What Rappers Will Endorse
These letters are in response to the recent Friday Nite Vibe Newsletter on Rappers and Politics..Go To FNV Article
yo what's up daveyd. this david, a dj and prison activist on ohio. we are holding a hip-hop conference here on campus in a couple weeks (http://www.oberlin.edu/~WOBC/hiphop/), and we've got a bunch of politically-minded people coming ... Boots, Tricia Rose, Medusa, Rishi Nath, DJ Pam, Siah and Yeshua... If you want to talk more about it I would love to answer any questions you have. If you could give the conference a shout-out on your web page or mailing list that would be _MUCH_ appreciated...
Also, Angela Davis and friends are organizing a prison conference in Berkely for next September entitled "Critical Resistance" in which they are also trying to promote not only a culture of prison resistance but a culture of resistance in general... I am not sure if they have contacted you about it yet but I know they are working with many hip-hop crews in the Bay area.... i can give you more info on this i can give you some contacts...
and of course there is the Milarepa Fund and the Beastie Boys, doing the Free Tibet thing... I interned with them a couple years ago, but have fallen out of touch with them... but they are very interested in the same types of issues you were talking about in the last newsletter, which was excellent, by the way
I totally agree with your newsletter. The hip-hop community is largely overlooked. The hip-hop community comprises a large section of todays youth. Not only that, it is a community that is color blind. We all live and breath hip-hop and embrace our culture to the fullest.
Hip-hop is growing up, and so are all the heads. Heads need to realized that in order to maintain the culture we have helped to build, we need to establish ourselves as a group that DESERVES to be heard. We funnel major cash flow through all these big corporations that exploit our culture. It is about time we stop letting these big business' and politicians determine what we see, hear, and do.
In order for this to happen, heads need to realize all that is at stake. Our culture as a whole is being degraded and "streamlined" what others want it to be. As stated in the newsletter, many artists are not allowed to be heard due to record companies deeming them as inappropriate. Who is to say something is inappropriate? If you don't like it don't listen, you aren't listening to it, so let others make up their minds. No one is placing barriers on all these heavy metal headbangers biting bat heads and sacrificing animals on stage. It seems as if they go unchecked. If a head comes to town there are all kinds of obstacles to clear. It is insane!
However, it for these exact reasons that we need to grow up as a whole and move on. We need to become more united and move toward an end that benefits not only us, but ends all prejuidices and stereotypes. We need to squash all the negativity towards each other and realized we are working toward the same end. I give big props to all those working toward those ends such as Chuck D, KRS- One, Fugees, and all those in the trenches doing work on the local level. It is not easy, it is work and it is work worth the time to preserve what we are.
Thanks for the history lesson and info. in this message. Looks like Ice Cube already has his press secretary/campaign director! You are absolutely right, hip-hop does wield a lot of power and after 30 years IS a force to be reckoned with! You have some really interesting insights and ideas...my question to you: Why don't you contact some of these politicians/artists? (Or have you?) You have influence and a name. I would imagine that you could shop your suggestion re: hip hop endorsement to your choice mayoral candidate/hip hop artist with success. I think you've got some revolutionary ideas and some clout to actually make it happen. Dig it--you got people thinking about it! Props to you for stirring up the masses to do something. Grassroots efforts are on! ha! re: your political jingles! oh yeah...the next time I talk to Puffy, I'll ask him what's up.
Just so you know.. copies of this article were personally given to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris as well as San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.. copies were faxed to various Oakland Mayoral candidates.. In addition the good folks from Oakland's Love Life Foundation are acting upon this letter...We also plan to do a radio show focusing on this letter..
we've been covering the oakland mayor's race with great interest; we've already have had shannon and audery rice oliver in for a half hour interview and plan to have the rest of the candidates in between now and election day. My take is that most mainstream politicians are scared to death of anyone representing the hip hop community, and they don't have a clue of how to reach young people who aren't young republicans or naacp youth members. I think many young folks don't like politics because people running for office want to tell you what you want to hear, compared to the hip hop world, where much of rap and hip hop tells it the way it is, whether you like it or not.
I have not heard an Oakland mayorial candidate talk about any extensive plans to improve the situation for Oakland's youth, from infants to young adults and I think that young people won't take voting and politics seriously until the elected officials take youth issues seriously. One example is the upper room. The candidates should be taking about why its important to keep the upper room open, but I doubt half the candidates know what the upper room is. its going to be an interesting race...
Hey Dave good article, there is definitely a niche for rappers' endorsements. But also you shouldn't overlook Jerry Brown just because he is not African-American. I don't know what his staff would consist of but if he had a full representation I think he would make a good candidate. He is very open minded and sympathetic to the community, and might be a good change for Oakland as far as getting out of the bearueacratic arena that has put a stranglehold on many programs. I think he works at your station KPFA, you should step to him with your suggestions, I'm sure he'd want support from the community. I'll catch up with yopu later Dave.
From one King to another. I found your piece very thorough and informative. I see that you take this field of hip-hop very seriously- which is something that more people need to do. I have noticed that people in this field do much more talking than doing. What they need to do is get more involved- become more educated in the business and political side of the field so that they can make some REAL money for their work. I have seen MANY young kids grow up in this business and not truly realize their potential for success in every aspect- financial, power, respect, knowledge, etc. That's why we need more leaders in this field- REAL LEADERS! As I once read, "Leadership is not position, but doing." That is why more people need to motivate themselves to do more- never be satisfied. Many brothers and sisters get a little money or authority and become content because they feel that they've accomplished something. That's how the TRUE money and power in this world(and this business) is lost. Artists, and people who love this music in general, need to become more organized in their business affairs. They need to understand what's going on outside of the hip-hop realm to truly build up their business.
I, for one, have been a fan of this music since I was 9, and have been involved in the business for over 10 years now as a DJ and promoter. I have made some good money, especially in college, but I see the TRUE money going to others. And the "others" are the one's with the true power and ability to make moves. That's why I plan to attend law school. That will enable me to understand the contract negotiation part of the business, which will then allow me to help these aspiring artists get what they deserve, which is a real deal. It's ironic that the Lox and Little Kim are currently rapping about "Money, Power, Respect, what you need in life". Those are some of the main components in life, but not nessecarily in that order. Most artists don't come from a lot of money, and they don't have much power, which is why Respect is so big in these "rough" areas(although, respect is desired no matter WHAT neighborhhod or background you come from). But if they, or someone who is truly honest, can provide them with an honest way of obtaining the other components of life, they will be better off in the long run, as opposed to just "hustlin' ". You must be prepared to pay your dues and put some honest time and effort into this(and any) field if you want to be in it for the long run.
Well, back to your original piece as I have digressed for long enough. I agree that we, as a music community, must become more active politically. But, people must be held accountable for their actions and put forth the effort it takes to make some changes, or at least be heard. Accomplishiments are made because people have made connections and made their voices and opinions heard; they may not be liked, but at least people know where they are coming from. So, it's not just up to those that have "made it", but also up to those who are struggling or working to make it in the music business. So, voice your opinion, take part in seminars, read the paper, understand the business side of the industry, work hard, and don't be afraid to say what you have to say. If something is broken, it won't be fixed unless someone takes the initiative to do so. Remember, "Leadership is not position, but doing."
I'd be interested in hearing other people's opinions on this issue, so if you want to discuss this, please get at me at Kingkhan04@aol.com. Let me leave you with two final phrases that I live by- "Success through hard work" and "Never fear success." Later....
Go To April Letters pg 1
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