up in jail, some had to do without
medical treatment.. Still others were sent to county facilities and
forced to be with the general inmate population because there was no
more room in the INS detention centers. To put it simply it was crazy
and hard for a lot of people to believe this is all going down here in
***On a side note.. I mentioned Allhiphop not only because its good
to know there's a good number of us out there trying to get the word
out and create efficient and hopefully effective alternative
communication channels. However, what I found to be interesting and
yet disturbing is that earlier this month both Allhiphop and myself
found ourselves experiencing some very interesting problems
simultaneously. The Allhiphop Alerts were not getting through to a
lot of people who have AOL and Hotmail accounts. Both companies were
rerouting the alerts and dumping them into people's junk folders
without the recipients even knowing.. I believe Allhiphop may have gotten some
of that corrected.. However for me and the FNV its been crazy, lots
of folks who hold Hotmail accounts have been writing saying they have
not gotten the newsletters in the past couple of months. We're not on
anyone's email blacklist or nothing crazy like that and I haven't
gotten any response from Hotmail despite phone calls and emails to
find out what's what.. More recently I found that more then 5000
subscribers to the newsletters holding Hotmail accounts have not been
getting the emails.
I mention all this for a couple of reasons. One, if something funny
is going on with our newsletters and alerts.. what else is being
effected? What other emails are not going through? As political situations
become more cloudy, will our emails be effected more then they are?
Remember under the new Homeland Security Act our emails can be
monitored and checked without are knowledge. So I encourage folks to
be on the look out and let's not get in the habit of simply depending
on emails.. Try checking in with folks and do some basic one on one
communication just to make sure things are on point and you are
getting materials that have been sent to you. More important check
with folks to make sure what you sent hasn't been compromised...
Lastly feel free to forward the newsletters or the Allhiphop.com
Alerts if you like them and find them entertaining or useful...
***On a somber note.. and we will have more details on this later on
this week, but last week there was another assissination attempt on
Fred Hampton Jr...Fred for those who don't know is the son of slain
Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. He was brutally murdered
in his sleep on December 4th 1969 by the Chicago Police. A couple of
months ago a snipers bullet hit Fred's car while he was enroute with
his mother. This happened in Chicago. The latest attempt happened in
Louisiana, where a bullet struck Fred's pillow as he sleep and
temporarily damaging his hearing...We will keep you up to date on
what's going down..
***Keep your eyes and ears peeled.. I'm not at liberty to say who..
but there's a major Hip Hop artist who is gearing up and ready to
bring some heat to rap hater/talk show host Bill O'Reilly.. When its
done it will end all debates and firmly put homeboy in his place once
and for all you can trust that.. We'll keep you posted on the
particulars as he/she puts the finisishing touches on things..
Peace out for now
*Please note that Reverand Al Sharpton will be joining
Blackelectorate.com on Monday December 30 at BlackElectorate.com on
2002 at 7:30PM EST, for a live chat session. Create your free BEC
Chat Room account today so that you may participate in the discussion:
THE HIP HOP GENERATION
by Rev. Al Sharpton
I had a discussion with a few rappers a while back, and I asked them
why they use so much profanity and are so misogynistic in their music.
"Rev, we're like a mirror to society," one of the rappers said. "We
are merely reflecting what we see."
"Well, I don't know about you, but I use a mirror to correct what's
wrong with me," I told them. "I don't look in the mirror to see my
hair messed up and my teeth need brushing and just walk out of the
house that way. I use the mirror to fix me."
This hip-hop culture must use their music, their influence to correct
what's wrong, not to continue to perpetuate what's wrong, not continue
to promote what's wrong. They have the power to do that. And if they
really want to have an impact on society, they must change their focus
and show America the best of us instead of the worst.
I went to a hip-hop conference in New York, and one of the main topics
of discussion was a fight for the right to use bitch and ho in lyrics.
They wanted the right to call a woman a bitch - something the slave
master called black women with impunity.
With all the stuff going on in this world, all they're worried about
is being able to call a woman out of her name?! That's their cause?
First of all, it's wrong. But second, it is insulting. These rappers
and "hip-hop impresarios" weren't worried about unemployment or the
financial conditions of those who support their records and made them
stars. They weren't worried about the education system that keeps too
many of their fans and families in poverty. They weren't worried
about voting rights. They didn't have any conferences on any of that.
There wasn't one seminar entitled "Economic Empowerment" or "Jobs for
the 21st Century."
No, they want the right to call somebody a ho or a bitch - somebody
who brought them into this world. As far as I'm concerned, they are
low-down devious things who aren't worth the millions of dollars young
people spend t o make them stars.
When I look at the hip-hop generation I am disappointed, but I also
see promise. I see potential unrealized. I see tremendous power.
These young people have created a culture. Their words, their spirit
is so powerful that their voices have penetrated the mainstream
culture to the point where America's culture is intertwined with the
hip-hop culture, from its language to its clothing to its music. You
cannot turn on a television or watch a movie and not see the influence
of hip-hop. Even suburban America has been bitten by the hip-hop bug.
Unfortunately, much of what they're selling is a fraud. They spew
hedonism, misogyny, and self-hate. They glorify the prison culture,
the pimp culture, and drug culture. They tell the young that they're
not worthy unless they're "rocking" Chanel, Gucci, or wearing platinum
and diamonds. Not only is this message immoral, but it is also
flawed. It's a lie.
The most ludicrous thing in the world is to see a former rapper
walking around Broadway with gold teeth and a tarnished ring, his
career is gone and he has nothing else. That's how most of these
stories end, but nobody is rapping or singing about that.
These artists get huge advances from the record labels, and the first
thing they do is run out and buy a big, fancy car. They buy, buy, buy
what they wanty, and beg for what they need, and end up with nothing.
I think that projecting these images to young people - the bling-bling
and the showpieces - and not talking about real estate and land and
the fundamental things in life, is almost criminal. These so-called
artists are leading our youth down a road that will ultimately lead to
When I was working with James Brown, one of the many things that he
preached to me was how he was in show business and how too many of his
peers focused on the show and forgot about the business. These young
people must be made to realize that first and foremost, they're in a
business. And it's a fleeting one at that. An artist can be hot
today and gone tomorrow. In the old days, you would find an artist
who would be around for ten or twenty years. They had staying power.
But today it's one or two years and it's over. So what happens then?
What happens when they've spent all their money and their career is
over? They have to plan for the days when they won't be hot. Rather
than buying the most expensive cars and the biggest diamonds and the
baddest watch, which in a year or two will have little or no value,
why not plan for the future?
That's the message I would like to hear coming from the hip-hop
community. I would like them to make records about the importance of
education and talk about social responsibility and even political
The hip-hop generation has the power to really change this nation for
the better. It has already had a tremendous impact. There is no
question that American culture has been irrevocably influenced by the
hip-hop community. But the hip-hop community has stopped way short of
reaching its potential. Hip-hop has already permeated the social
fabric of this nation, now it can also change the politics; it can
also change social policy. People in power would have to listen
because their children are also walking around at home with the baggy
pants, the baseball caps, and the sneakers with no laces.
If those in the hip-hop community who have so much influence would use
their power, maybe we would see some real changes in this country.
The question is, are those who are in leadership of the hip-hop world
mature and strategic enough to take the next step?
During the rock-and-roll movement in the 1960s, you saw the switch
from sex, drugs, and rock and roll to politics and social change.
What started as a hippy rock movement with the likes of Janis Joplin,
Jimi Hendrix, and Allen Ginsberg turned into a revolution that ended
up stopping the war in Vietnam. The same people who gave us Woodstock
also started a social rebellion and a cultural revolution. They
literally reshaped America. They used their music, their art, and
their poetry to change this country and put pressure on the power
structure. Hip-hop can do the same thing. Hip-hop has already done
what rock did culturally, but will it be able to have the same impact
on foreign policy or other political issues? Does it even care?
Russell Simmons, who is one of the fathers of hip-hop, is attempting
to put a political spin on the hip-hop movement. But we need some of
the popular artists to get involved, too. I've known Russell for
almost twenty-five years. He did a movie in the early 1980s called
Krush Groove, and there were riots that broke out in several theaters
in Queens where the movie was playing. They wanted to take the movie
out of theaters, and I went out and protested to make sure the movie
chain did not.
In the last few years, Russell has become more political. In some
cases I have agreed and in other cases I have disagreed with his
politics. But the question for Russell and others of the hip-hop
generation is not who they're going to endorse for political office,
but what they're going to endorse.
They cannot get caught up in personalities; it has to be bigger than
that. The question is not narrow partisan politics; the question is a
broad social political agenda. I hope that's what Russell and others
are striving to get. Their candidate and their support must come out
of a broad-based vision. It can't be "I like Joe and that's who I'm
going to vote for." But it should be, " I support Ann because she
follows my vision for America."
The hip-hop generation will not have a real legacy until it is able to
move from the flash and the bling-bling into establishing a vision for
the future of America and following through.
Despite my differences with them, I will continue to support the
hip-hop community because I have faith that they will eventually reach
The first big hip-hop summit that gave birth to all the others
happened right at the House of Justice and was hosted by the National
Action Network. Everybody from Sean (P.Diddy) Combs to Master P. to
The Source magazine (I was probabaly the first non-hip-hop artist to
be featured on the cover of The Source) came together to talk about
the state of hip-hop.
I couldn't make the second hip-hop summit because I was in jail, but
so many of the artists tried to come through to visit me while they
were in New York. So I have an ongoing dialogue with the hip-hop
community, and I believe they respect me. At our 2002 National Action
Network Convention, we had a hip-hop seminar.
There's the temptation of saying, " I don't want to deal with them
because they are irresponsible!" Well, I can't say that, because
we're talking about our children; we're talking about our future and
I'm not willing to just write them off. We must deal with them. We
cannot patronize them, we must have honest dialogue and challenge them
at the same time. But then you must also be prepared to be
challenged, because a lot of their negative energies are born out of
the failure of the adults in our society. Their words are a warning
to us. We must come together and challenge one another. We have not
developed an institution to teach them a lot of the things they should
They don't know the struggle because we don't talk to them about it.
We haven't taken them under our wings and groomed them. We've ignored
them or worse, considered them not worthy of our time. And we're
paying for it now. So how do they inherit a legacy they don't even
know about or understand? And how do they become effective leaders
when they don't see any who speak to them?
With my National Action Network, I've recently begun to groom leaders
and create a system of leadership. I push young people with promise
to take charge in their neighborhoods and communities and to be
activists. I push, so much so that many have argued with me that I
push them too hard. But I have to because I understand that unless we
build a collective, we're not going to get it done. There are no
I have changed. I grew up in the charismatic leadership movement,
where one man took charge and carried a movement. That's how how I
started out. But that was ineffective long term because every time
the leader was killed or became discredited, the movement died.
We need to focus on a new style of leadership today, and the hip-hop
community will be instrumental in implementing the system. I had to
change because I knew that the charismatic leadership system will not
work for us anymore.
I will push the hip-hop community and challenge them to reach higher.
I challenge them to stop this whole glorifying of a reckless
lifestyle. And I understand the difficulties they face. I have had
artists tell me that record labels won't sign them unless they have a
certain image or rap about certain things. They are told, "If you
don't do this, shake your botty show your tits, talk bad English and
purport sex and violence, you won't get a deal."
I understand that. But there has to be some integrity, some sense of
righteousness among these artists. They cannot conspire to denigrate
our race for the dollar. There are some who would argue that the
negative images are the ones that sell. I challenge the hip-hop
community to challenge the record industry and say, "That's a lie."
They told James Brown that "I'm Black and I'm Proud" would not sell.
It did sell. Even white folks bought the record, and it is still
being sampled today. That was thirty-four years ago. Are you telling
me that America is less mature than it was thirty-four years ago?
And are you telling me that all these thugged-out, tough-guy rappers
are afraid to try something new?
Note: The above is an excerpt taken from Rev. Al Sharpton's new book,
"Al On America", available now in the BlackElectorate Book Store at:
Rev. Sharpton will be joining us at BlackElectorate.com on Monday,
December 30, 2002 at 7:30PM EST, for a live chat session. Create your
free BEC Chat Room account today so that you may participate in the
Rev. Al Sharpton
Friday, December 27, 2002
FREE ASKARI X, PUT THE GOVERMENT ON TRIAL
by JR of the SF bayview Newspaper
"It's a war on rap cuz rap is a codeword for Black resistance. It's
the same thing as the so called 'war on drugs' and 'the war on gangs,'
but it's really a war on us. Stop violating his constitutional rights
and free Askari X," stated M-1 of the internationally known rap group
dead prez upon hearing that the Oakland rapper is being held
incommunicado in addition to the other conditions under which he is
being incarcerated at the San Francisco County Jail.
According to reports, Askari X is awaiting trial on a number of
charges, including robbery, in the same nation that has robbed Black
people of our names, cultures, languages, land, minds, families,
economic well-being and our right to choose our own destiny. This
same country that legislated the 3 strikes law has over a million
Black people in prison, miseducates us in the public schools, and
institutionally promotes police terrorism of Black people by way of
police brutality and murder in the streets and behind enemy lines
(prison), now wants to see Askari X stand trial.
In the meantime, he is in isolation in a psyche ward being forcibly
medicated. The San Francisco County Sheriff's Department has stated
that Askari has disciplinary restrictions where he cannot make any
phone calls, send or receive mail, have any visitors, or use his
No one close to Askari has been able to talk to him since he was
arrested on Dec. 3, which means that no one close to him has been
able to monitor how he is being treated while he is being held captive
behind enemy lines in police custody. His human rights are being
violated, and we demand that the forced medicating cease. We demand
that his loved ones be given the chance to talk with him, to gauge his
physical and mental condition, as well as to get a report from him as
to what is going on.
Askari X skyrocketed to fame in Bay Area Hip Hop when, at the age of
16, he released his debut legendary classic album, "Ward of the
State," where on the song "Ward of the State" he raps that "the pigs
ain't nothing but another organized oppressive army occupying our
community." In '96, Askari dropped "Message to the Blackman," another
classic album, that has the song "3 Strikes" with a conglomerate of
Bay Area Hip Hop artists protesting the unjust 3 strikes law that was
used to legally lynch Askari's little brother Lil' Poppa. You can
check out an online video from this album at launch.com called Oakland
Streetz. In 2000, Askari dropped another album, entitled "The Return
of Askari X," that has the revolutionary hood anthem, "Uhuru Sasa!"
Currently the finishing touches are being put on Askari's fourth
album, entitled "Revolutionary Homicide," which is slated for release
in early 2003.
At this juncture in the campaign to free Askari X, we are looking into
finding a new attorney to represent his case. It has been noted that
all the public defenders in San Francisco have case loads of over 100
felony cases each. With one public defender representing that many
cases, it is impossible for the public defender's office to adequately
investigate all of the details of his case and defend Askari and the
hundreds of other prisoners whose only hope of going home rests in the
hands of these overworked public defenders. How in the hell can
justice prevail, when the public defender doesn't have the time to
really fight the case? Free Askari X and Put the Government on Trial!
To receive further information on the case of Askari X and how you can
help, keep checking the pages of the Bay View, because we will be
rallying people to go to the court hearings and to demonstrate in all
kinds of ways their discontent with the state's treatment of Askari X.
For more info, you can call the Bay View newspaper or email JR at
HIP HOP AND ISREAL
This is a recent story that came across the Reuters News wires.. I
thought I'd pass it along because it just shows the impact Hip Hop is
having all over the planet. If folks recall we recently wrote about
the Bay Area Hip Hoppers who went over on a fact finding tour to the
Middle East. What they reported back was eye opening. As we speak
Xzibit and Snoop Dogg producer Fredwreck is over in Palestine and will
soon be letting folks know whats going on.... Now we have this new
PALESTINIAN UPRISING STRIKES CHORD WITH ISRAELI MUSIC
Reuters/Variety Music to My Yahoo!
By Gwen Ackerman
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - "The land absorbs our blood and tears...but the
SOB has yet to be born who can stop the state of Israel," raps a local
hip hop star.
Hip hop, rooted in the urban ghettos of the United States, has become
the voice of defiant Israeli youngsters whose social life has been
jolted by suicide bombings in cafes, pubs and discos during a
Palestinian uprising for statehood.
"Hip hop used to be too out there, too extreme, too non-conformist for
the Israeli public," said Gad Gidor, artist and repertoire manager at
Israel's Helicon Records.
"Nowadays, it is like the rock and roll of Israel because (hip hop
performers) dare to speak about things commercial artists don't," he
Take Subliminal and the Shadow, whose black album cover shows a muddy
hand clutching a Star of David, a symbol of the Jewish state.
"United we stand, divided we fall," is the theme of the popular album.
More mainstream Israeli singers do not ignore the more than
two-year-old uprising but prefer to raise issues in a less
"They are not using it to raise the flag. Established artists are
afraid of doing that because the country is too divided and they are
bound to lose some audience if they are too clear about their
opinions," said Gidor. Shalom Hanoch, a rocker in his 50s, recently
left an exit sign lit on stage for an entire concert, pointing to it
and noting: "That is what we should do, but this is not a political
Hanoch was referring to an Israeli withdrawal from land it occupied in
the 1967 Middle East war. Young hip hop artists, however, can be more
vocal than musicians like Hanoch since they have little to lose and
can establish a following by sounding a political note.
Subliminal and the Shadow strike right-wing themes in their music.
Their album incorporates a folksong from Hanukkah, the Jewish festival
of lights, celebrating the victory of the biblical Maccabee rebels
over the Greek Syrian Seleucid empire.
"We have come to banish the darkness," the song goes.
On the other side of the political spectrum, rapper Mook E slams
Israel's occupation of land which Palestinians want for a state in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip (news - web sites).
"Everyone is talking about peace but no one is talking about justice,"
note the lyrics of one Mook E song.
Israel, "a small country with a lot of people with very big mouths,"
should prove fertile ground for the further development of hip hop now
that the genre has broken into the mainstream, said Ari Ktorza, music
editor for the Internet news site Ynet.
While hip hop is popular among the youth, older Israelis are looking
for more escapism in their music, said Izhar Ashdot, a top recording
artist and producer.
Pop songs written 10 to 20 years ago are seeing a comeback, a
phenomenon Ashdot attributes to a hunger for "a period in memory that
seems better than today."
LOVE SONG TURNED POLITICAL TOPS CHARTS
Riding this wave of nostalgia is the song "Our path is not easy," the
cover of an old love ballad released last year. It has now become an
"The song was adopted to the national situation. With all the
(Palestinian) attacks, it came at the right place at the right time,
when there is not a lot of new music being written," said Yossi
Cahana, a music editor at Israel Radio. Another popular song enjoying
a revival speaks of a land filled with sunshine.
Israelis have been attending singalongs in clubs and private homes,
where they belt out odes recalling military victories of the past.
"The rise of nostalgia, a kind of clinging to the good times of the
past, when there was a good, hopeful Israel," said Rachel Levy-Shiff,
chairperson of the Israeli Psychological Association.
"These songs symbolize a difficult period when people believed things
would turn out well and when there was hope for peace," she said.
"Now we have no idea where we are going and seek comfort in the songs
END OF NEWSLETTER
The FNV Newsletter c 2002
Send comments to
peep the websites
The FNV Newsletter c 2002
Send comments to
peep the websites